Merchandising Your Lot 101

One of my favorite topics: Lot merchandising. I have seen hundreds of dealerships and there is very little merchandising going on. Dealers have a stock of cars and trucks and they just can't help themselves from creating a parking lot. There is nothing about a parking lot that speaks merchandising to me, unless you were very creative with color mixing or something like that. I've even seen dealers who use snap lines to line their cars and trucks up so that they are just right in the line. But, it is still a line and it is still a parking lot. There's only two things the parking lot says to the people driving by: 1) We have a lot of them, and 2) We know how to park them in a line.

Think about some other businesses and how they merchandise effectively. How about IKEA. If you've been to an IKEA, you see that what they sell is carefully displayed so you see the potential of it being in your own home. You get to see how it is used--or even, how you never thought it could be used! It's a trip through a maze of awesome displays that gets your own creative instincts moving. Now, think about the parking lot again.

Now, since I am focused on Commercial Trucks, there are huge opportunities to make great displays of these vehicles. I recommend that you take a 15 unit space out of the row and put 6 or 7 units in there and have them all parked in odd ways with the best display focused on the closest traffic past the store. You might even partner with an equipment company and get one of their skip loaders and a yard or two of gravel and put that next to your steel dump body as if the skip loader is about to load the dump. Make your display tell a story in 5 seconds or less. You have to have "white space" between your displays or they will blend together into a parking lot again. Park the rest out back somewhere. Better to have fewer units in a great display than a parking lot that no one pays any attention to except you.

Next, change it often. I know it is work. Get your lot team helping you to create interesting and effective displays. You will see the results in your bottom line!

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