If you are going to be successful in brick and mortar retail in the 12-volt industry, you definitely want your store to be ahead of the pack. Last year, we discussed an experiment at Lakeland, Fla., retailer Tunes-N-Tint. They had one store location heavily advertise for Black Friday, and their other location remained under the radar. No surprise, the store that did the marketing trounced the other store in sales - to the tune of almost double the profits - which made operations manager Joe Cassity think, “What if we put all of our eggs in one beautiful basket?” In other words, consolidate his two stores into one single destination store. But when we say destination store, we all mean it. It is no trick for a retailer to shutter a location based on hard times, and do nothing to its other outlets. It is another to create a place people want to drive to and check out the latest-and-greatest.
“The retail business is no longer drive by and walk in,” Cassity noted. “We’re now a destination. People that come in know what they are looking for – well, they have an idea that we can help make happen.” Cassity heavily invested in a store renovation and special displays from 5 Axis just in time for the holiday rush.
The displays are centered around local customers’ wants and needs. Tunes-N-Tint used to refresh its stores every two to three years and typically built its own displays to keep things economical. But you can’t be economical all the time and win in retail. After seeing 5 Axis displays in action at the annual MESA Summit in Colorado and at ME Spring Knowledgefest events, Cassity knew the displays were perfect for the new superstore. The decision was made to outsource their design and construction, while carefully giving input on what would work. “We were very particular with our displays, our layout and overall showroom design. We started working with 5 Axis in June of this year for a rough overview on what we wanted to do,” he said. Jody Culbertson is the 5 Axis Director and Lead Designer. They went over planograms, store layouts, and general broad overviews on how the displays would be meant to function. Based on these sketches and drawings, Culbertson was able to put together packages which met the budget of the project. More importantly, the goals of the store were clearly laid out. The end result is over 20 different customer stations. Each station is customized and showcases an array of product categories including: Lighting, Safety, Security, Upholstery, Window Film, Truck Accessories as well as the usual Audio areas.
As Tunes-N-Tint’s offerings have grown, so has the need to display these various emerging categories. Cassity believes that the Number One differentiator between brick-and-mortar retailers and Internet sellers is the ability to touch and interact with the product. “Our displays set us apart from our competition. When we are speaking with customers, we always discuss our custom, interactive displays where they can look, feel and hear the product first hand for themselves,” said Cassity.
The Tunes-N-Tint team completely gutted the showroom so the new displays and stations would have a clean canvas. Everything was repainted and touched up from top to bottom before a single new display was installed. The displays are made using metal framing that is securely fastened to the wall. Individual power supplies and custom-printed panels showcase the categories and the products for each station. The actual installation took about a week to get up and running, and a couple of more weeks before the final cosmetics and kinks were worked out. After all, there is a lot of wiring involved in creating interactive displays for 12-volt products.
The main goal was to be ready for Black Friday weekend so Cassity could confirm his hunch that one superstore would trump two paling locations. To complete the build on time, Tunes-N-Tint reached out to some of its partners for help. Scosche provided new MESA wiring for the displays. AAMP supplied a fully loaded matching display. Mike Eckley of AAMP Global and Bill Freeman of manufacturer’s pep MAG Sales provided physical help and installation support. There was also support given from vendors Kenwood, JL Audio, Rockford Fosgate, Directed and 3M. “We were absolutely blown away by the support our reps and vendor partners gave us!” said Cassity. “We’re very fortunate to have chosen the right partners in our vendors. They really stepped up and came through for us in a lot of ways. The feedback we’ve received already is amazing. Our team, our customers, our suppliers…everyone loves the way it turned out! It has given our staff more confidence to sell. It’s given our customers yet another reason to shop local and be part of the Tunes-N-Tint family. We couldn’t be happier with the work Jody and 5 Axis did for us.” When the final numbers came in, the new superstore was on track for the year to make the same profit as both stores combined, while saving on the expenses of the additional location.