July '20

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rv-pro.com July 2020 • RV PRO • 91 Later, the national sales manager for Mishawaka, Ind.-based PullRite, used to get an earful from dealers who relayed stories like the one above when he visited their store or met them at trade shows. Dealers were particularly chagrined about being undercut on price by online firms that don't do installs and don't offer the same level of service as brick-and-mortar locations. "We were having not-too-pleasant conversations with our brick-and-mortar dealers," Later acknowledges. "They were telling us they loved our product and appreci- ated our support, but then they'd show us a screen shot of our product being sold online for close to their acquisition cost." Jim Betournay, vice presi- dent of sales for Whitby, Ontario, Can- ada-based Timbren Industries, a maker of suspension products for RVs, work trucks and other applications, tells much the same story. "A lot of our brick-and-mortar places were getting upset because people would come to their locations for their expertise, then pull out their phones and say, 'I can get it for this price,'" he explains. "They were spending their time and effort, but not getting the sale." The lowest blow: "Some of them were saying, 'We don't want to sell your product because we can't make any money on it,'" Betournay adds. Bolstering Brick & Mortar Stores Betournay and Later hear those sto- ries much less frequently from their dealer partners these days, after both companies have adopted a minimum advertised price (MAP) policy. It's an idea that's been around for much of the past decade in the RV industry, and while it does require writing a policy, mon- itoring prices and committing to enforcing it, suppliers who have put MAP policies in place say it's worth the investment. And while protecting brick-and-mortar retailers is the most-common reason given for instituting a MAP policy, it's not the only one. Jack Enfield, sales and marketing manager for Elkhart, Ind.-based MOR- ryde International, whose company also enforces MAP, says that while the main focus of MAP has been to protect its dealers, part of the reason has to do with product image. "They (dealers) were telling us they loved our product and appreciated our support, but then they'd show us a screen shot of our product being sold online for close to their acquisition cost," Scott Later (pictured above), the national sales manager for PullRite, says of the company's decision to implement a MAP policy.

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