12 Volt : Dealerscope Does Dallas
What KnowledgeFest 2012 meant to usOctober 16, 2012 By Brett Solomon
Retailers should be thrilled to see that not only is MERA KnowledgeFest surviving, but it’s thriving. With over 1,000 attendees, it was a great experience to connect with the top retailers in North America and their positive outlook on the industry. However, therein lies the huge conundrum—those retailers who cannot afford to come to KnowledgeFest probably need the lessons learned the most.
Here is something for the retailers who could not attend KnowledgeFest: Although it is our job to distill the information at the show and present it to you, dear readers, consider this: Times are hard. Your shop is struggling. Foot traffic is light. You don’t want to give product away on Groupon. You know that the lady from the Yellowpages who keeps pestering you for a full-page ad is not the way to go. You had to turn away a customer in a 2013 Range Rover Evoque because the dashboard and electronics in the vehicle were too sophisticated and unfamiliar. All of these items, and then some, were addressed at KnowledgeFest.
But, more importantly, the camaraderie of getting together with retailers who are winning is the most uplifting experience. Imagine retailers who just don’t care about the Internet. Sure, they get aggravated when they see the transshipping of the supposedly ‘protected’ lines, but it doesn’t have them up in arms. The reoccurring line I heard at KnowledgeFest over and over was that Amazon and Sonic can’t install—period. No one wants to see a pile of grey-market goods waiting for installation from you in the trunk, but at least that customer can be persuaded to buy from the right source next time. At a fair price. After hearing some retailers describe how they treat a customer’s vehicle, from specific panel racks to safety store panels with bins specifically for fasteners for each panel, why would a customer shop anywhere else?
After all, we’re talking about their second most expensive possession, short of their house. Would you want to have work done in the pseudo-grass via mud-and-dirt in the back of the swap meet or flea market?
Unfortunately for the struggling retailers, a commitment to KnowledgeFest will not just mean getting a few key people to Dallas for a few days. That’s the easy part.