We get the question alot … How can I sell my rv parts and accessories on our website?
Of course the answer is as simple or complex as you want to make it. First, let's review the different current known methods of doing it along with the pros/cons.
This is the most common that you see online. You put a link from your website out to your 'branded' online parts store provided from your distributor. Anything you sell from that you make a %. The pro is that it's easy to setup and run; requires little to no effort or cost on your part. The cons are that your margin may not be what you desire and you really can't change or modify the way it looks or behaves.
At a recent NTP show an anouncement was made that NTP and Systems 2000
had formed a partnership for passing part/accessory data back and
forth. A great idea and we'll see how it pans out and evolves in the future.
Built In Storefront
Some website provider companies offer a built in module for you to sell parts/accessories on your website. There are some providers that advertise this as a viable solution, but I havn't seen any of these in action yet. The pro might be that it is built into your website and should look/feel like your site. The cons are that you still need to have someone responsible for inputting and keeping up with all the data and photos. Before jumping into this option I would take the time and make sure the system has all the necessary tools and features to process orders efficiently and compliments the way you want to do business.
Stand Alone Storefront
This is the one you are thinking of if you are looking at campingworld.com, rvpartsoutlet.com, or rvwholesalers.com. This allows you to control your own destiny. It's really a hybrid of the first two. One pro is that it looks/feels like your current website and your customers won't feel a difference using your website or your accessories storefront. Another pro is that you'll have tons of products in their to sell. The con is that it will require a ton of effort at your dealership to upload/manage the information and photos as you are essentially building your entire parts/accessories catalog online. Keeping up with the constantly changing prices, specials, etc.. can be a challenging job by itself.
There are many different stand alone storefronts to choose from online. Doing a quick search will return hundreds of options. One we've found success with is www.Volusion.com. Just make sure any solution you choose has the right tools and features to run things the way you need them to.
First Things First
Before you start down the road on any of these solutions I encourage you to ask yourself the BIG question… What is my purpose for wanting to sell accessorries on my website? We all know the answer right? You want to make more money. Sell more stuff.
The next logical questions are…
- What will it take for you to actually make money (be profitable) at selling online? Consider up-front/ongoing cost, resources (people), profit margins, etc..
- Can you offer a competitive price? Comparison shopping is as easy as click, click on the Internet. Not having competitive pricing not only loses you a sale, but even worse can hurt your credibility online.
- How will you advertise you have an online storefront or are you thinking of just 'cherry picking' the folks who are currently coming to your website?
What to do … What to do…
So, you've answered the questions and now you've figured out that you can make money at this. The next step is to start thinking like your customers. Think about things that interest them. Think about the sales process and at what point can you upsell? Put yourself in their shoes. Here are some proven ideas to get you started selling products through your website and make money doing it!
Sounds simple doesn't it? Yet, why do so many folks ask questions and get educated only to think that somehow knowledge by itself puts more money in the bank. Knowlege only ads value when you put your knowlege to work. So..
- Get a simple stand-alone store on your website or ask your website provider if they have a comparable module you can use.
- Start off with 10, 20, or 30 of your best selling/margin products.
- Get good photos, maybe a how-to video, some testimonials on each product, and tell folks how each product can help them.
- Advertise with simple ads on your website.
- Watch it work …you'll get results if you follow the steps.
Pakcage Your Products
One competitive pricing strategy is to make up your own special product packages. Maybe each package has 3 to 5 different accessories. Much like the manfucturer has option packages. Do the same on a simpler more cost effective scale with your accessories and see what happens. Offering product packages changes the way shoppers compare you to others allowing you to hold better margins all because you cared enough to put together a total solution for your customers.
Email your current customers with new products and special offer, but don't spam them. Make it a timely valid offer with info on how this particular product will help them in some way. Solve a problem for them? Make life easier for them? You can even keep your email copy simple and link back to your website for the special offer. It allows you to reuse the web page offer on your site and email plus it gets them back to your website.
Accessorize Your RV
I remember back in 2007 when I purchased my first RV. I even purchased from a dealership who was using our RV website design service doing my best to support our clients. Believe it or not at the time of sale I wasn't even offered any accessories. I had spent time looking online and knew of at least 5 different goodies that I wanted. Now, they probably had their reasons for not offering, but I can't imagine I'm the only one who wants goodies with their RV. What if when you listed your inventory on your website you could also list a few popular accessories to add-on or accessorize their RV. What if you could even allow your website shopper to choose from those accessories and get a complete quote on the RV and accessories? Be it a solar panel, step rugs, assist handle, hitch, bug screen, or slide toppers. I've seen this in action on a dealer's site and it works. It's simple … just give folks the opportunity and you'll be surprised.
Let me know how you progress by adding your comments below. Have you found something that works or doesn't work? Let me know…
If you are interested in how we might be able to help your dealership be successful with selling accessories online or if you have questions about being more successful with your website itself just let us know by emailing us through our contact link. We are here to help.