A new world in four short years

Editor’s Note: Speaker Preview. Tom Shay, OPE Industry sales and marketing leader, will speak at our Dealer Forum event in November.

By Tom Shay

In 2019, did you go to a restaurant and order your meal by using your phone and a QR code that was taped to the table? Did you pay your bill using that same QR code?

In 2019, how many apps did you have on your cell phone? How many apps today?

In 2019, how many forms of payment did your business accept? How many forms of payment do you accept today?

In 2019, how many businesses offered you “online ordering with curbside pickup”?

A lot has changed

New equipment for 2024 is showing up in your dealership. But other than new models, what is going to be different in your business for 2024?

I am not talking about a renewed effort for customer service. I do want you to think about this: Customers shop differently today. How can your business interact with customers differently so your business benefits with improved sales, service, and profits? Let’s look at a couple opportunities.

Information Access

Stihl hang tag QR
Some Stihl product hang tags already have QR codes on them.

Within your business, how many items have a QR sticker that a customer can scan to learn more about the product? You probably have a sizable display of units inside and outside your building. This would be an excellent place for placards with a QR code to “talk” with these customers. You can create a QR code for your business and for each model you offer, for free.

Going Mobile

Just like a restaurant having an app that allows a patron to order a meal, your customer could use an app to order service and schedule the appointment. While we are discussing mobile phone usage, many of the programs used today to build websites (Wix, Squarespace, GoDaddy, HostGator, and Weebly) will automatically configure a website for viewing on a mobile phone. Your customers need access to your website on their mobile phone.

Pay Easily

Some fast-food restaurants take as many as 13 different forms of payment. And they proudly explain it with stickers on their doors. One simple payment method to consider. When you complete a service job, you can call a customer’s mobile phone. Upon answering, they’ll enter a card number. Within seconds the system will send an email with the receipt for the service provided.

Most power equipment dealers look like every other power equipment dealer. The product lines will vary and the focus on commercial or residential customers might vary. Occasionally, a dealership is part of a hardware store, home center, or garden center. Most focus on “what” they sell.

Let me suggest an expanded focus toward “who” you sell to. Here’s an example from several nurseries in the northwest U.S. After visiting one, I asked why they did not sell implements, fertilizers, gloves, garden hoses, sprinklers and other related products. They believe they’re purists in selling only plants. I think they are missing a lot of sales by not having the things their customer is buying later at Home Depot.

We have seen an outdoor power equipment dealer who has commercial and residential equipment; they also sell bicycles, disc golf, hiking material, and several other related product categories. How are they related? The focus is “who” their customer is, and this customer is an outdoor oriented person.

The customer of 2024 is not the customer who existed in 2019. Are you still trying to sell to that 2019 customer?

To register for Dealer Forum, visit the event website.

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