November '18

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82 • RV PRO • November 2018 rv-pro.com D E A L E R S "We did not change anything substantial in what we carried in parts inventory this year. We stock enough parts to support our rental fleet sales every year and our product lines rarely change from year to year. "In determining what to stock, we look at historical sales and we stock everything to support our Class C rental sales and then we add some Class A parts like covers, etc. We attend the NTP Expo every year to find new products and we place our large retail parts order there. "Our most popular parts and accessories are those we add to our rental units at the time we sell our rental inventory. These include things like awnings, ladders, backup cameras, and stab jacks. We also stock outfitting equipment like sewer hoses, leveling blocks, water hoses, etc. "We carry a very large selection of parts that are stocked mostly in the back of our warehouse, since we have a fairly small parts display area – only about 5 percent of our total facility. We find that most customers know what they want when they walk in and don't necessarily 'browse' for parts and accessories. "Our marketing department has a budget to stimulate sales of parts and accessories along with service. We use social media and email campaigns to promote specials during the beginning and at the end of our RV season. In addition, all our new sales customers are asked to fill out a survey about their buying experience. When they have completed it, they receive a coupon to spend in the parts department. "Our biggest competitor for RV parts is Amazon. This is largely due to our remote location in Alaska. Many of our customers have made comments to our staff about the RV store on Amazon and have asked us to match their pricing. Unfortu- nately, we have a hard time doing this because of the shipping costs that we incur versus what Amazon Prime customers enjoy with the free shipping." Jerod Shepard, parts and service manager Lazydays Longmont, Colorado "Sales of parts and accessories are about the same as last year; if anything, just slightly lower. We are the smallest of three Lazydays – with larger sister stores in Loveland and Denver – and we've just had a little bit less foot traffic this year. "Right now we are preparing for our physical inventory so we can see if there is anything that's been collecting dust and needs to be sold but not re-stocked and we can reload the parts and accessories in a way that's even more inviting for our customers. That's what it's all about. "We have a small location and a really small parts store, but we keep it stocked with the things our customers let us know they want. In addition, Lazydays has a great team at our headquarters in Florida that tracks sales in every store and recommends new items for us as they start to become popular elsewhere, so we're never behind on new trends or upgrades. "If a customer comes in wanting something we don't have, we start calling suppliers and get it overnighted. When head- quarters sees that we've had to do that a few times, they suggest that we add that item. It's great that they track all that for us and we can spend all our time making our customers happy right in the store. "As for what's most popular, the first thing that comes to mind is vent covers. We sell Maxxair vent covers and they are in regular demand. After that, small appliances and kitchen faucets, Wi-Fi boosters, satellite dishes – all the things that offer the comforts of home. "Lots of people are asking for solar panels now, too. And air conditioning. Someone may have a pop-up, which doesn't have A/C, and after they take it out a few times, they come in and say they want to add air conditioning, which means they need to add more power as well. "Veterans who are upgrading know exactly what they want when they pick up their new unit. New campers want to make a lot of purchases, but, rather than pushing them to buy a bunch of stuff right away, I encourage them to take their time and customize as they go. I tell them to take the unit out a few times and let me know what they want to change so I can help them mold their purchases around the parameters of what they actually use. "We don't do any special sales promotions for this depart- ment. We are dedicated to creating customers for life by giving them a great experience every time they come in. Sales follow those positive experiences much more than any coupon. If someone has a phenomenal experience every time they come in, that creates a relationship. "In terms of Camping World and Amazon, we are not really too bothered by them. There is some bounce-back between us and Camping World, but we do match or beat their prices if customers ask, and the superior knowledge and customer ser- vice they get from us really makes the difference. I have gone to Camping World myself, and their staff doesn't compare to mine in terms of product knowledge, customer service, or simply caring about the person they're helping. "Basically, we want our customers to have a happy experi- ence here and leave with a smile on their face and no buyers' remorse, and we work hard to make that happen." Connie Mekkelsen, co-owner Mekkelsen RV Sales & Service East Montpelier, Vt. "The great year the RV industry has had has led to a slight overall increase in our sales of parts and accessories because we sold more RVs and people purchase the most parts and accesso-

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