We sat down with Debra Fredrickson, director of marketing with Alex Power Equipment (2019 Dealership of the Year), and got her thoughts on key factors currently impacting the rural lifestyle market, some of the most innovative equipment that’s hit the market in the last 10 years and what she sees as the next big innovations to come in the next decade. She also shares her outlook for the outdoor power equipment market in 2021.
Rural Lifestyle Dealer: What key factors are currently driving buying habits in the market?
Fredrickson: Key factors that have driven buying habits in our market is a very strong new construction environment. Builders, landscapers, and building sub-contractors had a great year with little sign of slowing into 2021. Also, customers that are not able to vacation as they have in the past have chosen to work on home projects, work on food plots, added gardens, as well as snowbirds that chose not to go south for the winter needed to purchase equipment to handle snow removal.
RLD: What product innovation do you foresee in the next 10 years?
Fredrickson: I see electric tractors and construction equipment making their way into the U.S. market.
RLD: What’s your outlook on the outdoor power equipment market for this year and beyond?
Fredrickson: I think 2021 will be a good year as long as we are able to keep inventory. I think the economy may catch up to us in 2022 plus the cost of steel.
RLD: What keeps you up at night?
Fredrickson: Worrying if our vendors will be able to ship enough products to fulfill our order needs this next year. 2020 was rough for inventory and customers, although understanding, are frustrated with wait times for parts and whole goods.
RLD: What is one bit of advice that you’d give the younger version of yourself just getting started in the business?
Fredrickson: I would tell the younger version of myself to never be afraid to say, “I don’t know.” A good salesperson should always admit when they don’t have the answer. No one has all the answers.
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