Saturday, October 3, 2009

How to Display Scooter Parts

If you need help on how to build a proper scooter display make sure to give us a buzz. A lot of new dealerships have trouble building good displays.

We have the tools and accessories from our suppliers to make your store look like its the scooter super store. From racks to lighted signs we have it all so make sure to give us a buzz and we'll help you give the customer the ultimate scooter experience.

For new Shop Owners to Older Shop owners we all need help sometimes in building a better shop. Below is some advice from the Scooter Maven.


Scootering’s recent emergence in America as an accepted form of transportation has been quite a transformation from a few years back when it was seen as only a hobby. It seems like everyone from college students to corporate managers are now riding a scooter. It’s like the old saying; you really never notice how many bikes are on the road until you start riding one.

First off this is a business of passion. Simply put you don’t invest in this type of industry unless you love vehicles. Passion is your greatest friend and your greatest enemy when running a store. I have spoken to countless owners over the years and investors, many of them no longer have a store because they followed their passion without looking at the numbers. The bottom line is when selling a scooter you have sell parts, accessories, and apparel. You have to make the store a destination not just a simple shop. The day and age where you could survive just by selling one part and never seeing the customer again are gone. You have to think like your biggest competitor. Look at all the successful stores opening up and that have stayed in business for more than five years in this market and you will see that besides passion they made the store a destination. From Sportique in Denver to the Super Scooter Stores of America each store chain has a following behind what they are doing.

Scooter sales are rising and to capture the market you have to have what the guy down the street doesn’t and usually that’s parts. The same has happened to the off-road buggy scene which has seen a phenomenal triple digit sales explosion across America. Many stores sell both items and the advice we are giving you we hope will help you be more efficient, more profitable, and a lifelong MRP customer.

If it’s your first jump into the business then take our advice and remember these basic rules:

1. If you have it you will sell it

The thrill of riding a scooter or a buggy is living in the moment. This applies to accessories and performance parts. Your customer sees it in the store, asks about it, and buys it. Having an exhaust display, a tire display, a helmet display, and an accessories display is essential. We understand that stores cannot stock everything, but if you don’t stock anything then your not really a store just a front. This makes the difference between the fly-by-night guy and a permanent shop that customers can have confidence in. If you don’t have it there is no reason for the customer to buy from your store when he can go online and get it. If you create traffic you will create buyers who buy a Vespa toy for a friend even if he/she do not ride a scooter. This creates cash flow and makes a more interesting store.

Building a good display takes only a few minutes. First you need to figure out what brands you are focused in your store.
Do you really want to promote SYM? How about TGB? Maybe your Kymco lineup?
Call us and stock accessories for your flagship line. Get the tires for the bikes you move the most. Customers don’t want to wait three days for a tire and if your supplier is out of stock then you better be ready. So if your best selling scooter is a TGB 303 then you need to stock tires all the time for the TGB 303.

So what should you stock? Well that all depends on what you carry and we can help you here at MRP with these hard decisions. Do you have accessories for the Maxi Scooters? Do you stock your most common engine cylinders?
A decent dealer has at least $2,500 in accessories on display and $1,000 in tires and cylinders. You can build an incredible performance center with less than $2,000. In most stores this is less than the cost of two units. Scooter/Buggy shops should also have an assortment of apparel and lubricants we suggest at least $2,000 in these items. A total investment of $6,000 will allow you to have a full range of entry level cylinders to the high end aluminum Italian brands. If done correctly this will be one of the most profitable sides of the business.

I’ve looked at the model and if you’re not getting at least $1500 in PG&A from a scooter then you’re not maximizing the potential of the store. To do this you have to have the accessories in stock. Just in Time will not work.

2. You make more money on parts, repairs, and accessories than you do on unit sales

Some stores don’t sell fifty or thirty units a month but they stay profitable all year long. They maintain reasonable shop rates, have service plans, provide oil change specials, sell parts online, and make sure to stock up on everyday items like tires, oil, helmets, key chains, scooter toys, and other accessories. If you can’t recall the last time your service department was profitable then it’s time to rethink the master plan. If it’s a new store then we suggest buying a set of our Haynes Manuals and MRP repair guides to help get you on your way. Repairs and service is what separates you from Pep Boys or a Big Box Discounter. They don’t repair the scooters or Go Karts they sell, but you do. So invest in a good shop, invest in stocking parts, and invest in accessories. If you need suggestions calls us and we will help put an order together for you.

3. Make the store a destination not a “One Time Sale”

What makes your store special? Why buy oil at your shop and not at the local Wal-Mart or Big Box Discounter? Is it service? Is it the shopping experience? Is it having a friend you can count on that isn’t just a number at a chain store? It’s a proven fact that it costs ten times more to get a new customer than to sell to a current customer. Small store owners have an advantage when they create a shopping experience. You have to give the customer a reason to visit the shop more than twice a year. If your store has scooter accessories, a cool environment, and caters to the lifestyle you will always have repeat business. Stores like Pep Boys and other Big Box discounters are now starting to sell scooter oil, helmets, and covers but their employees aren’t trained to know anything about scooters. To them they are disposable items, but to you it is a lifestyle. Retailers should add to the experience. Here are some ideas:
Have a TV with videos and allow your customer to show off their riding videos. At MRP we are working to release a series of DVDs in 2007 that show scooter and Go Kart upgrades so play the DVD in the background and you will see your sales grow.
Keep the store clean and friendly. Decorate according to the season (Halloween, Christmas, etc...) this always helps in retail. Stock items that appeal to women riders such as women’s apparel and lifestyle items. Encourage scooter or buggy riding days. You have to sell the full package not just sales and parts, but the full lifestyle experience. Another suggestion is look for brands that get attention like the new Vectrix Electric Scooter ( carrying something unique like a Vectrix or a Segway will always get people in the door.
Also, make sure to have plenty of bar stools and customer seating while they wait for their repair. Stock the Industry Trades such as:

Scoot Quarterly -

Scooter World Magazine -

4. Alternative sources of revenue

This goes hand in hand with selling accessories and making the store a destination. To stay profitable all year long we encourage you to think outside of the traditional PowerSports or repair shop. Look at the different sections on our website and try new items to see how they do inside the store. Test them, see what you think, show them off. Try upgrading a scooter and having it on display with lights inside the shop. It’s all about presentation.

We also suggest selling easy to prepare small food items, espresso, clothing, gelato, ice cream, and having plenty of shaded seating outside of the shop. If located at a strip mall this will allow more foot traffic and allow people that would never enter a scooter shop to visit for the first time.

Even in a cold environment the trick could be coffee or Italian Ice. In the winter months this creates a unique opportunity to move the experience indoors with videos, stories, and seminars. Some of the most profitable stores we know sell coffee and drinks while playing scooter videos. At the end of the month, all these pennies add up, every MRP shirt, key chain, hat, even our covers add to the bottom line. Depending on the season certain items such as scooter toys, apparel, even a gift item like a stuffed bear will help. Having these alternative sources of revenue keeps the cash flow moving and brings back happy customers.

5. Instead of empty advertising invest in your customers

Do not spend money on empty advertising. In ten years I have seen countless stores open and close and those that thrive invest in the customer. Those are your best ad vehicles. Stickers, license plates with your store number, and giving them the full store experience is worth more than any local TV, radio, or print ad. Happy customers recruit more customers. Selling online is also a huge factor. A good website featuring our MRP parts will cost you less than a local ad in a newspaper and we will help you set it up. We deal with hundreds of shops that do not have a website and I cannot tell you in this day and age what a mistake that is. A good website, small ads, mailers,
and flyers work better for small stores than big radio campaigns or local magazines. Spend smart and focus on the trends. Make sure to visit, save your user name and password. Allow your employees to surf the site and become familiar with what we sell for the brands you carry. Knowing your product and what’s available for it is worth more than any ad.

6. Lastly, SCOOTER MAVEN what brands should I sell?

I get asked this question everyday from new stores and stores just starting to carry Scooters. This is a tricky question, but my answer is to split it up according to the market and to do your research. My best suggestion is for a store to have a High end brand, a Medium end brand, an Entry level vehicle.

Depending on the size of the store the focus should be on the Medium range since 60% of buyers will want price and quality. This is where the majority of the market is and if you can afford to have several brands then the majority should be focused on this price range. I also think too many brands can mean the store does a bad job, so don’t confuse the customer by carrying too many brands. If it’s a small store you might not be able to handle the full range of product of more then four or five manufacturers.

Quantity vs. Quality: Many dealers give up quality to move volume, but you can never build a quality dealership or a good reputation by only selling the cheapest product you can get your hands on. Your store will also never have the recognition it needs to survive or margins if it doesn’t sell a high end or high medium end brand that does consumer advertising. I don’t mean advertising in the trade publications such as Powersports Business, Dealer News, MPN, Motorcycle Industry News, or Powersports Management (If you don’t get these magazines make sure to subscribe to them.) The consumer magazines I was referring to are Cycle World or a trade like the Rob Report. You’ll see companies like Yamaha and Kymco advertising scooters in the consumer trades. Most up and coming brands will have ads out in Scoot and Scooter World, but if you don’t see them in any of these magazines then you’re dealing with a price based product or distribution method. You cannot expect much support from brands purely based on moving volume. Most stores that I talk to carry a high end, several medium lines, and one or two entry level units.

As to quality I used to recommend only Italian or Japanese for the highest quality, but the truth is if you open a Kymco or SYM scooter these are just as good if not better than some Italian brands. These companies are out producing the Europeans and their customer satisfaction is up every year. Since they have better margins they are able to give better dealer/consumer support meaning eventually they will reach if not surpasses their Italian/Japanese counterparts. Before picking up a brand I would start by calling several dealers, check out the reviews on websites, contact the magazines Scooter World and Scoot, and beware of Yahoo forums since some of them are run by the importers themselves or their staff. Fake reviews of scooters can often be found and some companies pay for fake blogs.

Regulations: We all know life isn’t fair, but to the game has certain rules so that all the “real” brands have to agree to certain terms to play on an even playing field. Make sure whoever you buy from has a state distributor’s license; EPA papers, and is doing things legally. I would suggest not buying from your competition and that’s basically any importer/distributor/factory that owns its own retail store (even if it’s in another state), distribution point, a sister company that does online sales, or sells on EBay the same vehicles they sell you. In the long run they will be selling to your customer’s parts, replacement parts, even accessories so it’s better to support brands that support you the dealer. This goes back to how many brands you carry, the more your support the brand the more that manufacturer is likely to help you the dealer.

We live in a Global Marketplace and sometimes despite an importer good intentions they cannot control everything going on at the factories. Some brands come and go, some switch importers, and some factories will eventually come into a market directly that’s why its good for distributors to have good third party support so that there is plenty of parts available for the product they import. Make sure whoever you’re buying from supports the Scooter / Go Kart scene supports their dealers, and is supported by the aftermarket industry. We are supported by the brands that you see in this catalog today, make sure that if you buy from one of these companies that you let them know at the Indy show, on the phone, or at the next trade show that you are glad to see them support the scene.

If you have any questions, comments, or have suggestions for the next printing please email me at

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