The IDS RV Industry Trends Report is a comprehensive overview of what dealers will be focusing on in 2023. This report compiles insights from surveys, RV industry experts, and hundreds of RV dealers across North America to highlight what dealers can expect in the year ahead.
The Future of Dealership Technology
2023 RV INDUSTRY TRENDS REPORT
FOREWORD FROM THE GENERAL MANAGER
FRANK TAMBURRINI General Manager, IDS
Regardless of what happens throughout the business cycle, technology is a resource that can be leveraged to help you continually improve your customer experience.
If there’s one thing the last few years have reminded us of, it’s that the market can change fast! Sometimes faster than we can imagine. We cannot always predict what’s going to happen but that doesn’t mean we cannot be prepared. We saw a big boom for RV dealers throughout 2021 and even with the industry levelling off this year, one thing is for sure: in 2023, continued focus on giving your customers a better experience is always a wise investment. Regardless of what happens throughout the business cycle, technology is a resource that can be leveraged to help you overcome challenges and help you continually improve your customer experience. How you use technology and where you focus your efforts may just need to shift depending on the circumstances. In this year’s RV Industry Trends Report, we’re excited to give you a glimpse into the dealership of the future—a future that, in many ways, is here. But one question endures at the heart of all this change: what is best for the customer? How can we leverage technology to make even better connections with customers in 2023?
To infinity and beyond!
Table of Contents
1. Changing RV Buyer Demographics 2. Finding Sales Opportunities 3. The New RV Dealership Experience 4. Going Green
5. 360-Degree Security 6. Digging into Dealership Data 7. Where Do We Go from Here?
Changing RV Buyer Demographics
Who loves RVs? Well…everybody! More and more people are getting outdoors and as a result, RV buyer demographics are shifting. Many new buyers are young, tech-savvy, and environmentally conscious. Keeping an eye on new and prospective buyer groups will help dealers identify underserved demographics of new RV buyers, as well as new channels for reaching them. Evaluating your existing marketing strategy will help you identify any gaps that can be filled. Is there another target audience you can reach? How do they prefer to be communicated with? What do they value and how can you transform them from a first- time customer to a customer for life?
A SURGE IN NEW RV BUYERS
There are new RV buyers on the scene. Who are they and how do they travel?
According to a 2022 RMS North America survey, new RV owners are driving camping growth. Many people bought their first RV during the pandemic when travel was restricted, and now they want to get their money’s worth. RMS predicts that the average trip spending in the year ahead will surpass 2019 numbers. Notably, the report found that 48% of travelers plan to spend more time traveling within 300 miles of their homes. COST-CONSCIOUS “NEAR-CATIONERS” With inflation affecting the cost of travel, many RVers are choosing to stay close to home. According to a survey by Harvest Host, 62% of North Americans are planning to take trips to nearby cities, towns and parks; 51% of survey respondents plan on booking camping spots while only 19% of respondents plan on traveling internationally . But that doesn’t mean that travelers are cutting all costs. Americans still want to travel – half of all survey respondents said they are either raising their travel budgets slightly or significantly in the year ahead. Now is the time to get targeted with your marketing. Show your customers all the wonders they can enjoy – right next door.
DIGITAL NOMADS Despite many workplaces reopening in the past year, we’re still seeing buyers interested in the flexibility and freedom that roaming workplaces offer. People want comfortable, mobile offices that they can station in their yards, on a campsite, or out on the open road. There is an opportunity for dealers to target this audience and upsell accessories to make the digital nomad lifestyle easier—like Wi-Fi extenders, workstation extensions, chairs for both working and dining, and so on.
RV BUYERS ARE GETTING YOUNGER
Millennials and Gen X buyers are dominating the market. According to a demographic study by RVIA:
of buyers surveyed were members of the Baby Boomer generation
of buyers were Gen X
of buyers were Millennials (generally aged 26-41)
bought at least one aftermarket part or accessory
bought three or more aftermarket accessories
The median buyer age was 33
Younger buyers have the potential to become lifetime buyers. To attract first-time buyers, dealers should be conscious of best practices when targeting these demographics, including a strong online buying experience, frequent communication, and transparency throughout the sale. Once they’ve won the sale, dealers should focus on their retention strategy to keep those customers coming back.
THE MANY FACES OF CAMPER DIVERSITY Camping is an activity enjoyed by all. But are all campers being represented in RV marketing campaigns, on dealer websites, and in dealer conversations?
non-white ethnicities. Furthermore, according to Kampgrounds of America, Inc. (KOA)’s 2022 Black Community Camping Snapshot, the demand for camping among the Black community has increased by over 158% in the last five years, with one-third of Black campers planning on purchasing an RV . RV dealers should examine if there are any underserved audiences that they can market to.
According to the 2022 North American Camping Report, new campers are more diverse when compared to campers overall, with 54% of new campers self-identifying as non-white . About one in three camper households include people who identify as Hispanic, Black, Asian, or other
WOMEN IN THE RV INDUSTRY
More women are buying RVs and working in the RV industry than ever before. According to a study conducted by Cairn Consulting Group and commissioned by the RV Women’s Alliance (RVWA), 16% more women are employed in the industry than two years ago. An estimated 66% of employers in the RV industry are actively seeking women applicants, and that number increases to 71% for the manufacturing sector .
More women are buying RVs as well. Mobile RVing noted a rising trend of single women taking RVs on the road. And according to the 2021 Go RVing demographic Profile, 46% of Class A motorhome owners are women . What’s more, according to an IDS survey of RV dealers across North America, 65% of respondents cite that between 25-50% of customers at their dealerships are women, and 30% cited between 50-75% .
"In years past, most often the RV purchaser was the husband or a man. This is changing and there are a lot more women RV Owners. There are also a lot more women in the industry as a whole. Ten years ago, the ratio was probably 80-20 now it seems to be more like 60-40”
KIMBERLY SCHULTZ Director of Professional Services at IDS
ANECDOTALLY, WHAT PERCENTAGE OF BUYERS THAT PATRON YOUR DEALERSHIP ARE WOMEN?
Less than 25%
More than 75%
Source: IDS Survey
Finding Sales Opportunities
After a few years of slow inventory fulfillment, many dealers still find themselves in a tough spot. How can they encourage customers to buy new units while maintaining realistic expectations about what can be delivered and when? Not only that, but dealers have had to raise prices because of inflation in 2022, making RVs a harder sell for cost-conscious customers. According to an IDS survey of RV dealers across North America, 85% of respondents cited rising product prices as one of the biggest challenges they expect to face in 2023.
Here are some trends we’re seeing in RV sales.
USE ‘EM AND LOSE ‘EM According to Go RVing, 48% of consumers who purchased an RV through secondhand channels would consider buying the same brand again . Despite this, many dealers may not be seeing as many used RV buyers due to interest rates being higher on used vehicles and used vehicle prices not being much lower than new ones. In some cases, buying used is more expensive than new because the used vehicle is available right away, versus the customer needing to wait six months for a new vehicle. This can lead to an overstock of used vehicles on dealer lots, with existing RV owners wanting to sell their RVs for more than what they paid. Dealers can aim to minimize unit resales by including retention messaging in their marketing, showing the different ways that RV owners can get the most out of their RVs.
“Small, less expensive units will be the biggest movers in 2023 due to the economic challenges.”
FOREST GRECO RV General Store
Ride out this wave, but also have a mitigation strategy for when inventory catches up. Dealers should also watch wholesale book prices to make sure they don’t over-purchase and that their inventory is priced accordingly. Watch used inventory turns in a market where things are expected to start cooling off.
THE PERSON-TO-PERSON RENTALS OPPORTUNITY
According to an IDS survey of RV dealers across North America, 85% of respondents don’t currently offer rental services and don’t plan on adding them in the year ahead. But what about the opportunity for customers to rent out their units?
One way dealers can keep customers in their RVs is by promoting the potential for RVers to turn their vehicles into rental units. Person-to-person platforms like RVEzy are connecting RV owners with vacationers using an Airbnb model. There is an opportunity here for dealers to work with these PTP providers—for example, offering service plans for rental units. Who knows, we may even see dealers acting in property manager roles in the not-too-distant future. There is a lot of untapped potential in the PTP market.
F&I OFFERINGS Parts and labor costs are up, due in part to inflation, and post-sale service agreements and other F&I products are a good opportunity to increase revenue to mitigate those costs. Not to mention, RV financing is easier than it has ever been, with more opportunities to provide customers with flexible payment plans. Loan terms for new and used RVs can extend up to 20 years and the minimum down payment for an RV is typically between 10-20% - meaning more customers who may not have been able to afford to purchase an RV before, now can.
According to an IDS survey of RV dealers across North America, 55% of respondents said they plan on offering more flexible payment plans in the year ahead like loan terms for new and used RVs and service agreements . More narrowly, 27% of Canadian respondents said they are planning on offering bi-weekly payments.
“Compared to the last couple years, traffic to sales in dealership will decline and will be comparable to pre-pandemic levels at best. Traffic to service/parts in dealership will increase compared to previous years. Fixed ops at dealerships will become overly stressed working to be a liaison between customers and manufacturer warranty/service contracts. Trades and used inventory will begin to hit an all-time high over the next couple of years.” BOB SCHOLL Rocky Mountain RV & Marine
A PLACE FOR PRE-PAID MAINTENANCE PLANS
Pre-paid maintenance plans have been a popular offering in the auto industry for a long time. Now, we’re starting to see RV dealers adopt pre-paid maintenance plans at their businesses. There is an opportunity for dealers to set up their customers for success and increase profit margins by selling plans upfront to cover routine maintenance like oil changes, winterization, and de-winterization for the first few years after the unit is purchased.
The New RV Dealership Experience
Over the last decade, technological advancements in the RV industry have lagged behind other industries. But the times, they are a-changing. RV tech is getting smarter, faster, and more efficient. Dealership management system providers like IDS are offering tools to automate processes in all areas of your dealership, from service to sales to parts management. The way customers interact with RV brands is also changing. Customer relationships are the foundation of everything we do, and dealers are adapting their processes and adopting new technology to strengthen their customer relationships.
THE ONLINE EXPERIENCE Lengthy wait times for new RV purchases can make it hard to gain the trust of new buyers. Dealers will also have to work harder to gain that trust in the year ahead. One of the best ways to start the customer journey on the right foot is through your dealership’s online presence.
Generally, Millennials prefer their first interaction with a business to be online. Your website is an important place to differentiate your dealership from others in your area. Show customers everything they need to make a smart purchase- from unit information, to price point recommendations, to proper vehicle maintenance. According to the Power Review Report, almost 80% of consumers sought websites with product reviews in 2021, rising from 63% of consumers in 2018 — so make sure your Google My Business pages and social media
profiles are updated with recent reviews.
Your website is also a primary source for prospective customers to gather information about your products, so they can come to your dealership prepared. But according to an IDS survey of RV dealers across North America, 60% of respondents don’t currently have an online catalog of products . This is a missed opportunity, especially if your competitors offer product information online.
“Related but a little different, managing all the communication channels utilized by consumers today requires significant effort; twenty years ago, a consumer would call, walk-in or maybe e-mail. Now, in addition to the more traditional methods we’ve added texting, online chat, social media messaging and comments, video chat and probably more that I’m missing! A communication strategy is more important today than it ever was before.”
SARAH BAPTISTE CEO at Arrkann Trailer & RV
“For the most part, dealers do not have inventory readily available. As such, consumers are now buying their RVs from product brochures, ordering an RV with several months build time as opposed to several weeks. Dealers have to work harder to establish trust and rapport with customers as the customer is making a large purchase and commitment with an expected wait time of 8-9 months.”
STACEY ROBINSON Dealer Principal at Great Canadian RV
“Originally, when we first had a website, it was just an information page. At the time, we had no idea that it would be where people go to shop. Over time, you start putting your inventory on it so it’s just there and you can tell somebody, go to our website. Well, now, people automatically go to the website–everyone’s shopping online. They look at all the dealer’s inventory, they look at inventory 500 miles away. It’s one of those things that’s really changed the sales part of things over the years.”
JEFF PORTER Owner of Three Way Campers
Read the full interview
THE AUTOMATED CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE If you don’t have a clearly defined customer experience strategy in place at your dealership, it’s a good time to put one in place. Consumers want a seamless experience from the first time they interact with your business (most often online), to when they purchase, and even after. So, it’s a good time to start thinking about having a clearly defined customer experience strategy.
Maintaining frequent and transparent communication with customers through the entire sale and service cycle will be tantamount to winning new business and retaining current customers. This is where Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software comes in handy. It gives dealers the ability to manage a database of customers and maintain frequent communication with each customer using streamlined, automated messaging. There are CRM tools on the market now that integrate with your dealership management system, offering dealership-specific features like alerts when newly added inventory matches a customer’s purchase interest, centralized leads sourced from your website, manufacturers, and other sources, as well as automated updates to customers on repair order statuses and promotional offers. One of the biggest benefits of an integrated CRM is its ability to create a customer footprint throughout the entire dealership. This gives your team better visibility into their interactions with your dealership, so your team can provide them with better service.
WHAT SERVICES PROCESSES WOULD YOU LIKE TO AUTOMATE AT YOUR DEALERSHIP?
Source: IDS Survey
SERVICE AUTOMATION Skilled technicians are still in short supply and in high demand. While there isn’t an easy fix, you can improve your team’s efficiency by automating manual tasks. Automation enables teams to focus on revenue-driving activities during the busy season. What’s more, you can digitize and streamline communication between technicians and your service office, and your service office and parts department by automating service updates and digitizing parts requests. Service automation will help with reducing Repair Event Cycle Time (RECT), which is a key priority for dealers in the year ahead.
HERE ARE SOME WAYS TO AUTOMATE SERVICE AT YOUR DEALERSHIP:
Automated Service Updates Customers want to know what is going on with their unit. If they need to ask, you’ve waited too long to update them. These days, customers expect automated updates on sales and service statuses. Automated service communication tools enable service teams to send real-time text message updates to customers about the status of their unit. In an IDS survey of RV dealers across North America, 60% of respondents cited status updates as one of the areas of service that they would like to automate. Digital Payments During the pandemic, many businesses, including the RV industry, had to update their payment processing system to support online and remote payments. But the convenience of digital payments is here to stay. Many customers expect to receive email or text payment requests and to be able to pay the same way. The added benefit for dealers is that they can easily sync payments with their Account Payables manager in their DMS. Digital Parts Requests Many dealerships still rely on paper request forms. The problem with paper is it needs to be walked to a bin, where it is often left to sit for a while. By digitizing your parts requests, you can send requests right from your mobile device. In an IDS survey of RV dealers across North America, 60% of respondents said they would like to automate parts ordering . Digital Signatures Like digital payments, offering the option to send and have customers sign Work Order documents via email helps create a more convenient, modern customer experience at your dealership. Digitizing signature requests also lends to a more efficient process for your service department—the documents can be synced automatically with your document manager, making it easier to track signatures.
TAKING SERVICE ON THE ROAD WITH MOBILE RV REPAIR Your customer experience has the potential to extend beyond your dealership’s walls. With mobile service software like IDS Service Mobile, teams can access their Work Orders, service schedules, service statuses, and timesheets from anywhere with a cellular or Wi-Fi connection. That means your service team isn’t confined to a workstation or even the service bay—they can take service on the road, right to the customer. This opens a whole new world of possibilities for convenient and timely customer service. According to an IDS survey of RV dealers across North America, only 35% of respondents are currently offering mobile service outside the dealership —so, offering mobile service could be a big differentiator for your dealership.
Consumers nowadays are more environmentally conscious and the popularity of going “off-grid” is growing. But the rising interest in energy-efficient and electric products isn’t driven by altruism alone. Rising fuel prices mean that people may be reluctant to travel far distances and to use vehicles that aren’t fuel-efficient or “green.” This trend is spurring more consumers to consider electric vehicles and energy-efficient lightweight vehicles. Dealers should continue to monitor consumer behavior to see if this trend continues to inspire more people to travel close to home in the year ahead, making electric vehicles a more viable solution.
LEAN, MEAN AND GREEN MACHINES
The electric vehicle (EV) infrastructure is growing with multiple manufacturers introducing EV concepts to the market. In 2022, Winnebago shared their e-RV concept, Thor shared their Vision Vehicle concept, and Airstream shared their eStream travel trailer concept with more manufacturers expected to follow this trend. According to GWI Zeitgeist December 2021, 57% of outdoor enthusiasts are willing to reduce their use of plastic, limit energy use and eat more sustainably while traveling . Additionally, according to Thor’s North American Motorized Electric RV study, 47% of survey respondents said they would use an electric RV at least once every two to three weeks, and some as much as once a week. To drive adoption, manufacturers will need to produce a range of price point models, beyond the luxury options.
ELECTRIC VEHICLE INFRASTRUCTURE To accommodate more EVs, more infrastructure will need to be built at dealerships, campgrounds, and consumer homes. Portable mobile stationary wall boxes are expected to be one of the driving forces of adoption. Offering solar panels and lithium-ion batteries can also help dealers reduce the need for gas-powered generators to power functions of the RV.
to provide charging stations for their businesses.
According to an IDS survey of RV dealers across North America, 90% of respondents are already selling electric features like solar panels, energy-efficient appliances, and electric power sources . In the upcoming years, this will likely become the norm.
Just as Wi-Fi capabilities are a required utility in campgrounds, EV charging stations will become required as well. 50-amp power pedestals are not a solution for re-charging EVs because plugging an EV into a 50-amp pedestal will burn out breakers and receptacles. Dealers will also need
GREENER MANUFACTURING Energy efficiency and other environmentally friendly initiatives may help dealers stand out from the competition. For example, Swedish manufacturer Dometic, crossed a sustainability threshold in 2022 where all of their production facilities in Europe are powered by 100% renewable electricity. Their reduction in emissions is equivalent to about 1000 passenger cars for an entire year. Manufacturers and dealers alike can answer the call for sustainability and demonstrate their plans for longevity by showing their commitment to finding energy-efficient solutions. TRAVELING LIGHT – COMPACT AND LIGHTWEIGHT TRAILERS A more affordable alternative to electric vehicles is compact and lightweight options like teardrop trailers. During the first wave of the pandemic, many people parked small trailers in their driveways or backyard and used them as home office spaces—and even quarantine zones. While these lighter vehicles won’t offer all the same comforts as larger models, they suit shorter-term travelers who want basic amenities. These models are likely to continue being popular choices in the year ahead.
A few decades ago, “theft” meant someone stealing stock from your shop or cash from your till. These days, there’s a lot more that thieves can take from your business—parts, data, identities and, yes, cash. But just as thieves are becoming more sophisticated, so is the technology to safeguard your business from threats in both the real and digital worlds.
PROTECTING YOUR DATA IN THE CLOUD Ransomware attacks increased 300% from 2019 to 2020. According to National Security Agency Director Paul Nakasone, the frequency of ransomware attacks is expected to remain constant, if not increase, in the next five years. One of the top defenses against cyberattacks is cloud server hosting. Moving to a third-party cloud service provider means your system will be protected by their security measures. Cloud providers are responsible for monitoring system security, performing regular backups, and routinely updating the system to protect it against new threats. If a cyberattack were to happen,
hosting backups of your data in the cloud can make it much easier to restore your data. There are some key ways cloud hosting protects your business: • Automatic patching by the cloud provider ensures that your system is up to date to protect against new vulnerabilities. • MFA (Multi-Factor Authentication) within the cloud environment. • Support staff with security training and testing on the latest phishing threats.
“One of the most common questions that people have is, ‘Why do hackers hack me?’ They’ll say, ‘My company is small, I don’t have as much money as them attacking somebody else. Why do they attack my company?’ The answer is most of the time it’s just that you were randomly selected. You were a victim of opportunity. The scammers, the social engineers, are literally sending out tens of millions of phishing emails every day and hundreds of millions of malware programs are trying to break in. On that particular day - if you got hacked - it’s because you, or somebody else around you, accidentally responded to a social engineering email and clicked on a link that you shouldn’t have clicked. Or, you didn’t have your software patched and a malware program came by and tested that particular vulnerability. So, the vast majority of people that are hacked, it really was just random – almost accidental – but they [the hackers] were able to break in.”
ROGER A. GRIMES Data-Driven Defense Evangelist at Knowbe4
DIVERSIFY YOUR NETWORK As more applications migrate to the cloud and issues like security require greater bandwidth, it’s important to consistently evaluate your dealership’s bandwidth requirements. For example, take into consideration the number of users and devices on the network as well as the size of your dealership. Perhaps this means investing in two or more internet providers so your business can operate efficiently.
If you want to improve dealership security, focus on the three main ways that hackers hack, along with a fourth best practice that relates to common attack methods like phishing. DEALERSHIP CYBERSECURITY BEST PRACTICES
1. Mitigate social engineering
Train yourself and your employees on what social engineering looks like. Tools from companies like KnowBe4 can be used to practice spotting fake emails, for example. Some warning signs of potential social engineering attempts include unusual, urgent messages, as well as errors like spelling mistakes. It can get tricky, but it’s generally better to be skeptical about clicking on links and downloading files, even if that means taking a little bit more time to verify the information. For example, you might encourage staff to call you directly if they supposedly get an email or text from you asking them to quickly send over sensitive information to close a deal. Likewise, if someone gets a message allegedly from a company like FedEx or UPS about a delivery, don’t always take that at face value. Call or visit the real company’s website directly (rather than clicking email or text links) to verify the request.
2. Patch internet-accessible software
Another straightforward step to improve dealership security is to keep up with patching internet- accessible software. The good news is that your device will generally tell you when something needs to be updated or will do so automatically. For example, if you have an iPhone, you can enable automatic app updates or go into the App Store to do so manually. But never let a website tell you to patch and take that at face value, warns Grimes. That, or another type of message like in an email, could be a trick. But if your computer itself tells you to patch something like your Windows or Mac operating system, do so, he says.
3. Use MFA/non-guessable passwords
When possible, use multi-factor authentication (MFA) to add another security layer to your login credentials. That could involve steps like receiving a login verification code via text, though keep in mind that you only want to use the code for its intended purpose, rather than accidentally sharing that code with a hacker. Not all sites and systems offer MFA yet, but it’s becoming more prevalent. Even with MFA, it’s important to use strong, unique passwords. Password management tools can help you create random passwords that are hard to crack. Be sure to do your research on any password management tool though to make sure you’re not creating additional risk by storing your passwords there.
4. Learn to spot rogue URLs
Related to social engineering, make sure you and your employees learn how to spot rogue URLs. You don’t want to click on malicious links that end up infecting your computer. Keep an eye out for issues like misspellings in the URL. A website might look legit at first glance, but there could be a one-letter difference that separates a real company’s website from an imposter’s. Also watch out for situations where the real URL is masked, such as in hyperlinked text. Don’t click if you don’t know where that URL will take you.
CATALYTIC CONVERTER THIEVES
Hold on to your catalytic converters! Catalytic converter theft rose more than 325% in 2020 over 2019 and continues to rise. In 2022, the RVDA, NADA, and 11 other industry partners sent a letter to the U.S. House of Energy and Commerce Committee in support of a new bill to combat rising catalytic converter theft. Many dealers have had to hire an armed guard at night and install security cameras.
IS YOUR DEALERSHIP F&I COMPLIANT?
Identity fraud was up 100% in 2021. If your dealership was the last place a customer provided their information, your business could come under fire. F&I continues to be a profit center for dealers but with the influx of sales and service at dealerships, F&I best practices can fall to the wayside.
If you’re using spreadsheets to store private customer information, you’re leaving your business open to security risks. Dealers should be proactive in demonstrating compliance and good faith to customers. Being F&I compliant will not only build customer trust in your dealership but also protect it from legal action. Leverage your dealer management software to keep detailed customer histories and records of communications securely. You can also put security measures in place against identity theft by offering driver’s license scanning at the point of sale.
Digging into Dealership Data
When it comes to leveraging analytics, the RV industry is still about a decade behind the auto industry. However, more and more dealers are seeing the value of analytics for improving profitability and efficiency, projecting more accurate inventory numbers, and planning for the future. Dealership management systems with integrated analytics capabilities are also making it easier to collect and interpret robust data across all areas of the business - including customer histories, service efficiency, profitability, technician productivity, overall dealership productivity, and more.
“It’s important to resist the temptation to ‘work the numbers’ to make them look more favorable. Honest and transparent reporting is necessary to see where the true bottlenecks are in an organization so you can make meaningful investments in improvement.”
ALLISON MILLER Sales Engineer at IDS
RECT IN THE MIND
Since consumer demand is high, reducing Repair Event Cycle Time (RECT) remains a top priority for dealers. In 2022, volunteers from the RVDA Board of Delegates formed a task force to work with their DMS software systems to help improve RECT reporting within those software systems. If you’re not monitoring what’s going on, either within the internal metrics at your dealership or looking at the RECT reports, then you can’t manage it. It’s important to pay attention to every metric that you can at your dealership. Don’t just see how long it takes overall to complete the Work Order. Look for what may be causing any bottlenecks in your repair process.
Here are two of the most common RECT bottlenecks:
Out-of-stock parts increase RECT because of the wait time required for the part to get to the dealership once it’s been ordered. The lead-time to receive the part is increasing due to ongoing supply chain issues. Another issue with parts ordering is that because there are so many RV models, makes, and floorplans, the manufacturer might not even be making parts for a unit that’s more than a few years old. This means dealers are forced to look elsewhere for a part, increasing the amount of time spent servicing the unit.
With warranty coverage, it’s a matter of getting the authorization from the OEM and completing the paperwork to ensure that the authorizations are good for the dealer to get paid for it. However, most of the time, dealers are waiting on manufacturers to authorize them before they can even proceed with ordering the required part. While out-of-stock parts cause some delays, work orders with both Warranty Coverage and Out-Of-Stock Parts have the longest cycle times. Typically, two to three times longer than when just one bottleneck is included.
MEASURE THE RIGHT PERFORMANCE METRICS There are a variety of ways you can use data at your dealership to improve processes, drive more revenue, and meet changes in the market. Here are some ways you can use data to measure and impact revenue at your dealership:
1. Set key performance indicators for your dealership: Track your results in key areas such as total sales, gross margin, revenue per work order, recovery rates, tech efficiencies, etc. 2. Determine the effectiveness of a promotion: Review data from previous years to determine if the current promotion is moving the needle. 3. Review the effectiveness of any new policies or procedures: If you change the intake process for service, and if you have the data, you could continue to monitor it to confirm if it affected the desired results. 4. Forecast based on factual, historical data: Forecasting is not just about gut feeling. Use actual data as the foundation for your forecast. 5. Spot trends early to effect change in business strategies: Having recorded data points over time allows you to spot trends that may have been previously unknown to you and that can directly impact business strategies. 6. Compare your results to your peers: Utilize outside data sources to add real-world context to your decision- making. Compare your results to other similar operations with tools such as the Dealer Industry Insights report or survey statistics.
DON MILLER Senior Data Consultant at Constellation Data Solutions
HITTING THE TARGET WITH DATA-DRIVEN MARKETING Dealers can also leverage the power of analytics for more effective customer management and targeted marketing. Detailed customer data enables dealership sales and marketing teams to develop detailed customer personas based on demographic factors like location, age, gender, and more, as well as buying habits like buyer journey, previous purchases, etc. But beyond the potential for targeted marketing, dealers increasingly need to collect more first and zero-party data using their dealership management systems.
Consumers have become more cautious about sharing their information, which threatens third-party data solutions. It will become more important for dealers to leverage customer data collected through their websites and dealer management systems. By creating digital touchpoints for customers to interact with your brand (ex. an online shopping cart, an email promotion, or a website chat box), you can collect data and utilize it in an impactful way to create a better buyer experience.
WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE?
The RV industry has shown incredible resilience over the last few years, and now dealers have their sights set on the future. We can see that reflected in the bold acquisitions taking place, the surge in new RV buyers, and the creative solutions dealers and manufacturers are coming up with to solve problems every day. Dealers have taken great strides in adopting important technological changes that improve dealership service, security, and sales. The technology is here and improving every day. RV dealers are poised to embrace all the possibilities that automation, analytics, and cloud environments create. This same drive is what inspires IDS to continue to work with dealers to fix service bottlenecks, make more informed decisions, and create better customer experiences. Strengthened by our partnerships with dealers over the last 30+ years in the RV industry, we are dedicated to creating solutions that help dealers seize opportunities and overcome challenges for years to come.
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