THE SHOP

Performance & Hotrod Business - May '15

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26 n Performance & Hotrod Business n May 2015 PERFORMANCE "Those shops that are taking advantage of the social media outlets are sure to get more exposure, which in turn will lead to more sales," he says, adding that Jones Racing Products has been improving its own social media presence as well. "There is also a large presence of online retailers today, and that number seems to be increasing," he adds. "While it may have impacted the sales of brick-and-mortar retailers, there are still advantages for a cus- tomer to visit the retailer in person versus purchasing online. Having parts shipped to your doorstep is convenient, however, customers still like to touch, feel and under- stand how products work before purchas- ing. And this is where shops have the upper hand. They can offer personal customer service that online retailers simply cannot." Other factors, he adds, include offering installation services, and having a presence at local tracks. Champion's Dedolph also advises get- ting out to the races. "Shop owners need to be visible by visiting the pits or paddocks at their local tracks, talking to racers. The shops that take an interest in helping young teams with answering questions or making sug- gestions, or even offering on-the-spot assis- tance will see the benefit from the racer coming to see them in their shop." COMP's McCarver agrees that it's vital to "see and be seen" at the track. "It's important to establish relation- ships so that folks may think of you when it comes time to purchase products. Secondly, it always helps to advertise in the track program. This is another cost- effective way to put your name in front of not only existing racers, but also potential new customers in the stands." Moroso's Schroeder believes that attend- ing races "elevates the business from one that just sells parts to one that has a spe- cialist or specialists to help in the buying process. If it's not possible to have a shop race car or to go to the track every weekend, it could be as simple as sponsoring local racers with a discount on parts and having pictures of their cars in the store." He also suggests attending industry trade shows. "And most importantly, have an open mind when listening to customers. Realize that racers are looking for a quality prod- uct with the right price, sanctioning body approval and name-brand recognition. Most racers work hard all week trying to balance work, home commitments, getting the car ready, getting the tow vehicle ready and finally packing everything up. If they need a part at the last minute they should feel confident in knowing that it will go on as intended, and at the track the part should not ruin a weekend that should be enjoyable." In general, the economy is better at the beginning of this racing season than it has been in years, meaning anticipation is high. (Photo courtesy COMP Cams) (Photo by Rick Schwallie)

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