WE'VE BEEN HEARING IT FOR MONTHS: Industry sales are down, heavily leveraged dealers are struggling to make their loan payments, and consumers aren't buying. Even if they are, they can't qualify for financing because their credit scores have taken a nosedive.
If you're a smart dealer, you've been taking steps to more closely monitor your inventory. You've probably been courting the 18-25 age group, and thinking about additional ways to get more teens interested in riding. You've been hosting events for new customers — women, Gen Y-ers, minority populations. You've been examining the aftermarket to bolster your product offerings. And you're trying to find ways to make your operations more efficient.
Powersports doesn't sound like such a fun industry anymore, does it? Well, cheer up; you could be having these same business challenges selling dishwashers instead.
We've taken some of your medicine, and created a new look for Dealernews. To get you through the magazine easier, we've reorganized the articles and columns into five sections that replicate the major departments of a dealership: Management, Sales, Service, Marketing and Display. It's still the same Dealernews — just, well, "remerchandised":
- Management will focus on general dealer issues, administration, staffing, OEM relations and similar stories. You'll find Clark Vitulli's and Eric Anderson's columns in this section.
- Sales will present articles on vehicles and PG&A sales, plus sales training and management. Look for Steve Zarwell's column and, most importantly, Don J. Brown's exclusive sales forecasts here.
- Our new Service area will feature Dave Koshollek's popular "Fuel for Thought" column, along with articles on service department management, used vehicles and upsells. A new product section, "Shop Tools and Equipment," will give you the scoop on the latest service tech tools.
- The Marketing section will feature Todd Shafer's e-commerce and Genevieve Schmitt's "Selling to Women" columns, along with features on advertising, promotion, event planning and new market development.
- The Display area will cover everything in merchandising, store layout and design, and point-of-purchase deals. Look here for Christy Michaud's merchandising column, as well as a new department devoted to POP offerings, fixtures and design tools.
We've expanded our News operation and moved it online, so make sure you're bookmarking www.dealernews.com and visiting it daily for the latest updates. In its place in the magazine, we present "Speed Read," a new section (starting on page 12 in this issue) with short analyses and reviews, plus quick bits of information on dealer and vendor activity.
Of course, you'll still find all of the new product information and dealer profiles that have made Dealernews the most widely read trade magazine in powersports. But we're not done. Look for additional departments to appear in coming issues. Like your dealership, a magazine not only needs to be essential, it needs to be fresh.
Finally, our new design: We believe Dealernews is a strong magazine and it has a strong brand. But we wanted to make it stronger and more relevant to the changes occurring in powersports. I could start talking in "mediaspeak" about how the new design speaks to the habits of today's reader, blah, blah, blah — but that would probably bore you. The truth is, we like it, and we hope you will, too. (Let us know: email@example.com.)
Mary SlepickaAssociate Publisher and Editorial Director firstname.lastname@example.org