Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Orphaned Customers and Orphaned Brands

I was talking to an employee of another company who asked me why we were working so hard to help consolidate the scooter industry. In his opinion it was best to let all the former United Motors, Diamo, Italjet and Daelim dealers/clients buy a new scooter. He didn't get the concept of how a dealer that sold a product a year or two ago were still liable for a product they sold. In some states those scooters are considered motor vehicles and had even more Lemon Laws affecting them. So you better believe someone who spent $6,000 on Hyosung 650cc branded UM is going to want parts, yes you can get some of these from Hyosung, but will they be in the same color with the UM logo on it? The answer is no.


Thousands of orphaned customers and dealers are out there right now and the Indiana Dealer Expo is a good place for the scooter industry to educate them. From where to find parts to why as a distributor we want dealers to repair every brand they can.


The other issue facing us is a whole new crop of investors and possible operators are looking at opening a scooter shop. Since 2008 there's been hundreds of towns left without a dealership. The thinning of the herd has now caused there to be a market gap for someone to come in and take the market share. Consumers are having to drive miles to find a dealer to install a 80cc kit or to get an exhaust from.

Having fewer stores out there you find yourself waiting days sometimes to get a scooter repaired. Shops work leaner with less inventory, fewer mechanics, so if you have customers waiting on a couch why not sell them some water? Having these clients just waiting around a showroom means you should have jackets, helmets, soda, coffee and more.

I know these are things that bigger dealers get, but scooter shops managers don't usually know that they need to stock them so the Dealer Expo is a good chance for them to learn what they need to do. What type of market they are in? How to self-qualify themselves.

Are they a price point dealer? a repair only shop? or are they trying to build a destination?

What is their branding score?
Are they selling first tier brands ( Honda, Yamaha, Suzuki, Vespa )
Secondary Price Points ( Kymco / SYM / PGO - Genuine / TAIWAN / KOREA )
or lower price points ( Mainland China)

How do they stack up against other dealers?

Do they stock clothing ( Armadillo ) Helmets, gloves, racing parts?

All these questions are extremely important. The other aspect is service. You can't survive without repairing as many bikes as you can and that means knowing all the brands that are out there and where to buy the parts. That's where MRP comes to help the dealer take advantage of all these brands no longer on the market and to give you one easy place where you can get the parts.

So a smart marketing savy dealer can make a name for himself in his local marketplace. They can send postcards, tweets, and flyers to all the clients the orphaned consumers out there from the local DMV registrations. They can contact the TNG, Diamo, CPI, United Motors, Tank riders and say "HEY WE HAVE PARTS" come in let us help you.

When accessing the potential of 2011 when you factor in rising gas prices, less competition, and more interest in alternative transportation this could be a great year. So there's never been a better time than now to hang in there and start promoting the joys of scootering in America.


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