Where is the boat buyer? They’re in the new world… are you?


Bob McCann, Director of Education, ARI
February 12, 2013
Filed under Guest Blog

Boat Buyers are making a comeback – slow though it may be. And as they return, you’re going to notice a change.

REALITY: While your customers were away, online has officially taken over. It’s the new showroom for the comparison shopper.  They can chat, text, email or call in a heartbeat. They can see every option, even some you never knew existed! The Internet and all the devices your customers use to access the web make it easy and fast for anyone to shop for boats, any time of the day or night.

Yes, consumers have used the Internet for years for buying and researching a variety of products, but recently, among boat buyers, the Internet has taken a firm hold on the buying process.

It’s a different world now. We are not going to “recover,” per-se. We’re going to revive and revise.  And you can be in it, or watch it pass you by.

Below are some observations we gathered and shared at last year’s MDCE conference.

HELP:  New Customer’s Wanted

  • They are Googling – Not Yellow-Paging. Consumers now type keywords into a search engine rather than aging through a phone book.
  • They don’t bank the same way.
  • They’re not buying a car the same way.
  • They’re not buying a home the same way.
  • They’re online!  Checking out your website and your competitor’s website, and forming ideas about you and your competition based on their online impression of your business.
  • They are texting.  A lot!
  • They’re socializing online. Using social networks like Facebook and Twitter, and review sites like Yelp to tell everyone what’s happening in their world and their experiences with businesses and products, in a place where the world can read.
  • They’re using their mobile device to do nearly everything. It’s not just a phone anymore.
  • They think they know as much about your products as you do, and with access to product research across the Internet it is possible that some of your customers do.
  • They expect you to be as computer, and technology, literate as they are… Are you?

To succeed in capturing the new consumer, you need to be sure that your dealership is connected with a company that has a marine focus.  You should find a company that helps these new customers find you. You need a website provider that helps you present your products effectively on the web to generate more leads, manage your leads, and sell your parts and accessories online and in your dealership.

Another REALITY check: There are far more boat buyers shopping online than visiting your store or show. Are you spending enough time making sure your Internet presence is complete while you plan for your next boat show? And, are you putting in enough time to lead your customers from your website to your showroom?

Bob McCann is Director of Education at ARI, a leading provider of technology-enabled business solutions for dealers, distributors and manufacturers in the marine, RV, powersports and outdoor power equipment industries. Products and services include eCommerce-enabled websites, lead generation, lead management, Search Engine Optimization, Search Engine Marketing, and eCatalogs (parts, garments, and accessories).
Contact: mccann@arinet.com 877-806-2150
Website: www.arinet.com 


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