World of Powersports, Inc.
2635 N. 22nd Street
Matthew and Mark Jackson
With more than 75 employees, World of Powersports stocks more than 700 major units and is the largest genuine OEM parts dealer in the United States. Its franchises include Honda, Kawasaki, Yamaha, Suzuki, Polaris, Arctic Cat, Sea-Doo, Ski-Doo, Can-Am and Triumph. The dealership carries motorcycles, ATVs, PWC and snowmobiles. The owners also operate a Ford dealership and a Chevrolet-Cadillac dealership along with a used car lot. The dealership was purchased in 1994, along with eight other dealerships during a three-year period. The other dealerships were either later sold or consolidated into the current facility. Most recently, World of Powersports’ wholesale division started construction on a new 24,000 square foot parts distribution center, bringing total square footage at the dealership to more than 67,000 square feet.
“The new Chinese imports have been talked about at every industry event I’ve attended during the past two years,” said Mike Jackson, a brother and treasurer for the two owners of World of Powersports. “Thousands of units are being imported with substandard quality and non-existent parts and service support. It is these units that we as an industry must do everything in our power to get some type of quality requirements implemented by the government.”
“The side-by-side UTV market has seen the most growth for us,” Jackson said, “but the ATV market continues to grow as well. While national numbers show a decline in sales, our dealership has seen an increase in almost all areas. This may be due to us taking some market share from our competitors. But it is also from growing the market in our home area. We are in Central Illinois and have seen a steady increase in the number of farmers using ATVs or UTVs where they once would have used a pickup truck. Add the ‘fun’ factor of the ATV and it’s a slam dunk.”
Customer buying trends
“Many customers that may have purchased a new bike seem to be fixing up their old one instead,” Jackson said. “We’ve also seen a slight increase due to gas prices. But being in the Midwest, it still isn’t feasible to replace your car with a bike. For most people the cost of a bike is much more than any amount of gas savings they would see. In the south or in warmer climates where you can ride all year round, I would expect this to be a positive factor on bike sales.”
Parts and Service
Jackson said World of Powersports is growing its parts business by adding capacity to the wholesale parts division. “We now service more than 3,500 dealers and sell hundreds of orders per day on our Web site at full MSRP to consumers,” he said. “Technology has allowed us to service markets where customers could not visit a local dealership for parts, or the local dealer doesn’t take care of them. We don’t think we are ‘stealing’ anyone’s customers on our Web site because we charge full MSRP plus freight. It is our service that keeps them coming back.
“Our parts division has grown from seven employees in 1999 to 37 in 2006 and we expect that growth to continue in 2007 to around 50 full-time employees in our parts distribution center.”
Promotional home runs
“Direct mailers to known vehicle owners have been the most effective advertising we’ve seen,” said Jackson. He noted that full-line accessory catalogs from OEMs are available for anywhere from $1 to $5 each. “In the past, we used to give each customer one of these along with a coupon for 10 percent off his first order from the catalog (either in store or online),” Jackson said. “This was somewhat successful. But when we surveyed our customers, we found that many of them had spent all the money they had on the down payment. So we started mailing the catalogs to the customers 30 days after the purchase (along with the ‘Let me introduce myself’ letter from the parts manager). The response rate more than doubled (from 8 percent placing orders when handed out by F&I to more than 20 percent when mailed after 30 days.)”
Words of advice
“Don’t forget that fun is what we really sell in this business. If you are having fun, your customers and your employees see it and respond. Treat all your employees and customers like they were your friends. Never lie to them or cheat them and provide them the kind of service you would expect for yourself.”
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World of Powersports, Inc. – Decatur, IL – Sept. 4, 2006