Remember the old adage? “The first three rules of business are location, location and location.” That may be true, but there’s something else just as basic to a retailer’s success: cash flow, cash flow and cash flow. Yet far too many retailers fail in that area, typically because they either confuse cash flow with revenue, rely on future sales that may or may not materialize, improperly track bills, allocate resources that they don’t really have, or succumb to a lethal combination of all the above.
As OEMs roll out an expanding array of advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS) on their new vehicles, the latest technologies are proving to be a mixed bag for the aftermarket. On one hand, they open new product channels for the industry’s suppliers and retailers. On the other, they present a challenge to collision-repair, customization and installation shops, all of which must contend with the safe functionality of ADAS components on completed projects.
We spoke with SEMA’s council and network leaders to find out what initiatives they are working on, what’s currently trending in their markets and what they envision the future might hold, and also the challenges they face. Common themes include fighting government overreach, the continued growth of advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) and expanding youth outreach programs.
For SEMA members, the SEMA Data Co-op (SDC) is an indispensable resource for product data management and delivery. Not only is the SDC the largest aftermarket industry database—representing nearly 500 brands boasting more than 4.5 million parts—but its unique approach to data management and file transfer can make data exports available in whatever format a given member requires. Whether the need is for complete PIES and ACES XML files or a custom-designed spreadsheet, SDC can provide it.
Since the inception of the SEMA Data Co-op (SDC) in 2012, nearly 500 product brands representing more than 4.5 million parts have joined what is now the industry’s largest specialty parts product data repository. Designed to enable any company, no matter how small or large, to effectively manage and distribute its product data at the lowest possible cost, the SDC has an expert staff that will coach you all the way through the process.
Staying atop the unprecedented explosion of new technologies transforming the automotive world is a crucial yet constant challenge for today’s aftermarket businesses. This is especially true of advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS), which are already having a major impact on the ways that vehicles are repaired, customized and serviced. In fact, experts maintain that there will be virtually no specialty-equipment segment left untouched by these safety-performance technologies within a few short years.
The automotive specialty-equipment market kept humming along to the tune of $44.6 billion in total parts sales in 2018—a 4% increase over 2017, according to the just-released “2019 SEMA Market Report.” Rumors continue to circulate that young people have disengaged from the automotive aftermarket hobby, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Young customizers spent more than $7 billion on parts.
Car-care products—the creams, coatings, polishes and waxes that provide luster and shine and help prolong the life of myriad interior and exterior components—are among the most ubiquitous in the automotive aftermarket. You need never set foot in an auto-parts store in your lifetime to come across them, as nearly every grocery store, drug store, convenience store and car wash in America stocks a respectable range of them.
Of the many categories that comprise the aftermarket, powersports stands out with consumers for its ability to offer fun, utility and outdoor recreation. According to research by Global Market Insights, the industry is expected to trend upward from $11 billion in 2018 to $14.5 billion by 2025. Interestingly, much of the current growth is attributable not to motorcycles, the category’s traditional stalwarts, but to the rise of utility-task vehicles (UTVs), also commonly called side-by-sides.
In 2004, Justin Parker told his wife that he had an idea to start an aftermarket retail website. The next day, she handed him a shoebox with every piece of spare change she could find in the house and car. She told him that if God was guiding him that way, she was all in too.