RV PRO

December '18

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70 • RV PRO • December 2018 rv-pro.com B U S I N E S S from another non-RV business that happens to stock some RVing supplies? Consider some of the suggestions offered in the next several paragraphs. Do you offer RV rentals that could be offered to a customer who is uncer- tain if the RV experience is right for him or her? Are these rentals repre- sentative of the mix of RVs that you offer for sale? Have these rentals been thoroughly inspected to minimize the chance that your prospective customer will experience a problem during the rental? Could the rental price (or at least part of the rental fee) be applied to the purchase of an RV? Does one of your point-of-pur- chase displays focus on activities for the family or traveling group? Perhaps an assortment of board games or card games could be included in this POP. Yes, these games could be purchased at the local department store. However, if the customer is in your business, why not provide opportunities for a one- stop shopping experience? If your customers, who are new to the RVing experience, plan to limit the distance traveled, have you included in your Intro to RVing display some possible destinations with information about: • Routes to/from those destinations • Camping options at each destination • Activities and sights near each destination • Other information that could enhance their experience and provide a reason for your customer to return to your RV business for all of their RV needs? There are many systems that make up an RV. Is there a chance that one of your customers could experience a problem with one of the systems while on a trip? What if you offered a 24/365 help service via phone and/or Internet chat line? Perhaps you could offer this as a free service; or, maybe you offer it for a fee that is charged only when cus- tomers are traveling in their RV. This might require: • Coordinating technician schedules • Establishing the phone/Internet connections • Determining the costs of supplying this service • Deciding if the support person could operate from their home or other off-site location • Discussing this with members of your 20 Group to determine if this could be offered jointly, thereby minimizing the cost per dealership • Investigating similar services, such as OnStar, offered by other businesses By offering products and services that might be unavailable at other businesses, you enhance the opportunity that you will have these customers for the life of their RVing experience. Where's The Money? Some owners of RV dealerships feel that their money is made in selling RVs. Yes, those gross sales dollars generated by the sale of an RV are substantial. However, recent research conducted by Cairn Consulting on behalf of the RV Industry Association provided evidence that the parts and accessories aspect of an RV dealership is viewed by most customers as a major decision factor in where they decide to shop. Research from Cairn Consulting confirmed that the average RVer made six purchases of parts and accessories within two years after the purchase of the RV. And, that the newest and youngest RV owners made more than double the number of purchases of the older group of owners. This supports some of my suggestions regarding POP displays directed to the novice RVers. The Cairn research also highlighted the importance of having the parts and accessories available in the dealership where customers purchased their RV. Again, this was more important to the newer and younger RVers. If having these parts and accessories in your store is important to your cus- tomers, then how do you know what to stock? In previous columns, I have visited this question and have offered suggestions, which include: • Attending industry trade shows • Listening to your customers and recording every request for parts and accessories – which includes lost sales • Evaluating recorded demand (sales from stock, special orders, lost sales) to determine what to stock, in what quantities, and at what time of the year • Working with sales reps from your suppliers • Reviewing RV PRO's monthly special product focus that appears in each issue regarding specific groups of products, such as trailering/towing, communications/entertainment, sanitation and fresh water systems, etc. For more details on managing your parts and accessories inventories, I sug- gest that you review some of my previous columns in RV PRO. Next Year Will the RV industry experience any changes next year? Of course. There will always be change, and therefore, you should be prepared to change. This is assuming that you want to profitably continue in the business. Consider as parting words this quote from Will Rogers, Oklahoma's favorite son: "Even if you're on the right track, you'll get run over if you just sit there." Are you still sitting there? Or, are you planning to make some changes that could benefit your store?

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