Branching Out of Your Powersports Niche

Publish Date: 
Jan 4, 2010
By Todd Shafer

WELCOME TO 2010! I want to kick off this year with a column about selling online, but more specifically selling someplace else other than your own website. This is something that you can do even if you’re not directly engaged in full-blown e-commerce on your dealership’s primary website.

You can benefit from things like e-commerce applications on social networking sites like Facebook, and other “widgets” that you can embed in blogs or forums.

The first example I’ll point out is a company called Payvment (www.payvment.com) that has a nifty little storefront application for Facebook.

To have your own Facebook storefront, you’ll need a Facebook fan page set up for your dealership. Install the application on your page, set up the look and feel of the storefront using the tools that Payvment gives you, enter information about your shop, and then start loading products. (Obviously there’s more detailed steps involved, which you can find on Payvment’s site.)

Experiment at first by loading about 10 products that are impulse-buy, gift, general-interest types of products. Keep in mind that Facebook is not really a shopping destination. Typically, you’ll want to focus on the interaction and social networking aspect of Facebook and keep the sales pitches to a minimum. But since it is a fan page, I see it as a great way to sell things like T-shirts, hats and other items branded with your shop’s logo or those of the brands you carry.

Considering that Payvment is free to use right now, give it a try and see if there’s a sensible way for you to fit it into your overall online activities.

One dealership that’s experimenting with Payvment is Ducati Seattle (http://tinyurl.com/ykppl42). It has an e-commerce application running on Facebook, but it doesn’t have any e-commerce on its primary site!

Ducati Seattle’s Cindy Wallace is in charge of the Facebook storefront as well as its eBay store, which focuses on selling crash damage take-offs, excess and obsolete items, etc. Wallace said that based on a combination of factors (strong local community support and involvement in the shop, etc.), Ducati Seattle has decided to forgo a full-blown e-commerce operation. “People prefer to come into the shop to buy things where they can actually see them, and to see other people there as well,” she says.

But that doesn’t mean that they aren’t active online in other ways. Based on leadership by Ducati Seattle’s owner David Roosevelt, the store has decided to be very involved in social media like Facebook. Considering that it has more than 1,200 fans on its Facebook page, it makes sense that the store is giving the Payvment application a test ride. (Continued)