April '19

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46 THE SHOP APRIL 2019 add more options, features and finishes into this emerging category." It's the impressive number of tonneau cover options, features and benefits that make this such an exciting market. "Consumers want maximum versatility in new products and tonneau covers are not an exception," notes Jose M. Martinez, senior marketing manager for TAG – Truck Accessories Group. "From ease of instal- lation and easy opening and closing to optimization of storage space when your cargo requires that the tonneau cover be left open, we are continuously evaluating the needs of consumers to deliver new products that meet or exceed their expectations." START SELLING The manufacturers are well aware that there's more than meets the eye when choosing the best tonneau cover product for your customers. "The number of tonneau designs and manufacturers is tremendous, and it is often difficult for shops to differentiate and understand the competitive advantages of each," Light explains. "It can be over- whelming for both the dealer to keep up with, and for the consumer to research." He suggests shops take advantage of their role as experts to help direct drivers to the best application for their specific situation. "Understand the needs of the consumer and sell a product that best meets those needs. Many potential clients are relying on shops to stay in-the-know and offer direction. The internet cannot compete with the in-person sales presentation, nor can it compete with the installation and customer service provided by the retailer." Osborne agrees, noting accessory cen- ters need a thorough understanding of the market. "The largest issue shops face when entering or maintaining their place in the tonneau market is managing and balancing all the categories. They can never be sure of what their next customer will request," he says. "It's nearly impossible to predict every customer's wish list. Will they prioritize security, functionality, style, affordability? It's hard to say." Too many options, however, can be over- whelming to customers and costly to stock, he adds. "But, truck owners may not want to buy without seeing the product. This is why P.O.P. displays are important in shops, and doing research is crucial." It sounds as if shops may have a little bit of homework to do. "There are two things that represent challenges to shops when serving the ton- neau cover market—finding the product that best solves the consumer's needs and finding the correct fit," Martinez says. Dealers and consumers have more tonneau cover choices than ever before. (Photos courtesy Stowe Cargo Systems) Tonneaus Covering Drivers want easy-to- use products to suit their everyday wants, needs and lifestyle. (Photo courtesy TrailFX) Today's tonneaus offer innovative features and options to suit any application. (Photo courtesy Truck Hero) New Silverado HD is longer, wider and taller:

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