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Dealership plans to expand e-commerce, relocate

By Chris Peters

Windy City Powersports targets online sales

Though relatively new to the powersports business, Windy City Powersports owner Lukasz Lisowski has big ideas for his dealership in 2012. He solidified many of those thoughts after attending Profit Xcelerator, Powersports Business’ dealer conference and expo in Las Vegas.

At the top of his list of priorities for the new year is finding a new location for his business, currently based in Bensenville, Ill., near Chicago.

“This year, we were in more of a warehouse type of building. Now I’m looking to move into a storefront in Chicago somewhere,” he said.

Lisowski is trying to grow his dealership that primarily sells electric scooters, sport bikes and parts. Increased foot traffic is at a premium for the new store.

“At the original location, I was waiting for people to come in by reaching them online or in a newspaper advertisement,” he said. “I’m trying to change that because it’s really expensive to run all those ads.”

In order to compensate for the lack of foot traffic in its current location, Windy City Powersports has relied some on sales through eBay.

“I don’t have a lot of products on eBay, but that’s pretty much been my retail side,” Lisowski explained.

In addition to increased visibility, another of Lisowski’s main goals in the move is to significantly increase the service side of his business for its cost effectiveness.

“Service will be one of my primary and hopefully best departments,” he said. “Service brings in good money without as big of an investment.”

John Spader of Spader Business Management provided Windy City Powersports owner Lukasz Lisowski with direction for 2012 during Profit Xcelerator in Las Vegas.

With a move to increase the service side, Lisowski also hopes to add some staff. Windy City Powersports is currently a two-person operation.

There are some concerns about moving to a new location given the current state of the market in the Chicago area, but Lisowski feels he has the strategy to make it work.

“There are a lot of big dealerships in the Chicago area that went out of business very quickly,” he said. “I think there is room for new dealerships with good ideas. I think it’s all about strategy and keeping an eye on costs and spending.”

In addition to obtaining the new property, Lisowski expects to get his dealership more involved in e-commerce, beyond what it currently offers on eBay. Lisowski has plans to build an individual e-commerce website for Windy City Powersports in the coming year.

“I want to at least expand on eBay and other e-commerce business and buy more from the suppliers and push through more stuff,” he said. “There are some costs associated with the Internet sales, but there’s some margin — 10 or 15 percent — that you can still get. And it’s much easier to do it online. All you do is place orders on a supplier’s website and just ship things. Many times you just drop ship it. You don’t have to physically do anything in the shop.”

He also plans to refocus his advertising dollars online.

“I want to do more Google advertisement,” Lisowski said. “I was looking at the market to see who comes to my shop. A lot of people just search on Google and find the nearest dealer. I get a lot of calls from a customer Googling for a dealer. I’ll try and spend a little more money on search engines.”

While he may still be gaining experience in the business, having entered the powersports foray as an exporter initially, Lisowski has a bright outlook for 2012.

“The market is not easy,” he said, “but I think there’s always a way of growing.”

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