Not all catalogs on manufacturer’s websites are created in PDF. Many are active catalogs one can surf online. These also have a search function to locate what you want — quickly. The Suzuki accessory catalog, for instance, is over 200 pages. When I typed in “M90,” it brought up 28 pages where that word was located. When I clicked on the left column where these pages were listed it took me to the page in the catalog where M90 was located, and it highlighted the words or image for easy identification.
Upselling and customizing. Now, this 21st century technology is not just for locating things your customer thinks he or she wants; it can be used to stimulate sales of items customers hadn’t even thought of.
Harley-Davidson’s retail website features an extensive accessory catalog that offers fitment by year and model all the way back to 1984. In my last visit I selected a 2002 FLTR Road Glide. That displayed 21 groups of accessories. I was curious to see what was available in the decorative category so I clicked on and was rewarded with 168 accessories to choose from. There are 28 thumbnail images displayed per page and I could quickly see all that Harley had to offer. That’s powerful visual stimulation.
Three of the most significant visualization tools I’m aware of are the Harley-Davidson Bike Builder, the Victory customization tool and the Caliber Products Trailer Configurator. The Configurator makes designing a snowmobile trailer fun and easy. In as little as five minutes one can select from three trailer designs, 16 trailer lengths, numerous glide designs for the skis, traction mattes for the floor and doors and a healthy number of options and accessories.
Prior to the Configurator, it took about an hour for customers to make all of their selections with the help of a sales pro. Now, with the Configurator, it takes as little as 10 minutes. Check it out at www.caliberproductsinc.com. The Configurator was no small endeavor; with the dozens of choices just mentioned come hundreds of variables the software designer had to create.
Take the Configurator project and multiply it times a thousand and you have the motorcycle Bike Builder on Harley-Davidson’s website. Since late 2003, Harley has had some form of virtual motorcycle customizing tool where one can throw up to 100 different accessories on the bike and see how it looks on screen. Then you can print the customized bike image and the build list to make the project super simple.
Wish lists. Finally, many manufacturer’s websites now have a wish list function. First, the bike owner creates a personal profile and then he or she selects the accessories. This is so freaking cool when the spouse or friend comes to the dealership looking to buy a gift. It takes seconds to pull up the wish list so the shopper can buy the rider exactly what they want or need.
Sounds pretty cool, right? Of course these tools are only as good as the way and frequency that we use them. First we have to know what’s available. Then we need to get comfortable with the functions and lastly we have to utilize them regularly.