Wholesale or No Sale

Lots of companies from outside the industry want a piece of the boating pie. But few go after it like Go Dealer To Dealer.
This online powersports wholesale auction house has its roots in the auto industry, where its founder once served as a dealer, disgruntled by the hassle and expense of participating in car auctions.
But the newly formed company, launched last fall, is now focused on growing its marine business – and becoming the main solution to an industry problem: the used boat market.
“Go Dealer to Dealer has streamlined the wholesale auction process for buying and selling units dealer to dealer,” says Lewis Bungard, CEO of Go Dealer to Dealer. “This will help bring driveway- to-driveway sales back to the marine industry dealers.”
The “problem” really is an opportunity for dealers, when looked at in the right light – one that could eventually help the entire industry grow. Right now, the boating business is losing out on almost $8 billion in pre-owned boat sales each year, largely due to a lack of infrastructure. Because it’s often difficult for dealers to get rid of pre-owned models that don’t sell quickly or find more of the models that sell best, the majority have treated this market as a necessary evil, not the profit center it can become. It’s no surprise, then, that most small boat owners sell their boats in their own driveways rather than through their local dealership. (See articles on the pre-owned boat market in Boating Industry’s June and July issues for more information.)
That’s where DealerToDealer.com comes in. On the site, dealers can buy and sell pre-owned and new aged inventory from and to one another. Tools like this may encourage dealers to get more involved in the pre-owned market, thereby providing pre-owned boat buyers — who are often first-time boat owners — with a better experience.
The “challenge” of a site like DealerToDealer is that of most online auctions – its usefulness is tied to the volume of its inventory, and until that inventory is built up to a certain level, dealers are unlikely to use it. Right now, the company has 69 boat dealers signed up – and it’s clear it’s working hard to grow that number. Just look at the long list of relationships it has formed in the boating sphere over the past six months.
For one, Go Dealer To Dealer is endorsed by the Marine Retailers Association of America, the Michigan Boating Industry Association, the Lake Erie Marine Trades Association and the Marine Industries Association of Florida.
It also has signed up dealer software providers to offer its services to their customers — including F&I Systems Inc., and MIC Systems & Software Inc.
Perhaps the most promising of its recent partnerships, however, is an agreement with iboats.com. It allows iboats’ dealer clients to simultaneously offer their pre-owned and non-current inventory to consumers and other dealers.

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