March '20

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16 • RV PRO • March 2020 rv-pro.com "A lot of our RV dealers are also marine dealers, and they are very good customers. So, we think there's a good oppor- tunity for us to expand into an adjacent space because of the overlap," he said, noting that the distributor already has established relationships with companies serving both markets, such as Dometic and Lippert Components. "So, expect to see us push that more this year." Parts VIA Continues to Grow Meanwhile, NTP-STAG continues to refine and expand upon its existing offerings to support dealers. One of the biggest exam- ples of this is the Parts VIA program, the distributor's eCommerce system linking consumers, suppliers and dealers. "Parts VIA started as what we call 'click-to-mortar'. And it was about helping the brick-and-mortar businesses participate in online buying and selling," Rogers said. "Consumer preferences in shopping are changing ... in ways that go around everyone (dealers and suppliers) if not for this program." With Parts VIA, select NTP-STAG suppliers essentially put a "buy now" button on their website where end-customers can order products. NTP-STAG handles the transaction details, facilitates the fulfillment and manages the customer's online experience from beginning to end. The customer's order is either routed to a participating dealer- ship in their local area, or to the customer directly. Either way, the dealer makes a percentage on the sale, with the additional potential to make money on the product install. "Typically, if customers want to pick it up at the store, we can get it to them next day, because we're delivering it following the same delivery routine we do already. If the customer wants us to ship it to their home, we offer that as well, but there will be shipping charges, so there's an incentive to ship it to the store," he said. "So, again, the whole point is to really drive traffic to the brick-and-mortar locations." NTP-STAG launched Parts VIA in 2017, following a signif- icant investment of time and resources by the distributor. The program started modestly, with one supplier (Blue Ox) and a limited number of dealers. Since that time, NTP-STAG has added a number of other suppliers, and Rogers said the number of participating dealers has grown exponentially. That's notable, because Rogers noted that dealers who sign up for the program have to commit to provide an "appropriate level of retail experience" as it relates to installation times of products ordered via Parts VIA. One new feature of Parts VIA that was just announced in Jan- uary is that NTP-STAG is offering a loyalty program where dealers can earn additional incentives for participating in the program. NTP-STAG President Bill Rogers said that he's generally optimistic about 2020 based upon his discussions with dealers at the distributor's Expo event.

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