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When the add-ons are seen on-screen, accessory sales rise

David Barkholz
Automotive News | May 31, 2010 - 12:01 am EST
Thanks to an in-store Web tool and some extra sales training, accessory sales at Bob Moran's Acton Toyota in Littleton, Mass., have doubled to about $110,000 a month since September, said Shawnee Wandless, the store's sales manager.

He said the tool, AddOnAuto by izmocar, allows the store to market accessories to car buyers in an easy-to-use, visual way. "We've put accessories in the forefront of vehicle sales, not as an afterthought," Wandless said.

With a couple of mouse clicks, customers can see online how specific wheels, electronics, leather, chrome trim and other accessories will look on the exact vehicles that they intend to purchase.

The program also lists prices and calculates how much the monthly payment will rise if the accessories are wrapped into the vehicle financing.

It's a big leap forward from print or online catalogs that simply show the products alone without showing the parts on a specific vehicle, Wandless said.

As margins shrink on car sales, dealers are trying to find new ways to generate revenue, said David Stringer, president and founder of Insignia Group. Accessory sales are fertile ground, he said. Vendors selling tools similar to Add-OnAuto include Insignia and DealerTrack Chrome Systems.

The auto accessories market has ballooned to about $32 billion annually, and industry data show that 60 percent of vehicle buyers will customize after leaving the showroom, said Mike Martinez, chief marketing officer of izmocars, of San Francisco. But dealers historically have grabbed just 10 to 17 percent of that market, he said.

Getting buyers to consider accessories before signing the paperwork is crucial to upping dealers' take, Martinez said.

All 28 salespeople at Bob Moran's Acton Toyota are trained on the izmocar system, Wandless said. With monthly training and weekly encouragement, each is expected to engage customers in accessory buying throughout the vehicle-selling process, he said.

"The old wisdom is that you never negotiated accessories until the sale was closed," Wandless said. "We don't negotiate the online price, but we do show items to them, and they can pick and choose if they want them."

Acton Toyota sells about 400 new and used vehicles per month, Wandless said. Salespeople are compensated for accessory sales at 10 percent of list price, up to $100, he said. The store pays $1,400 a month for AddOnAuto.

Fitzgerald Auto Malls has put its 13 stores, including 10 in Maryland, on the Insignia system over the past six months, said Larry Branche, director of aftermarket and factory accessories.

The Fitzgerald approach is to present accessories online to vehicle buyers in the several minutes between the time customers agree to a purchase and when they close the deal in finance, he said.

Before Insignia, Fitzgerald Auto Malls saw an average accessory sale of $55 per vehicle, Branche said. With Insignia, the average is $65. Insignia charges $199 per month for the system and up to $899 per day for training on it, Stringer said.

DealerTrack makes ample use of 3D in the electronic catalog it sells to dealers so customers can accessorize vehicles, said R. Philip Fallis, director of operations for emerging solutions at DealerTrack's Chrome Systems division.

Fallis said more than 2,500 General Motors Co. dealers use the product, known as DealerTrack Accessories Solution. The automaker can feed DealerTrack updated factory accessories or prices daily.


The AddOnAuto system by izmocar enables a customer to see how an accessory will look on a vehicle and also computes how the purchase will affect monthly payments

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Tags: SEM, SEO, cars, crm, dealer, dealers, dealerships, facebook, ford, honda, More…ilm, infiniti, internet, leads, lexus, nissan, oem, people, sales, social, subaru, synergy, toyota


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Comment by Clarence U Romero on August 20, 2010 at 12:29pm
Hello Michael,

The problem I see with just showing OEM accessories is that the dealer cannot really compete. Most of the time when you show the aftermarket accessories the dealer will sell more OEM, because an option was given.

When making it a tool that exist in there own software it becomes a product that's not used like many cool tools available in most CRM's.

The way to make accessories work is to make it a separate tool that is shown to customers after the sale, and in service while they wait.

Also remember, when customers are shown something, they want to see how it's going to look on there vehicle. Only having the ability to show some accessories on a vehicle is a little bit of a handicap.

I don't know if youve had a chance to look at Izmo's AOA tool, but it's pretty cool. it has the ability to show all accessories available for any vehicle OEM and Aftermarket. Guranteed to fit, with payments and the ability to ask a customer for more down payment if they reached a limit set by the dealer.
Comment by Michael Benavides on June 1, 2010 at 3:29pm
The OEM Accessory data managed by Insignia (descriptions, part #s, prices & images) is now available to license exclusively through Autodata Solutions as of June 1st.

This will allow the auto portals and dealership service providers ("DSPs"; webdevs, CRM & inventory marketers, especially) to help dealers market Accessories through their own solutions.

Dealer webdevs will create online storefronts with lead generation as a cheap & easy "v1.0" starting platform before online ordering and integration into configurators takes root.

CRMs will create online and offline Accessory campaigns to existing dealership customers and begin integrating them into pre-sale marketing systems quickly thereafter as noted by Mr. Martinez.

Inventory marketers will append Accessory content into new & used vehicle online listings where consumers can become exposed to in-dealer accessorization options early in the process.

Intended use on 3rd part auto portals is obvious, but the business model is a bit more complex. They will have the option of merchandising Accessories on their site to yield a combination of OEM ad dollars and lead-gen, but there is another interesting option. They can choose to partner with a limited number of dealers that will act as nationwide order shippers, which should net portals a greater portion of the sale and assure adequate product visibility on such sites. Add OEM ad dollars on top of that and you have the perfect intersection of consumer awareness and lucrative accessory sales for any media company that wants to get involved in a completely underrepresented automotive profit center.

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