With the necessity of social distancing and the rise of businesses closing to stop the spread of the Coronavirus (COVID-19), powersports dealerships are among those struggling during this turbulent time. As a result, finding alternative ways to reach customers will be a necessity due to the uncertainty of how long the pandemic restrictions will last.
Business is booming at Amazon and other major retailers that embrace the need of quick ordering and expedited delivery of products during the COVID-19 pandemic. In many states, restaurants were ordered to close, thus seeing the rise of delivery services like Uber Eats, GrubHub and DoorDash.
“When I briefly drove for Uber Eats, they also partnered with Nordstrom and some department stores for product delivery,” said Brands That Shine owner Jessica Shine. “Some shops that have some room in their margins might partner with someone like these already established delivery services to pick up the slack.”
On March 18, Danny Caine, owner of The Raven Book Store in Lawrence, KS, decided to close the doors of his book shop and offer free book delivery within the city limits and reduced-price shipping to meet the needs of his customers while following social distancing protocol. Since March 18, online sales at Raven Book Store have increased exponentially.
In an interview with the New York Times, Caine said, “We’re going to operate like a pizza takeout place. We’re going to process an order you called in, but you can’t stay here and eat your pizza, basically.”
Although these examples are outside of the powersports industry, their entrepreneurial solutions fill a need in the marketplace and could be a driving force of inspiration for dealers.
Aaron Zeigler, owner and president of Zeigler Motorsports in Kalamazoo, MI, uses his experience in the automotive industry to help his powersports dealership, especially in improving the customer experience.
“As we’ve grown as an organization on the automotive side of things, we learned a lot. We wanted to take what we did in automotive and bring that into motorsports so that the customer can have the same type of experience,” Zeigler said. “We do a ton of delivery and pickup on vehicles. I think last year we went out and picked up 800 personal watercrafts, brought them into the dealership, winterized some, stored them on site during the winter, and then in the spring, we will take them right back and put them in the customer’s dock for them.
“A few years ago, a recall came out on the Goldwing motorcycles,” Zeigler added. “We got a list and we called up everybody in a three-hour radius and went and picked those bikes up and got the recalls done. We do a lot of things where we’ll go out and go after business versus waiting for it to come to us.”
With changes happening daily around the country because of the COVID-19 pandemic, social media is a great way to tell your customers whether you are open for business, have adjusted hours or are closed because of the virus. It is also an opportunity to market to your customers about any specials or sales you have going on in your dealership.
Have you taken any action in your dealership as a result of the Coronavirus? Let us know by sending an email to the MPN team at [email protected]