Have You Ever Had the “Parking Lot” Experience?

SEMA News—January 2013

BUSINESS TECHNOLOGY
By Jon Wyly

Have You Ever Had the “Parking Lot” Experience?

Many of us who drive an accessorized vehicle have experienced an encounter like this in a parking lot at one time or another.Many of us who drive an accessorized vehicle have experienced an encounter like this in a parking lot at one time or another. We’re accustomed to the eyes following us as we drive in, but this time someone approaches for a closer look, and starts asking questions. “Hi, there! Cool truck. What’s that cover you have on the bed?” And the conversation ensues. Before you know it, you may be describing various accessories, their function and even how much they might cost or where to get them.

This scenario is often the first real exposure the curious person has had to these types of products, and they represent “undeveloped” sales opportunities. Not lost sales in the traditional sense, but sales opportunities that haven’t even developed to a point where they can be won or lost. They’re the elusive “new customers” we’re all looking for, and they could be worth billions of dollars in sales for our industry.

Think about the few times this may have happened to you, and then add to that the number of people who might never have gotten past an admiring glance. Countless gestures from curious folks who were simply attracted—if only for a minute—to the shiny or functional objects you have bolted on to your vehicle. Talk about market growth potential! These are the people we need to reach—future customers who need to have easily accessible information to feed their initial casual interest in our products. Very often these days, the Internet is that source. In fact, a recent study conducted by SEMA found that more than 53% of people researching potential auto accessory purchases used the Internet to explore the market before they bought.

The goal is visibility. Ensuring that information about your products is readily available, well distributed and in the places where people are likely to look for them. Complete, standardized product data is essential to this goal and will get your foot in the door at virtually any major automotive retailer, on thousands of websites, in search engines such as Google and Bing, in key marketplaces such as Amazon and eBay and in countless other places consumers go to research and buy.

“I get it,” you say. ”I need to get my data in order and managed properly, but I don’t know where to start. I can’t afford it. I don’t understand the data standards. My computer is broken. The dog ate my homework.”

It all starts sounding like excuses after a while, doesn’t it? Well, the good news is that the SEMA Data Co-op was started to enable you to take control of your product data at the most affordable cost possible. We want you to own the process, and we’ll teach you what you need to know to get started on the right path and successfully maintain this valuable business asset.

With the SEMA Data Co-op, you can start with as little as a simple spreadsheet that contains basic parts information, such as your price sheet file. We’ll walk you through how to find the rest buried in your systems, or we’ll teach you how to gather it. When you’re done, you will own your data 100% and will have complete control over how it is distributed.

Great data sells more parts. Let us help you get there.

To learn how the SEMA Data Co-op can help you create, manage, store and distribute your product data in the most efficient and cost-effective way ever, call 888-958-6698 x4 or e-mail jimg@SEMAdatacoop.org for more detailed information.

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