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A Return to Normalcy

Sponsored by Segway Powersports

As the dust settles from the frenzy of pandemic foot traffic in dealership showrooms, the question that has been looming over everyone in the industry is: What comes next? Are sales going to drop to pre-pandemic levels? Will we retain the new riders that came in the last few years? Is there a way to keep the momentum going?

The answer to all those questions is: It depends. It depends on whether or not you dealership can pivot from the pandemic mindset and once more embrace crafting a customer experience that not only draws in but retains consumers.

Luckily, as far as sales are concerned, 2022 reports have been strong, and that trend indicates that while demand may not reach pandemic levels again, profits can continue to rise. For instance, Ducati recently announced that it surpassed €1 billion in revenue for the first time. Off-road companies like Segway also saw great profits in 2022, and 2023 is so far trending strong.

“2022 was a great year for us,” states Gabriel Cruz, marketing director for Segway Powersports. “As we continue to develop a great network of dealers and introduce new Segway products into the powersports landscape, the market acceptance has been phenomenal. We started the year [2023] off strong and saw a 31% increase in retail sales from January to February, and we anticipate those numbers to increase.”

What is likely also helping sales is that fact that the majority of supply chain issues appears to have been solved, with a healthy flow of product circulating the industry, according to Cruz. Yet now that supply is standing on more equal footing with demand, dealers are going to have to change the way they have interacted with customers in the last few years. Whereas during the pandemic, it was the customer driving the transaction — taking whatever vehicle was on hand, even if it wasn’t the one he or she wanted — now, the salesperson has to get back in the driver’s seat and focus on customer service for the sake of retention.

“The importance of quality customer interactions and customer experience are at an all-time high. More than anything, I think we are witnessing the economic shift that is leaving dealerships with pandemic levels of inventory with pre-pandemic foot traffic,” Cruz states. “Dealers have a healthy supply of inventory on hand. It is going to be important to take advantage of any and all foot traffic that comes through the dealership. It is important to develop relationships with OEMs like Segway Powersports that will work with you to ensure you have the appropriate model mix and inventory levels on the dealership floor.”

Salespeople have to learn about their customers, what they’re looking for and try to match them up with the best products. That’s going to take effort and research on the salesperson’s part. No longer is standing back and raking in the commissions going to fly. Know what features are available not just on your models but on other brands’ as well. While experienced riders may be brand loyal, many new riders are going to be shopping around for the right price and fit — especially if they didn’t get quite what they wanted during the pandemic.

And if it seems overwhelming, ask your OEM partners for help.

“It is always important to ensure the dealership staff is well-versed on the product that is on the showroom floor. Capitalizing on and taking advantage of any educational content is a must. Segway Powersports has a team of reps that are extremely well-versed on the industry and the Segway product, and we are here to assist our dealers!” Cruz proclaims.

Whether the industry keeps sailing ahead or founders on the rocks is up to whether your dealership can navigate the waters of today’s customer journey. That journey often begins online and always ends in-store. But creating a seamless experience that allows them to get all the information they need is up to you. Are you ready for the task?

For more information on Segway Powersports, visit www.segwaypowersports.us

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