The powersports industry has an opportunity that is too often not realized or just ignored by too many dealerships. This golden opportunity resides within our children. By focusing on children we can begin to cultivate and build brand awareness with our future customers.
Dealers who solely focus on the middle aged (35-54), middle to upper income buyers and forget about other demographics become one dimensional and are constantly cultivating the here and now without investing in the future. It is like living paycheck to paycheck with our customers. Obviously, this key demo is very important to sales and profitability of our stores. When we fail to expand outside of this one demo, we fail to grow our reach and full market value potential. More dealers need and must find ways to gain new, loyal clientele or face the real possibility of never growing new segments. Quite possibly, today while our industry faces record challenges, we are feeling the effects of our failure to bring new faces and our lack of investing in our future, children.
Not to mention, children also have a heavy influence on what their parents buy and spend in powersports stores. Think about it, our kids pick the radio station in the car; they typically teach us what is cool and the “in factor.” By capturing the children and having more to offer our youth, dealers can become a true destination for the whole family or all walks of life.
For example, Dad comes in looking for a spark plug and oil and brings 4-year-old little Johnny along. Little Johnny sees the 50cc dirt bike and becomes intrigued and develops the potential to become addicted to the sport we all love. A dealer really wins when little Johnny sees the kid-sized mannequin dressed in all the latest gear. Then we create a Dad now thinking he needs a bike and all the gear for his new potential riding buddy. GREAT NEWS, it doesn’t stop there. By little Johnny becoming a customer, Mom has now become a new customer, and she may not even know it. Before too long little Johnny is now begging mom to take him to the dirt bike shop. Now Mom sees the new side-by-side and thinks this would be great for her and Johnny’s sibling to tag along and go on riding trips together. More and more sales opportunities are provided by one set of little curious eyes, but if we fail to cultivate these opportunities we fail to grow, period.
Powersports dealers who make their stores appealing to kids have a better chance to gain lifelong customers. Whitney Houston once sang, “I believe children are our future" …. was she speaking about the powersports industry? Haha, probably not directly, but if the boot fits. As dealers cater to youth, we will develop future customers. Let’s develop a dirt bike customer when they are young. Then as they grow into their teenage years a street bike customer is much more realistic and now possible. Then maybe a side-by-side customer, a PWC customer, eventually a touring V-twin customer and on and on. Capture kids young, treat them with passion, while treating them well, and dealers will develop a lifelong customer who will spend a lot of money while referring all of their friends and families.
Here are some Big Time tips to develop children into future loyal customers:
- Host kid friendly events like Easter Egg hunts, pictures with Santa, kids bounce houses, Strider bike races, face-painting, and balloons.
- Put kids dirt bikes & ATVs throughout the store.
- Stock up on the “cool” gear for kids.
- Merchandise your store with mannequins, kid sized t-shirts, toys, backpacks, hats, stickers, etc.
- Teach your staff to interact with the kids. As a parent myself, I can assure you that my kids have a huge influence on my buying behaviors. The guy behind the counter is someone young kids tend to look up to, almost as though they are some superstar racer. If they can develop a relationship with not just Dad and Mom but the child, the store wins!
The children really are our future. They influence buying decisions and ultimately can become customers buying many new units over many years to come. Engage the youth with your store and your advertising and it will pay off short term and in the long run!
Ryan Brown is vice president of Powersports at Big Time Advertising, a digital advertising agency focused on the powersports industry. Ryan has over 15 years of experience in the powersports industry as a rep and GM of a national top 10 multi-line dealership. He uses his knowledge of the powersports industry and digital advertising to put together winning advertising plans that deliver more leads to dealerships across the country.
Ryan can be reached via email at Ryan@gowithbigtime.com