165 Washington Ave.
Belleville, N.J. 07109
Motorcycle Mall lives up to its name. Not unlike the dozens of outlets that can be found for clothing, entertainment and other goods at your local shopping center, this New Jersey dealership carries 12 lines of powersports products. It’s what works and what its customers want. There is something for everyone at the 51,000 square-foot-facility. Motorcycle Mall carries products from all four major metric manufacturers. In terms of motorcycles alone, there are seven brand offerings: Aprilia, Honda, Kawasaki, Moto Guzzi, Suzuki, Ural and Yamaha. The company also has lines from Can-Am, KYMCO, Piaggio, Sea-Doo and Vespa. Hundreds of models are displayed in Motorcycle Mall’s massive showroom. The Resciniti family first opened the dealership in 1975 in Newark, N.J. The company moved to its present location in nearby Belleview in 1977. Sean Gatesy is the company’s general manager. He has been with Motorcycle Mall for five years.
“Dealers that don’t truly understand the industry and think that discounting units is the only way to sell,” Gatesy said. There are a number of ways to get around this way of thinking, he adds. One is to build a strong set of core businesses that can withstand any kind of economic conditions, thus eliminating any need to discount. Dealers can add an F&I department, expand parts and accessories offerings and make it easy for customers to bring in products for service. Each department should be its own revenue center. “If they’re firing on all cylinders, they’ll keep firing,” Gatesy said. “Those are the dealers that will do well when we hit hard economic times.”
New Jersey was one of the first 11 states BRP rolled out the Can-Am Spyder in and the reception has been very warm since it arrived in fall 2007, Gatesy says. Motorcycle Mall added the Piaggio Group to its lineup late last year, including the Aprilia, Moto Guzzi, Piaggio and Vespa brands. Motorcycle Mall is traditionally a hot bed for sport bikes and so Gatesy thought Aprilia would really take off for the dealership. But it has been Vespa sales that have outshone the rest throughout the winter, he says. Aprilia is likely to take off once some warmer weather hits the area, Gatesy adds. Any 600cc or 1000cc sport bikes also are doing well early this year.
Finance and insurance continues to gain a strong foothold as an important part of a dealership’s overall health. The number of F&I programs has increased dramatically during the past several years, Gatesy says. Motorcycle Mall has aims to get a product to all buyers who truly want one through its F&I department. The dealership staffs two dedicated F&I personnel to handle the business. It works with nine F&I vendors, so if a customer doesn’t qualify through one vendor, it might fit through the parameters of another company. “There are huge amounts of finance programs across the board for all,” Gatesy said. “Customers are always looking for zero down programs…they see programs on TV or the Internet and wonder if we have them.”
PARTS AND SERVICE
P&A and service are also central figures in Motorcycle Mall’s makeup. The company has two new P&A endeavors. About 18 months ago, the dealership doubled its display area for parts and accessories. “I saw we were using more space to store stuff than display (it),” Gatesy said. “I’m a true believer in people don’t buy stuff if they can’t see it and touch it. It led to a huge influx in business.” About six months ago, Motorcycle Mall opened an eBay store to clean out some of its parts. It also started doing a heavy amount of e-commerce through its Web site. “It’s a good way to reduce old inventory,” Gatesy said. An additional accessory sales driver for the company is the large number of accessorized units it has on the showroom floor. Thirty-40 percent of units are accessorized, Gatesy says.
PROMOTIONAL HOME RUNS
Although it does its fair share of traditional advertising on local radio and TV and in newspapers and magazines, Motorcycle Mall does have a few ideas up its sleeve that are outside the box. One idea that got a lot of positive feedback not only from customers but also from dealers who wanted to emulate the company was its foray into bus advertising. This wasn’t just the standard side-of-the-bus ad, either. Motorcycle Mall had a public transportation bus vinyl wrapped, which means the bus was covered from top to bottom with large, removable vinyl sheets. This marketing method is highly effective. Outdoor Advertising Magazine found that this type of advertising had a 97 percent recall rate with consumers, higher than for most other forms of advertising.
WORDS OF ADVICE
“Dealerships need to concentrate on building value in themselves, the dealership and employees,” Gatesy said. “Take the proper time to go over service and the parts department (with customers during the sale). If employees can convey that value, it means a lot.”
— Lisa Young
Copyright 2008 Powersports Business