Engage customers, inventory to compete with e-commerce: Aftermarket VIP panel

Publish Date: 
Feb 16, 2013
By Dennis Johnson

This affects the way retailers must not only stock their shelves, but stock their personnel files. Bob Weber, an industry veteran now with 6D Helmets, urged dealers to make their hiring decisions carefully in order to ensure that all associates have the skillset to engage with their customers as well as sell the merits of the product.

Burt said he remembers the “lightbulb moment” when he realized Rexburg had to integrate e-commerce into the store’s operations: He was selling units, but customers were leaving and never coming back. He launched his ecommerce efforts with the idea they would be buying the metal inside his store and the remainder of the product online, so it made sense to create the online store that sells it. E-commerce, he said, becomes the extension of the relationship Rexburg has with his customers.

MAP debate. The question of MAP pricing and discounting came up from a number of audience members, including Don Becklin, founder and president of Motorcycle Superstore. The on-stage panel universally agreed that MAP pricing is important to protect the value of many products and give dealers an even playing field. There were, however, examples of items that could be discounted to keep moving.

MAP responsibility rests with the manufacturers. But the problem, panelists agreed, was that too many dealers discounting too many products is a sure way to devalue products and harm retailers and manufacturers in the process.

Burt urged dealers to have the same pricing policies online and in-store, and focus on customer service and developing creative marketing plans to increase door swings. Or develop a product specialty — Rexburg stocks niche products not carried by his competitors, he noted.

“If it’s a race to the lowest price, we’re going to lose,” Burt said.