Website Survey Providers Results: ARI

Publish Date: 
Jun 25, 2009

Last Updated: June 25, 2009

11425 W. Lake Park Dr., Ste. 900
Milwaukee, WI 53224
(414) 973-4300 or (800) 755-6040

1. When was your company founded?


2. How many people does your company employ? How many are dedicated to powersports dealer services?

ARI employs 135 associates in our offices located in Milwaukee, Wis. (corporate headquarters); Cypress, Calif.; Virginia Beach, Va.; and Alphen, the Netherlands, as well as remote workers.

3. When did your company start building websites for powersports dealers?

In 1998. Since that time, our website products evolved and have been enhanced to meet the ever-changing business requirements of powersports dealers.

4. How many powersports dealers have a website built by your company? How many dealers of other types have a website built by you?

Powersports dealers: 400-plus dealers, many of whom have multiple sites.
All other dealers: 650-plus dealers, many of whom have multiple sites.

5. Can you estimate the total annual sales through all the powersports websites?

$35-40 million in annual sales move directly through the ARI-managed shopping carts of powersports dealers; this does not include whole goods and units promoted on the websites that are purchased by a means other than the ARI-provided online cart, nor does it include sales through OEM, distributor or other managed sites.

6. How do dealers pay? Describe your pricing structure, including all options, setup costs, monthly fees, etc.

Dealers have the option of paying on an annual basis or a monthly basis.

  • WebsiteSmart Pro, our award-winning dealer website solution, has three tiers: Complete, which includes a shopping cart; Basic, which does not have a shopping cart; and Dedicated OEM. All three have a one-time setup fee ranging from $300 to $1,000 and monthly hosting fee ranging from $175 to $400, depending on the catalog content and optional features selected.
  • OEM catalog content fee for display of parts, whole goods and/or accessories on WebsiteSmart Pro.
  • Optional: WebsiteSmart Pro SeasonSmart with a monthly fee.
  • Optional: WebsiteSmart Pro WeatherSmart with a monthly fee.
  • Optional: Footsteps lead management tool with a one-time setup fee and monthly fee.
  • Optional: Footsteps Jumpstart Education Solution, one-time fee.
  • Optional: ePro Mobile: Customers’ website are optimized to fully function on smart mobile phones. Inventory from websites automatically populates on the smart phone website, monthly fee.

7. Do dealers get to keep their domain URL even if they discontinue their service with you?


8. How long does it typically take to build a site without e-commerce? About how long does it take to build a medium-sized site with e-commerce?

Once a dealer has selected an ARI website, the first step is to complete a survey that provides the structure, look and feel and content that a dealer’s website will contain. The normal time from sale to “go live” is approximately four weeks for a site with or without e-commerce. There may be additional time required after that for the dealer to upload any custom pricing they want displayed on their site. When necessary to meet a dealer’s specific time-sensitive requirements, we will work with the customer to expedite the process.

9. Do you offer initial training? If so, what is it and how long does it take?

Initial training consists of a one-hour turnover training session where we walk the dealer through the basics of maintaining the site and answer any questions. In addition, before a website goes live, we put the site on a test server for a 10-day period during which the dealer can “play” with the site. At the end of the 10 days, ARI’s Technical Support team follows up with each dealer to provide any additional training or answer questions. The website itself contains a user guide in the administration region. If needed, a dealer may opt for a more intensive one-on-one training session at an hourly rate.

10. What types of ongoing support do you offer? Phone, online, on-site, remote access? When is it available? How do dealers pay for the support?

There is no charge for support. We have a customer service team that is available 24x7 via an 800 number to answer any questions. Questions are also accepted via a dedicated e-mail address, and we also maintain a FAQ site available to our customers via the Web. In addition, user guides are available in the administration portion on the dealer’s website.

11. Can your sites integrate with any of the dealer management systems? If so, which ones, and are all the integrations one-way (meaning data can be downloaded off the site, but not uploaded)?

Yes. Currently ADP Lightspeed and Ideal have an interface with our website product. We are actively working with our other 80-plus Compass Partners, including MIC Systems, c-Systems, SofTek, Softpower, System 2000 and IDS, so they can also easily integrate with an ARI site.

12. From how many vendors do you collect product information and images? Are there any major OEMs or suppliers from which you do not collect information?

We currently support more than 650 catalogs. There are no major OEMs or suppliers whose information we do not provide. We are continuously updating the information and adding new vendors/suppliers as their information becomes available.

13. Do you collect information from any Canadian vehicle or aftermarket distributors?

Yes. We support manufacturers who have dealers in both the U.S. and Canada. In fact, ARI produces CD- and/or Web-based parts catalogs for many of the major Powersports OEMs, including American Honda, Arctic Cat, BRP, Genuine Scooter, Harley-Davidson, Kawasaki, KTM, Polaris, Schwinn, Suzuki and Yamaha, and this information is available for use on dealer websites.

14. How do the dealers receive the product information and images? Do they pay the same regardless of how many suppliers they have?

The information is automatically uploaded to the servers that host a dealer’s website. The dealer does not need to take any action; we do all the work on the backend, so updates are delivered to the site automatically as soon as new information is published. There is a small monthly fee for content access per vendor catalog, but not for updating the information. The information may include parts diagrams, MSRP, whole goods and accessory images, OEM-sponsored factory promotions, product information and more, depending upon what the OEM provides to ARI as content.

15. Can dealers buy the product information and images only? If so, how much do they cost per vendor?

No. This information is available only through a website subscription.

16. Are OEM promotions automatically uploaded to the applicable sites (i.e., all Honda promotions uploaded to all Honda franchise dealers)?

Yes. The promotions are updated as frequently as they change. We currently track OEM-factory-sponsored promotions on a daily basis and update as soon as we are aware that they have been announced or changed. There is no additional charge for this feature.

17. What type of security do your websites use to protect customer information?

We use Verisign’s products to ensure the security of consumer information.

18. Do you offer any organic SEO or paid SEO services? If so, how much do they cost?

Yes, ARI provides both services. SearchEngineSmart is designed to provide dealers with paid SEM (Search Engine Management) services. SEM provides dealers an immediate solution to get the dealer ranking highly on the search engines. There is a one-time setup fee, and the dealer establishes the monthly expenditure for keyword purchases, geography to be covered, etc. on all of the search engines. All sites are designed in a way to maximize SEO, and a more formal optional enhancement program is in final development.

19. Please note whether your standard website offering has the following features and answer applicable follow-up questions. Please note if the features are options that cost more. Feel free to make comments or (where applicable) to note the third-party company that provides the feature.


  • Shopping cart for P&A sales

  • Ability to market new/used vehicles


  • Merchant account for credit card payment processing and the payment transaction software (which cards are accepted? can dealers use their own payment processor instead?)

    We provide third-party services for secure credit card processing — EZIC and/or PayPal — and there is a small fee for this service based on a percent of the transaction. All major credit cards can be used. A dealer may opt to manually process orders via their own in-store process.

  • Proper tax calculations for all 50 states and Canada

    Standard, dealer-defined.

  • Shipping price quotes and tracking (which carriers?)

    Real-time estimates provided using UPS World-Ship.

  • Shipping price estimator for used-vehicle purchases


  • “Other Customers Also Purchased” feature

    Not currently available.

  • “Also Consider” recommendation feature

    Not currently available.

  • Customer Relationship Management system including customer registration, an e-mail blaster and leads management

    Yes, Footsteps Lead Management System is an optional service that can be added to an ARI website. Footsteps allows a dealer to track leads and customers, deliver automated e-mails, schedule and send email blasts,

track phone conversations and other contacts, and many other marketing tasks. There is a one-time setup fee as well as a monthly hosting fee.


  • Ability to create a toll-free 800 tracking number to direct leads to the lead manager

    Optional feature on websites, or as part of either Footsteps or SearchEngineSmart.


  • Customer Guest Book

    Yes. With certain website solutions, ARI can provide a customer guest book Web page for customers.

  • Auto response to customer e-mails

    Standard in response to e-commerce orders and available as part of the Footsteps Lead Management System.

  • Ability to accept finance applications


  • Payment calculator


  • Fuel savings calculator

    No. ARI provides payment calculators and trade-in value tools on dealer websites. Dealers may also create “new/used inventory buying tips” Web pages if desired.

  • Ability to create user accounts


  • Instant messaging for customer support (on the dealer sites for their customers)

    The company is in the process of launching a “live chat” instant messaging program straight from our website so clients can communicate with the support team easily and quickly. This product will also be available for our customers to purchase, so they can also chat with their customers online.

  • “Events” page


  • “Testimonials” page


  • Google Maps integration for “Contact Us” page


  • “Staff” page with photos


  • Rotational graphic modules for the home page


  • Ability to create and manage Internet advertising and coupons


  • Search box


  • Search box auto-complete

    In development.

  • Search results help to correct spelling errors (i.e., “Did you mean?”)

    In development.

  • Search by fitment (model, make, year) for OEM parts


  • Search by fitment for aftermarket parts


  • By-catalog shopping


  • By-brand shopping


  • By-vehicle-type shopping


  • By-promotions shopping (a “Specials” page)


  • Aftermarket-category shopping


  • By-price shopping (or by-price search refinement)

    Yes. Specific website solutions provide dynamic search options so consumers can search by price (low-to-high and high-to-low), model, size, and more.

  • Parts fiche presentations


  • Configurable landing page


  • Vehicle comparison function (how many units can be compared at once?)

    Yes. With certain website solution consumers and clients can compare two units (includes specifications, pricing, coupons/specials, and more) simultaneously. This function helps consumers make a better purchasing decision. Note that inventory comparison is only for brands that the dealer carries.

  • Craigslist integration


  • Google Base integration

    Not to Google's Shopping Area, but SEO allows individual units for sale to appear in Google searches.

  • CycleTrader integration


  • eBay Motors integration


  • Auction123 integration


  • Yahoo! Stores integration


  • Price book integrations (please specify which)

    Inventory portal integrations available today in marine and under development for other markets.

  • Compatibility with mobile devices

    ARI’s sites are compatible with the leading mobile devices. Channel Blade, recently acquired by ARI, has developed a specific interface, ePro Mobile, that is compatible with the leading smartphones including iPhone and Blackberry Storm. We are planning to make this optional service available to all of our customers.

  • Website traffic analyzer


  • Ability to upload videos


  • Ability to create a blog

    This feature is being used today by Channel Blade customers, and we are planning to deploy it to ARI websites.

  • Ability to list seminars and courses offered to customers


  • Ability to manage a rentals business


  • Ability to create a forum

    Under development.

  • Ability to conduct surveys

    Yes, if the customer adds Footsteps lead management as an additional product.

  • A customizable Privacy Policy page


  • Ability to allow customers to schedule service appointments


20. Are there any other features you’d like to note?

Yes. The availability of manufacturers’ parts look-up catalogs. Our relationship with more than 85 manufacturers allows us to add value to a dealer’s website by making current, accurate and “hot-spotted” parts catalogs available on their sites, using information obtained directly from the manufacturer. Dealer’s customers and/or prospects can use these catalogs to look up and order parts online or print out a diagram and bring into the dealership to order. This, in combination with inventory, whole goods and apparel catalogs, allows the dealer to capture virtually every revenue opportunity.

21. What features could many of your dealers make better use of?

Custom Pages, Coupon Codes, Flexible promotions, uploading YouTube videos, social networking, search engine optimization and lead management. These provide flexibility to the dealer to really make the website their own, and offer specials specifically to fit their business goals. We conduct regular webinars to help dealers learn more about how to leverage the features listed above to help them increase exposure and incoming leads on the Web, as well as managing incoming leads properly.

22. Do you offer live demos?

Yes. We have several customized demo sites that were created to specifically address the business requirements of powersports dealers.

23. Do you have a referral program?


24. Any suggestions for dealers looking to improve their website?

There are several areas where dealers need to pay particular attention to make sure their website generates the results they want:

First, to be successful, a dealer needs to recognize that a website is not static. Time must be allocated to keeping a website fresh, interesting and updated with current information — including specials, new product lines and events at the dealership. The best websites provide visitors with a reason to return and things that make it different from another dealer’s website.

Second, having a website that no one can find will only lead to frustration on the dealer’s part. To get results, it is very important that the dealers remember to add their website to their signage, business cards, stationary, answering machine messages, invoices, etc. They should also consider using direct mail to prospects both inside and outside of their local area.

To also help prospects find the site, dealers should use search engine marketing to reach the millions of consumers who use the Internet to research and buy the products they need.

Integrating a lead management system into the site will allow the dealer to capture activity on the site, understand who is visiting the site — and why — and enhance the dealer’s other marketing activities. This helps ensure that no stone is unturned as the dealer looks for potential business.

Just having a website will not increase business. It needs to be actively managed, and used as a platform for other sales and marketing activities within the dealership. It should be treated almost like a “branch store” — one that can provide a large amount of incremental revenue when done correctly, as well as a way to improve the foot traffic and sales within the brick-and-mortar dealership locations.