Merchandising for specialty retail starts with getting customers into the store. But the second part is all about entertaining and motivating them while they are there waiting for help or walking around looking at product.

An answer to both of these challenges is being offered by a company called MOTOTV Networks and the concept is simple: Using in-store televisions to do the entertaining and educating. The concept is not new to retailing, but the process and implementation have been updated and simplified.

MOTOTV Networks, headed by co-founders Gary Halpin and Chris Mosera, basically provides a customizable digital in-store TV network for action sport and specialty retailers, with a new emphasis on the running market. Simply put, the company pipes fresh specialty running brand content, coupled with local in-store messaging, onto a retailer’s in-store television screen.

“This sales tool informs, entertains and engages customers all while they are a credit card swipe away from a purchase,” says Mosera. “We like to say we MOTO-Vate the sale.”

The concept is ideal for run specialty, Mosera points out, because what sets them apart from big-box stores is the employee expertise and individual service and analysis given to customers. Because of this, customers are typically okay with waiting their turn for help. While they wait the screens help keep them entertained and informed with content about the brands available in the store, gives opportunities to upsell apparel and accessories that they may not have considered and provides running and race content of which beginner and pro runners alike can’t get enough.

It can also advertise store-level information such as run clubs, upcoming races, meetups, sales or local high school athlete highlights to strengthen a store’s connection to the local running community.


All You Need Is A TV

Making it simple for retailers, if they already have a television screen all they need is MOTOTV’s proprietary media player and an Internet connection. (Its players do not stream, so they are not using up bandwidth during operating hours.) They are also TV resellers, so they can be a one-stop-shop for any of the hardware needs.

The benefit of this system is that it is completely customizable for each store, with different layouts available depending on the store’s needs. While MOTOTV manages the incoming content, individual stores can upload videos, include a store logo, update ticker messages and depending on layout, include banners, social feed and pricing menus.

MOTOTV primarily manages brand and lifestyle content that running companies, teams and producers are putting out.

Victor Sedaka, head of sales for MOTOTV, says that specialty retailers across all of its networks, which include  powersports, bicycling, skiing and other action sports, appreciate how this keeps their customers entertained and engaged as they’re waiting or browsing. “It also helps increase end purchase because they’re learning more about products that can complement or enhance the item that they came in for,” he says.

Touchscreens, another MOTOTV offering, are also gaining popularity across major brands since they allow customers to engage further with products and build custom products.

“Your most important customer is the one already in your store,  with this powerful sales tool retailers are able to keep their captive audience excited about the lifestyle at the point of sale. The results have been an increase of impulse purchases,” Sedaka says.

Steve Crnic, GM at Brooklyn Running Co., which recently installed the system at its new store in Park Slope, Brooklyn, agrees with Mosera and Sedaka.

“It is a huge help having MOTOTV content answer some of the most commonly asked questions, especially when the store gets overwhelmed with more customers than staff,” he says “It’s a real relief knowing our customers are staying occupied with videos and our store info until we can wait on them.” 

Crnic points out that run specialty is the type of business that requires store personnel to work closely with customers in making sure each person is being fitted properly. “Working one-on-one gets a little challenging for a small staff,” he admits. “MOTOTV certainly helps.”

Plus, he adds, Brooklyn Running has seen more customers asking to be added to its rewards program since the information was included on its MOTOTV screen. Updating its group events is easier now since posting its sponsored running events takes just seconds to change. One other highlight at Brooklyn Running is staff bios on TV. “Customers get a real kick out of them,” Crnic says.

Stores are placing their television screens anywhere that makes sense based on what is the main purpose of the communication  Ñ near the shoe wall and near the register are most common.

And in this day of mandated limited in-store capacity, smaller stores have been placing the screens in their windows to allow anyone waiting or walking by a preview of what’s inside or to share store information.

“I used to manage a premier specialty running store and wish this tool had been around,” points out Mary Reed, currently a MOTOTV Networks account director and formerly manager of a Minneapolis-area running store. “With the ever-changing shoe models, it makes a great training tool for employees and gives the extra customers something to watch while waiting for a shoe consultation. And the possibilities to increase purchases with apparel and accessories are incredible.”

For more: