RV PRO

March '16

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WISCONSIN DELLS, Wis. – When Brunswick bought Bell RPG to begin its efforts to enter the RV market as a distributor, company executives knew they were getting a solid, small regional player with a good set of customers. They soon found out they also were getting a bit of a clunker of online support for their dealers. "The old website Bell had was outdated and really needed significant updates," said Tom Schuessler, president of distribution. "Its SEO was really bad and it needed better descriptions and better search capabilities and better images." At about the same time, Milwaukee.-based ARI also began investing to become more involved in the RV industry. ARI had a good presence with its lead management system, but wasn't much known on the online retail front. In looking for potential partners in the RV industry, ARI approached Bruns- wick, and the perfect fit soon took off. ARI is working with Land 'N' Sea/Bell to upgrade its online retail microsite that is available to dealers to bring customers to their brick-and-mortar stores through the online listing. "Our focus was with dealers and making sure their physical destination is well-reflected online," said Aubrey Amborn, sales manager, RV, powersports & marine and Ecatalog, for ARI. "Our goal has never been to get out there and create e-tailers. What we want to do is have the brick-and-mortar store and the OEM online representation be a better experience so that consumers don't need to go to those e-tailers. Most consumers are still going to do their research online before they walk in the store, but most of them are indeed going to walk in the store. What we want to do is make sure they go to those online destinations, they're able to see everything the dealer would have at the physical location." That philosophy fits in well with Brunswick's. "ARI had a very good reputation," Schuessler said. "It was a good opportu- nity to create a better experience for the dealers with what they are doing for the web. It creates a great entry point for their brick-and-mortar locations." Once completed, the microsite will be available for Bell RPG's 141 existing dealers to integrate into their own websites at no additional charge. Any other dealer that is a Bell RPG or Land 'N' Sea dealer also will be able to receive the microsite or be able to come onboard at a discounted rate, according to Amborn. ARI will receive nightly updates from Land 'N' Sea/Bell with the latest infor- mation on products and offers. That data will be uploaded to the microsite to assure that dealers have the most up-do-date information possible. The redesigned site also takes advantage of an upgraded search bar to help outside customers find the products they are looking for at a Land 'N' Sea/Bell dealer. "If some business owner is out there trying to build this themselves, many times they may not to know the most robust way to do it," Amborn said. "We do research to see how people shop. We know e-commerce. We know what makes it work. Having someone that's been a leader in several industries for so many years makes Land 'N' Sea look more credible. If they're going to do it, they might as well do it right." Land 'N' Sea's Internet Investment KICKER: With an ARI-upgraded eCommerce microsite, the distributor's dealers can draw online customers to their brick-and-mortar stores. could change, but for now, Conners said the distributor is considering additional regional shows at similar venues with a family appeal. After all, being able to pull dealers from Texas and Florida to a Wisconsin location in January lends credence to the idea that dealers and vendors are looking for some options. "One dealer who had not ordered from us in the past just placed a signifi- cant order," Conners said. "This is his first penny. He came to the show, got some deals and we put some things together and he just placed a very nice order for a dealership out of Texas. I think one of the key points is understanding what the dealer wants and the voice of the customer. If we bring that to the table and listen then we should be very successful." rv-pro.com MARCH 2016 • RV PRO • 71 With an ARI-upgraded e-commerce microsite, the distributor's dealers can draw online customers to their brick-and-mortar stores. By Travis O. Pryor

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