According to Wikipedia, the United States automotive aftermarket was estimated to be worth $318.2 billion in 2013 and contributed more than 2.3% to GDP. These numbers have risen since then and are driven by record new vehicle sales and high demand for vehicle customization.
This exploding industry is expected to hit $1 trillion by 2023. So, how can your dealership benefit from all of this growth? The answer is simple, you have to be selling aftermarket accessories, and offering vehicle customization services to your customers.
If the only accessories you’ve ever sold at your dealership were branded with your OEM’s logo, then you are missing a huge boat. The fact is, buyers are customizing their vehicles at unprecedented rates, and if they aren’t doing it at your dealership, they will do it somewhere else. Here are some ideas to help you capitalize on this opportunity:
Attend the SEMA Show
The SEMA Show is held every year in Las Vegas during the first week of November and is the world’s largest gathering of aftermarket manufacturers and distributors. This show is an absolute spectacle of automotive eye-candy. There are so many vehicle customization ideas at this show, your head might just explode!
By attending the SEMA Show, you will experience all of the latest vehicle customization trends and you will be able to connect with manufacturers and distributors that can help you sell these hot upgrades right in your dealership.
Become a Retailer or Distributor
If you notice hot products and trends in the marketplace, do some research about becoming a retailer or distributor. There will likely be minimum stocking requirements and display requirements, but if the products are hot, people will buy them.
Dedicate Display Area and Train Personnel
Customers will never know what you have to offer if you don’t put it on display. If you are serious about automotive aftermarket, it is important to dedicate space in your parts and/or sales department to showcase your aftermarket offerings. It is equally important to educate and train parts, service and sales personnel on how to sell these accessories.
Outfit a Vehicle
Oftentimes, a product display is not enough for buyers to understand and want to buy an accessory. The best sales tool you have in the aftermarket world is a working demo. Whether it is a lifted truck that is tricked out with the latest racks, running boards, and fender flares, etc., or a street rod with the latest performance equipment, buyers will appreciate the hands-on buying experience.
Perform Upgrades In-House
Installing a complicated lift kit, or intricate stereo upgrade might not be the best place to start your aftermarket journey, but it can certainly be the goal. Think of the buyer loyalty that is built when your dealership is able to provide excellent customer service AND a killer upgrade to the buyer’s new ride?
Every time you send your customers off premises to get work done on their vehicle, you risk weakening your relationship with that customer. If you can develop your own, in-house customization shop, you stand a greater chance of owning that customer for life.
Don’t try to be All Things to All People
Your foray into the aftermarket world can be as unique as your dealership. There is no need to offer every accessory under the sun. You will find the most success by selling what your customer base is buying anyway. Pick an aftermarket niche or two and start there. With all of the possibilities, there is bound to be something your dealership can excel at.