Execution Is the Chariot of Genius
By Wayne Williams
William Blake is quoted as saying, “Execution is the chariot of genius.” Today we often quote Nike’s slogan: “Just Do It.” One of my favorite quotes goes like this, “When all was said and done, more was said than done.” These three quotes/slogans share a common thread—the idea that thoughts should lead to actions. Of course, activity is often confused with productivity.
Productivity is measured; it’s usually planned in advance with intervals that measure progress. Because my primary business is marketing and my primary involvement with SEMA is the Wheel & Tire Council (WTC), this article will discuss a few simple techniques about marketing wheels and performance tires. I’ve recently witnessed two retailers re-focus and re-target their businesses. One is a significant countrywide retailer whose primary business focus is performance tires and wheels; the other is a tire retailer that rarely sells wheels. Here’s what they did.
The SEMA Show’s wheel and tire exhibits provide benchmark guidelines for retailers who wish to update their showrooms with clean and visually pleasing displays.
- They examined their merchandising and re-displayed their showrooms completely.
- They examined their product mix and changed more than a few tire and wheel vendors.
- They aligned with vendors that matched their new direction.
- They generated enthusiasm and support from their employees and with their new vendors.
- They updated their website by deleting certain wheel brands and adding a number of others.
- They received some simple support from the vendors that made a nice difference in their merchandising execution.
Well-executed retailing is inspiring and has a distinct feel to it. I’ve been in Starbucks, and I’ve been in their competitors. I mean, how hard is it to put a bag of coffee on a shelf? Starbucks does it better than the rest. Their merchandising is almost always crisp, clean and orderly. With millions of people banging around in their stores all day, every day, you have to ask yourself, “How do they do it?” They pay attention to the details, and it shows.
When it comes to merchandising, automotive aftermarket tire and wheel shops are some of the worst merchandisers in modern retailing. Common to many tire and wheel shops is the dirty, discontinued wheel display. You know the look: cube wheel racks half full with old-style wheels, missing caps, missing lug nuts, missing information, missing prices and no reason for a customer to show any interest. In a recently published industry survey, 89% of tire dealers say they sell wheels. Really?
When I ran retail stores for a living, I always felt that a dozen well-displayed wheels provided more impact than a wall full of junk. I have seen cheap, chrome-cube wheel displays used to hold everything from magazines, catalogs and coffee pots to pet food. These racks are actually space efficient but are visually uninspiring.
Let’s take a look at the anatomy of a well-displayed wheel.
- The wheel is currently available and fits certain key vehicles whose owners are potential aftermarket wheel buyers.
- The wheel is clean and properly displayed with caps, lugs and stems.
- The wheel is priced—for example, starting as low as $150 each for size 17x9.
- A wheel and tire package with an attractive package price: Four wheels and tires for $799, sizes 15x8, with tire sizes 235/75R15 or 30x9.50R15.
- Additional merchandising items are used, such as acrylic holders or fact tags to make the display more colorful and more interesting.
- Current wheel and tire brochures and mini catalogs are available for potential customers to take home. (I know a very successful retailer who uses a stamp pad to put his contact information on every wheel-vendor brochure before it hits the showroom.)
I’m always amazed at how beautiful the annual SEMA Show’s wheel and tire exhibit hall is and how poorly it translates to the typical tire and wheel retailer. My suggestions to you:
- Benchmark your performance wheel and tire sales against other competitors in your marketing area.
- Do some simple research and make a plan. Give the plan a sanity check with employees and trusted advisors because you may be like me—I’ve found that I usually over-like my own ideas.
- Give yourself an honest rating of your current performance and set some realistic goals for improvement.
- Then Just Do It. Generate some genuine excitement and then go after it with reckless abandon. A little change will do
Starbucks is not accidentally a great retailer/merchandiser. As I stated earlier, they connected the dots before the consumers arrived. They have a plan and they execute.
Send us some before-and-after pictures of your displays, and we’ll select a winner and include your store in a future issue.