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Top 4 Barriers to Successfully Selling Accessories

Article Highlights:

  • What’s keeping dealers from taking advantage of the accessories business?
  • Learn about the top four challenges dealers face with selling accessories.

In my previous article, we learned how massive the accessories business is ($40 billion to be exact) and how dealerships are barely capturing 5% of this market.

If the accessories industry truly is that big, what’s keeping dealers from taking full advantage of it? There are several factors:

1. Consumers have no idea what accessories are available for their vehicles and neither do dealers.

The lack of awareness about accessories is astounding – not just among consumers but even among dealerships.

I once encountered a general manager of a dealership who owned a Toyota Tundra. He had bought a cab over rack for his vehicle from a specialty equipment store because he didn’t know that Toyota actually makes them. Unfortunately, he aptly represents how much – or how little – most dealerships know about accessories.

2. Accessory manufacturers do not have enough resources to market directly to consumers.

Accessory manufacturers rely heavily on stores and dealerships that – due to their lack of knowledge – are also unable to properly promote accessories.

3. Suppliers and distributors provide their data on fragmented platforms.

Currently, getting the right information on accessories is a tedious process. The dealers either have to call the suppliers, check individual websites or refer to distributor-provided documents. Not only is this time-consuming, but there is no guarantee that the information is accurate or updated.

4. Dealers rely on dated tools and methods.

Many dealers are still using old school ways to sell and manage accessories.

For example, most dealers today simply hand customers a price sheet, which is essentially a list of product names and numbers. It is hardly enticing for customers and may in fact be more detrimental than helpful. A price sheet tends to look overwhelming, making the customer feel they are being asked to make a decision too quickly.

Dealers also continue to rely on printed catalogs. There are over a thousand product manufacturers and vehicle makers with their own accessory catalogs. Imagine trying to sell to a customer while having to flip through several catalogs to look for a product.

If a dealer does manage to sell an accessory, the process of actually ordering it is just as tedious. Over 95% of dealers today don’t have an automated process and still manually go through price inquiries, order notifications, and order placements.

Identifying and understanding these challenges have paved the way for solutions that help dealerships get a better handle on accessories. In my next article, we’ll discuss ways to effectively market and sell accessories.

You may also want to check out the whitepaper, “In the New “Golden Age” for Automotive…Where Are the New Frontiers for Dealership Profits?,” which talks about changes in the automotive industry and how accessories could become a new frontier to help dealerships become more profitable.

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Vice President, AddOnAuto, Reynolds and Reynolds

Sidney Haider is founder and leader of AddOnAuto, the leading digital platform for marketing and selling vehicle accessories. Haider was previously general sales manager at Keyes Automotive and e-commerce director at Galpin Motors.