Each winter a familiar pattern occurs; consumers located in colder reigons pack up boating equipment and move their vessels into storage, leading to a seasonal decline in consumer visits and sales. While the downtime can cause concern among boating dealers, the slower pace provides an opportunity for business improvement. To draw in consumers during the colder months and increase customer satisfaction rates and revenue, dealers can consider applying one or more of the following strategies.
A Strong Social Media Presence
Social media platforms continue to influence and reshape consumers' online path to purchase journey. According to a 2017 report by Global Web Index, “94 percent of online adults now have an account with at least one social media platform, while on a global scale, internet users engage with social for a daily average of over two hours.”
Utilizing social media accounts such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest, Instagram and a company blog can expand a brand’s reach and place its products in front of consumers year-round.
To gain success from social media, boating dealers are advised to identify a target audience, set specific goals, establish an editorial calendar, regularly post content, actively monitor all social media accounts and respond to comments in a timely manner. Consumers prefer brands that are honest (86 percent), friendly (83 percent), helpful (78 percent), funny (72 percent) and trendy (43 percent) on social media, a 2017 consumer survey by Sprout Social reports.
With YouTube and Pinterest dominating DIY content, dealers can dedicate these channels to step-by-step tutorials and educational posts such as boating safety. On Facebook, companies could share its latest YouTube tutorials, special offers and provide information on products and services. “Instagram-worthy” photos of merchandise on Instagram can catch the eyes of consumers, leading to an increase in brand recognition and interest. On Twitter, brands could create polls, share industry news and feature store products. In the off season, dealers can keep the brand on consumers’ minds by posting content regarding summer boating plans and preparation.
To make the sale, employee product knowledge is essential. Optimize downtime by conducting refresher training sessions on store merchandise, customer service techniques and the company mission and values. Train staff in different departments, consider joining an association and or complete continuing education courses. Enhanced skills and knowledge can inspire more successful off-season marketing campaigns, improve customer service and grow winter sales.
Meeting Consumer Needs
To increase foot traffic and sales, boating dealers can meet consumers’ seasonal needs. Help consumers prepare for summer through boating safety education, de-winterization guides and product recommendations. Dealers can share the information via social channels, store displays, an e-newsletter, the company blog and or advertising channels. From basics to new gadgets, a few key points to cover include vessel safety checks, new and top selling products, standard de-winterization products and connecting via the company e-newsletter, blog and social channels.
Year-Round Success for Boating Dealers
From building the brand online to a well prepared staff, effective winter marketing strategies can boost sales and encourage consumer visits year-round. To ease consumer payment concerns, boating dealers can implement one or more of CrossCheck’s top payment processing services. CrossCheck is a leading check processing company with over 30 years of experience and an A-plus rating from the Better Business Bureau (BBB).
Our Multiple Check service provides customers with additional time to fund purchases without using or applying for credit. Consumers take products home on the sale date by writing 2 – 4 checks that are deposited by merchants over a 30-day period. Meanwhile, merchants confidently accept checks knowing that CrossCheck guarantees the funding of each deposit. Download our free guide to learn more.