Industry insiders are continuing the discussion about how customers can be allies for dealers against big box competition in a Linkedin group for Outdoor Power Equipment Dealers and Suppliers.

Here are a few highlights:

  • “The big box stores are enemies but a friend to the dealer in the OPEI. Online sales have crunched us right out of the parts business. How can a dealer profit 20% and stay in business. We can't. We need to concentrate on what the Internet can't offer to keep profits at a sustainable level...” Don S.

  • “I believe that the large mass merchants are the dealers’ friends for service. I believe that the typical consumer shops at the box stores because it is easy. Parking is better than the typical dealer. Generally, there is a stoplight to help the customer merge into traffic and the hours are favorable. Until the dealer wants to offer some of those things, it might be tough to beat them...” John H.

  • “Having been in and out of the industry for many years, the big box stores are only part of the problem. A much bigger problem is the consolidation at both manufacturing and distribution levels, and the treatment of dealers, especially small ones. The offloading of support costs onto dealers, ever larger minimum orders, bigger minimum ‘annual’ orders, shorter terms, smaller discounts, lack of off-line parts look-up without pricey third party software, and ‘protected’ distributor territories, which are illegal to offer the dealers, make survival in the industry nearly impossible...” J. Matthew G.

Check out the complete discussion and add your thoughts.