March '18

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 23 of 71

18 THE SHOP MARCH 2018 suspension parts and drivetrain upgrades. Over the years, there has been a strong shift toward style. Currently, there's a strong focus on color-matching acces- sories, personalized decals and lower-profile tires." Ricky Artes, owner of Jeepers Den & Truck Accessories, also in Florida, agrees that vehicle style and accessorization has attracted a diverse group of enthusiasts that maybe would never have consid- ered off-roading. "The Jeep market has changed a ton. The JK has introduced customers to the Jeep world that would have never owned a Jeep before," he says. "It has brought lots of money into our industry, and with that came many smaller shops with offerings for Jeep vehi- cles that were never there before." ONE OF THE CROWD It's no secret that many after- market professionals started as enthusiasts. For shops serving the Jeep market, a desire to participate in the hobby can serve as a competitive edge. "Customers need to be able to relate to the shop staff," Olavarrieta believes. "It is said that when you buy a Jeep, you buy more than a car—you buy a lifestyle. For the shop staff to be able to make sound recommendations, they need to understand the advantages of certain aftermarket com- ponents firsthand." An understanding of, and participation in the local Jeep scene helps businesses compete against the internet. "Customers are now able to make purchases online," she explains. "Once they step foot into a local shop, they are expecting not just a sales transaction, but a connection with the people behind the counter that gives them an insight or anecdote that could've never happened on an e-commerce site." Artes says shops that go off- roading earn instant credit with like-minded enthusiasts. "It's important so you can see the new trends and what your customer wants to see in your store," he says. "It also helps let the consumer know what your shop is capable of doing." Morosan explains how doing instead of merely telling can build more of a direct connection to off-roaders. "For us, we believe it is impor- tant to show the customer that not only do we know what we are talking about when it comes to Jeeps because it's what we sell on a daily basis, but it's our lifestyle. We understand the challenges that come up on the trails and know the challenges that our customers face while out Jeeping." After all, many buyers come to shops for information as well as the parts. "So, when selling them a product or set- ting up their rig, we know exactly what they need and don't need to help them on their journey. We try to work only the events that people are there to spe- cifically purchase product. For actual trail run events, we like to go and participate in them to better interact with the consumer." RIDING HIGH Shops that participate in the 4x4 lifestyle earn additional trust and credibility with off-roaders looking to make their Jeep one-of-a-kind. 18 THE SHOP MARCH 2018 (Photo courtesy Jeep)

Articles in this issue

view archives of THE SHOP - March '18