July '20

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18 THE SHOP JULY 2020 Not all winch buyers will spend most of their time off-road, however. "Aftermarket customers for our products fall into two main categories—enthusiasts who enjoy off-road and adventure touring and seek to accessorize their vehicles, and non-enthusiasts who use their vehicles pri- marily for commuting and work-related activities," explains Steve Stein, sales manager – industrial and commercial for Westin Automotive Products and Super- winch. "Buying decisions in each of these segments are driven by product features and benefits, availability, price and value." When they're needed, winches become an important safety device that off-roaders must be able to count on. "Our products are for serious off-road enthusiasts—someone who values quality and performance," says Edward Whitty, marketing and design manager, Mile Marker Industries. "When they are out on the trail, customers want and need reliability to pro- tect their safety and their vehicle." But it doesn't always stop at performance. Appearance can also be a deciding factor, adds Hitesh Patel, Smittybilt brand manager. "During our research phase, we discov- ered customers are paying equal attention to the aesthetics," he says. "We worked with a team of industrial designers and engineers perfecting the look as well as the performance so it would complement any vehicle or environment it was used in." Andy Lilienthal, strategic communications manager for Warn Industries, explains that the market can include all types of rugged vehicles used for fun or profit, meaning the opportunities for winch sales are plentiful. "People who use their trucks, SUVs, ATVs or UTVs for recre- ation as well as those who need to use a winch for work" are all targets, Lil- ienthal says. "Whether they're hitting the trails with a 4WD vehicle or using them on a work truck, the ranch's UTV or an ATV while on the farm, there's a broad audience for winches." AN EVOLVING MARKET Winch manufacturers spend their days enhancing the performance and abilities of their winch products, along with the service that goes with them. It's not sur- prising that this constant innovation has helped the market evolve quickly. "The winch market has definitely ben- efitted from parallel advances in technology over the past 10 years that have supported a long list of additional convenience features including LED lighting, digital gauges and vehicle performance indicators, auxiliary ports and RF connectivity," Donnelly reveals. Winches have also become more com- Strong Connection Buyers are more educated than ever these days, and even consider aesthetics when choosing a winch. (Photo courtesy Smittybilt) After selecting the proper winch, talk to your customers about related accessories to enhance their off-road experience. (Photos courtesy Smittybilt) Winches have become more commonplace in the last decade as the entire truck accessories market continues to grow. (Photo courtesy Smittybilt)

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