Business

Retailer Spotlight

In the Family Way With Chuck’s Truck Accessories and Line-a-Bed Sales

Many of the most famous names in the history of the automotive specialty-equipment industry started as family endeavors. Chuck’s Truck Accessories and Line-A-Bed Sales exemplifies that type of familial heritage. In fact, one of the joys of doing business for owner Chuck Vaughn comes from the fact that his wife, father, son and several cousins work at the retail and installation store.

Trends for 2014

SEMA Council LeadersA Look to the Future With SEMA Council Leaders

SEMA News annually turns to the leaders of the association’s councils and networks for the December issue to seek their views about how the industry is shaping up for the coming year. The chairs or chairs-elect of each group provide responses based on what their organizations and their companies are seeing within their marketplaces. Their responses provide helpful insights for businesses in every segment of the marketplace.

Product Data: If You Build It, Sales Will Come

Jon Wyly

Think of it as the selling Field of Dreams. Much like the enthralling Kevin Costner movie, it all starts with a lot of convincing, believing and perhaps a small leap of faith as you struggle to understand this challenging new requirement. This uncertain phase is followed by a period of ups and downs, ultimately creating some hard work that, at times, can feel like a hopelessly endless task. But man, oh, man: When you finally get to play, it’s suddenly all worth it!

I can’t stress enough how an ongoing regimen of product data gathering, expanding and quality control is critical to the success of your business. Own the process, understand its importance and seek help when you get confused or sidetracked.

Product Packaging

It’s All Wrapped Up in Protection, Branding, Economics and the Environment

A package for an automotive product serves multiple purposes, the most important of which is protection. Whether a package contains highly durable grade-8 fasteners or a fragile electronic tuning device, its main mission is to get the product to the end user in pristine condition. But a package can also serve sales functions, provide branding and inform consumers about an entire product line.

“Our products can be expensive,” said Joe Dussol, marketing director for Powerteq, which is the parent company of Superchips and Edge Products. “Depending on the product, some people might spend $600–$1,000, and we want the customer to feel like he’s holding something worth that kind of money when he picks up our package. That’s why our packaging might be a little bit more costly than doing a cardboard box with some print on it, but we really want it to stand out.”

Selecting a Public Relations Agency

Matching Companies With Marketing

Until fairly recently, advertising and PR were two distinctly different functions in the marketing of automotive specialty-equipment products. As with so many other aspects of modern commerce, the Internet has created some blurring of the lines. Getting products in front of potential customers is the lifeblood of marketing. Whether through straightforward advertising placed in pertinent outlets or through creative ventures handled by public relations (PR) agencies, getting the word out is key.

We included an article on best practices for selecting an ad agency in our February 2013 issue (“Finding the Right Advertising Agency,” p. 60), and this month, we’re taking a look at selecting a PR firm.

Retailer Spotlight

Evasive Motorsports has built a thriving e-Commerce/brick-and-mortar mix through active participation in racing and other motorsports events. Evasive Motorsports Builds e-Commerce Through Event Participation

What does it mean to be brick-and-mortar in the modern aftermarket business scene? Does it mean having a shop with a traditional storefront filled with inventory and displays to attract walk-in clients? Or does it mean a building stocked with inventory, with items often previewed or even ordered online, with a simple reception counter for a cadre of customers who come through the door to pick up and install those items? And what about having a full-service shop for building and tuning cars, complete with two-post lifts, fabrication facilities and a dynamometer?

Retailer Spotlight

ModBargains.com Delivers Data, Product and More

A generation ago, mail-order entrepreneurs transformed the specialty-equipment industry by leveraging enthusiast print media to inform and market to the masses. Today, a new generation of pioneers is doing it again—this time through the Internet and social media. ModBargains.com is a case in point.

Located in La Habra, California, the company was co-founded in 2004 by CEO Mike Brown, then 19, and President Ron Hay, then 24. Their original business plan called for a sort of online clearinghouse of special automotive parts promotions and deals similar to those offered by tech-industry bargain sites. But the venture quickly morphed into something much bigger—and better.

SEMA Indicators

Buyer, exhibitor and media registration for the 2013 SEMA Show are now open and available online at www.SEMAShow.com/register. A Look at Specialty-Equipment and Automotive Market Signposts

The search for marketplace information is never-ending. As the economy fluctuates, new technologies emerge and changing tastes shape sales, savvy industry professionals constantly look for indicators that will aid them in making business decisions based on more than mere supposition. While no one can accurately and consistently predict the course of things, knowing which way we’re going can confirm whether we’re facing a sunset or the dawn.

Insuring Specialty Vehicles

Whether actually “roadworthy” or built to be trailered and displayed only, specialty project vehicles carry a unique set of risks to your business and therefore require specialized insurance to match.How to Cover the Basics and More

Whether they be OEM “dollar vehicles” or shop display cars, the aftermarket loves to promote itself through project builds and other collectible autos. Many retailers or garages will have one or more in the lot or showroom to wow customers. Manufacturers, of course, use them to showcase products at consumer automotive events and trade shows. At the annual SEMA Show, you’ll scarcely find a booth without one.

Build vehicles are valuable commodities, so whether your business keeps them on display at the shop or takes them on the road to tout your brand, you’ll want to have them properly insured. Yet, adequately covering them can be complicated.

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