Rigg's Outdoor Power Equipment was featured in Rural Lifestyle Dealer's Season-to-Season series. Here's an excerpt highlighting advantages gained from its locations and online parts sales. Read the complete feature.

All four of Rigg’s Outdoor Power Equipment’s stores are located near a university — Valparaiso University, Purdue University, and the University of Notre Dame. Co-owner Geoff Blanco says this is no coincidence. “We wanted to be in areas that weren’t dependent on one single industry,” he explains.

The universities keep enough business flowing through the region that if one industry takes a hit, there are enough others to keep people working and buying equipment. Universities coupled with business industry diversity also brings in a number of customer types for Rigg’s, including construction and landscaping contractors, rural lifestylers, large property owners and some suburban homeowners. Blanco describes the locations of the dealership’s stores as “the intersection of rural and suburban.”

In addition to listing used and new equipment inventory online, Rigg’s has also been selling parts through its website for the last 5 years. The dealership set up its website and ecommerce capabilities through ARI Network Services.

The business coming from the online offering has been somewhat surprising. “When we first started out, we thought our online parts business would mirror our over-the-counter business. It’s actually completely the opposite because you can get a Toro part, a Cub Cadet part, a Kawasaki part from a gazillion different places on the Internet because those parts are a commodity,” Blanco says.

Rigg’s gets more requests for Land Pride, Woods and Hustler parts, and more obscure lines which, Blanco says, are lines that aren’t as popular in different areas of the country. “When someone types in ‘Land Pride,’ we’re more likely to cycle to the first page of the search results than if someone types in Cub Cadet parts because there aren’t as many outlets selling Land Pride parts as there are for Cub Cadet.”

The prices for some parts are lower online vs. in the store because there is less overhead. “We don’t have to pay a person to diagnose the part the customer needs, look up the part, pull the part and do the transaction at the counter. When it comes through our website, the customer has already figured out what it is they need and are buying it. At that point, all we’re doing is taking it out of the bin and putting it on a shelf for pick up or in a box and shipping it,” Blanco says.

Some commercial customers have figured this out and will purchase the piece online and then come into one of our stores to pick it up. “And that’s great for us, too. On a

“We’re used to ordering 500 mowers of a particular brand; you can’t order 500 Kubotas...”

day like today when there are 15 people out there, if we can take 5 people out of the mix, we’re still selling our parts and taking care of customers faster, so customer satisfaction is better at the counter,” he says.

Rigg’s has seen its web traffic continue to grow as consumers do more research and buying on the Internet. “As a result, we’re seeing more ‘click-throughs’ on our used equipment and online parts pages,” Blanco says.