By Mr Retail
Planning for the future is a natural part of owning a business. And with all the uncertainty going on out there, looking for easy opportunities to diversify your business is not just a good idea, but a necessity. For that reason, if your store sees lots of trucks and SUVs, then adding truck accessories to your mix might be a logical move right now. Or, maybe you are a retailer that has been trying to do this category for a while and haven’t seen much success. So, here are some pitfalls to avoid and some tips for success.
- You may read that Jeep sells 225,000 Wrangler’s per year, but you may rarely see one in your shop. So don’t go by national data to narrow down which trucks to focus on. Begin with researching the top five trucks and SUVs that currently come in your door and focus your energy there. Consider them the low hanging fruit.
- Don’t go with only one distributor if you can avoid it. Try and work with at least two: it lets you leverage both of their inventories and allows you to negotiate better pricing once you get up and rolling.
- Beware of bringing in too much inventory initially, as you don’t know what is going to sell. I suggest walking before you run. And if your distributors will deliver in 1-2 days to you, take advantage of that, as most people will wait that amount of time if pitched properly.
- Don’t think installing the basic items are out of your wheelhouse. Products like truck bed covers, side steps, rain guards, and even class 1-4 hitches are an easy install for any talented technician. More and more people these days don’t want to install anything on their truck themselves, so this can be a real benefit to you.
- If you decide to offer installation, and you should, research what the market will bear on a labor rate. It may be lower or higher than your mobile electronics rate. Don’t just assume you can keep the same labor rate.
- Don’t assume you must pay for your displays. Most vendors in the truck accessory world give out free displays for the asking. Having some truck steps and bed cover displays around make selling the product a lot easier. As a side note, the bed cover displays are often 2-3’ wide and 4-5’ deep, so they don’t take up a lot of floor space.
- When you are adding a new product category, don’t promote products based on what you or your team likes. Promote brands and categories that are hot in your unique market. If everyone is telling you to promote Jeep accessories and you rarely see them in your store, don’t start there. Let the numbers be your guide, not your emotions.
- You don’t have to start with a big advertising budget. An email to existing clients as well as a flyer that is given out to everyone that comes in the door may suffice. As you start doing the work, promote those vehicles on Facebook and Instagram as well as on your website.
I hope the thoughts above will help you in executing a solid business plan and that your company sees the truck accessory category as a successful addition to your product mix.
About Mr Retail
Mr Retail offers opinions and information on car audio retailing for CEoutlook. He wishes to remain anonymous. He has owned a retail store in this country for over 20 years now. Mr Retail loves what he does and loves the 12 volt industry and is happy to share his hard won expertise.
Photo: Texas Truck Accessories