RV PRO

January '20

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58 • RV PRO • January 2020 rv-pro.com RV I N S I G H T S RV renters, on the other hand, are quickly becoming a prominent fixture in the industry. The sharing economy has made consumers across industries far more comfortable with the concept of renting someone else's things – and RVs are no exception. This audience is markedly different from buyers, however. They are younger than traditional buyers and are mostly made up of Millennials who are married and in the middle of raising kids and developing a career for themselves. They are looking for a way to spend time with family and friends and RVing accommo- dates that lifestyle beautifully. Here is a quick snapshot of The Renter: • 63 percent are Millennials • 59 percent have three or more people in their household • 66 percent make between $50,000 and $100,000 annually However, not all renters want to stay renters forever, which is why some of them use renting to determine what type of RV they would ultimately like to purchase. This audience looks incredibly similar to the lifelong renters, but they tend to be slightly more affluent, with many having a household income exceeding $100,000. Typically, this audience rents two or more times before ultimately making the deci- sion to buy, making them an engaged and potentially lucrative consumer. Here is a quick snapshot of The Renter Who Buys: • 59 percent are Millennials • 56 percent have three or more people in their household • 48 percent make more than $100k annually While there are similarities running between these demographics, each has a different idea of how they would like to get involved in the RV lifestyle. It doesn't matter if the consumers are looking to rent or buy, or if they were new to the lifestyle or returning pros – their research process is long, with 55 percent spending more than seven months researching the unit which would fit their needs. Entering into a tightening market, it's important to acknowledge that consumers are still in the market – they are just taking a while to get to the point of purchasing or renting. This is a big decision and they take it seriously. As a dealer, it's your responsibility to help customers make the most out of the RV lifestyle and helping them to identify your dealership as a resource they can trust throughout the process. Simply posting your inventory online and hoping con- sumers will flock to your storefront won't be enough if the industry is headed into a down market. You need to stand out and show potential consumers in ways that other dealerships might not. So, how do you do that? Aggressive Marketing Pays Dividends It can be tempting to pull back on your advertising spends when the market seems to be going south. However, the reality is: This is the time to get more aggressive with what you are doing to promote your business. If the market is going to get more com- petitive, it is crucial that you stay front and center in the potential consumers' minds throughout their lifecycle – and that you show up where they are searching. And the reality is, whether the market is growing or stagnant, 80 percent of RVers say that they start their research online. Consumers want a clear picture of what's available in the market, what unit might fit their lifestyle, and be able to get that understanding before they come into your dealership. To do that, they rely on a number of different sources, including social media, industry blogs, and dealer- ship and OEM websites. Still, online list- ings are the most popular resource, with 30 percent of all RVers relying on them as part of their search, according to RV Trader's 2019 survey. That means you need to have your list- ings buttoned up with a detailed descrip- tion, a price (even if it's just MSRP) and a gallery of well-taken, detailed photos. Whether you house your listings on your website or a third-party market- place, building up listings with all these attributes can take time, but the payoff is worth it – particularly given that 80 per- cent of RV buyers say they are less likely to contact a dealer who doesn't include all of these elements on their listings, RV Trader's 2019 survey found. In short, consumers want to get a com- plete picture of this unit before they come into the dealership – and if you aren't willing to provide them with that information, they will likely move on to a dealer- ship that will. And it is all about attracting these consumers during their research process so you can get them into your dealership, because 45 percent of RVers say that a dealership could change their minds about the RV they are interested in, according to RV Trader's 2019 survey. So, you still have an important role to play despite how much research consumers do before visiting your physical location. With a seven-month research time- frame, you have to remember, consumers Simply posting your inventory online and hoping consumers will flock to your storefront won't be enough if the industry is headed into a down market. You need to stand out and show potential consumers in ways that other dealerships might not.

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