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Pros Weigh In On Growth Opportunities At SEMA Show 2016

Where else can you spend four days wowed by outrageous custom vehicles and celebrity appearances, as well as rub shoulders with more than 2,400 exhibiting manufacturers and 60,000-plus domestic and international buyers? The SEMA Show, of course!

As the premier automotive specialty products trade event in the world, SEMA provides retailers and restylers with the convenience of having many industry influencers under one roof and the freedom to explore those brands without an obligation to purchase on site.

Aftermarket manufacturers and OEMs are eager to woo attendees with vehicles and products that showcase excellence in engineering, fabrication, and design, and they spare no expense unveiling the next generation of innovative concepts. In fact, more than 2,500 newly introduced parts, tools and components will be on display in the New Products Showcase this year. These benefits lie at the feet of attendees as means to bolster sales, profit, diversification and relationship-building opportunities throughout the year.

So it goes without saying that a retailer or restyler’s attendance offers many benefits that far exceed a few days on the Show floor. Ron DiVincenzo, general manager of Cap World in Melrose, Mass., urges people to attend the SEMA Show with a sense of purpose. “Be ready to engage. Otherwise, you will wander the Show floor aimlessly in awe of everything you see. Vegas is a fun town, but don’t forget why you are there. Use this as a time to network with your peers, and be a sponge, soaking up everything you possibly can,” he said.

Keystone Automotive Operations -- the leading and largest wholesale distributor of specialty aftermarket parts and equipment in North America -- is a proud SEMA member and Show exhibitor for more than 20 years. To provide retailers and restylers with some veteran guidance and words of wisdom while attending the SEMA Show, Keystone teamed up with a few seasoned industry professionals. Here’s what they had to say.

 

Speaking From Experience

Kathryn Reinhardt, MagnaFlow marketing manager and 2015 SEMA Person of the Year

- The New Products Showcase is a great place to start. This is where all the manufacturers dream of winning the best new product of the year and hope to impress buyers with the next best thing.

- Attend the manufacturers’ press conferences, which are no longer just for press. Get the inside scoop, witness car unveilings and hear about new products and new partnerships.

- Consider going to the LTAA media day on Monday, Oct. 31, (open to registered media only) to see some of the top manufacturers’ products before the show even begins. It’s an ideal time to have those one-on-one talks that sometimes can’t happen on the Show floor.

- Attend after-hours events! Tuesday, Nov. 1 is the YEN reception, Wednesday is the LTAA reception and Thursday is the SEMA Banquet. All are sponsored by SEMA with drinks and food, and all are prime places to meet rising stars in the industry.

 

Ryan Herman, executive VP, Extang, TruXedo, Advantage Truck Accessories, Retrax and BAK

- Each retailer and restyler should take stock in his or her business and be perceptive of new opportunities to grow. What areas are doing well? What areas could use help? Are there any new trends to consider?

- Once pen is to paper and there is a set plan for attending, then make sure to review the itinerary carefully. Really consider the companies that are most important to visit and be sure to allow enough time to talk to the right people.

- Pack a snack when taking time to visit the New Products Showcase -- there are an awful lot of great products to see!

- Consider bringing an empty suitcase to hold all of the materials gathered during the Show, or bring some pre-printed FedEx or UPS forms and envelopes to ship the materials home/to the store each evening.

- Bring plenty of business cards and be sure to collect just as many from those you meet along the way!

 

Maximizing Your Show Experience

George Lathouris, director of U.S. sales, Keystone Automotive Operations

- Get on the SEMA Show website and make sure to identify who is an absolute must, to connect with and where the companies are located. Then schedule appointments accordingly by hall to ensure face-to-face time with those most important to your business. This approach avoids wasting precious time walking back and forth between North, South and Central Halls.

- Spend time at the OE manufacturers’ booths to see what platforms they are focusing on and how that affects the aftermarket and a shop’s future business.

- Swipe the SEMA Show (buyer) card to have manufacturers send catalogs after the Show -- carrying all those books can slow anyone down.

 

Kevin Krieg, owner, S&K Speed Racing Equipment, Lindenhurst, NY

- Think about the business goals for attending the Show and stick to the priorities.

- Consider taking a few people, so everyone can spread out and cover as much ground as possible individually. Assign specific tasks to everyone attending within the group and don’t stay at one place too long.

- Plan to be at the Show from day one through the very end -- from the time the doors open until closing in order to maximize the exposure.

- Avoid the Vegas temptation of late nights and drinking at the casinos. Everyone is here to do business -- be ready to strike early, meet up with current vendors to put names with faces, and be open to new things, new lines and new people (to help grow your business).

 

Charlie Card, owner, Vehicle Accessories Inc., Flint, Mich.

- Map out all appointments via the SEMA Show floor plan or the app to maximize time spent on the floor and minimize the time spent walking -- wear good walking shoes!

- Go to the receptions that match up to your business (LTAA, PRO, WTC, etc.). Get involved and meet people who know the industry.

- Don't discount the importance of training classes and seminars.

- Failing to consider crossover products will cost any shop additional business. Being open to diversification doesn’t mean changing one’s core competency -- just complement it!

 

Additional Facts

According to SEMA:

80% of attendees are primarily interested in seeing new products.

78% of attendees want to ignite ideas.

72% of attendees are set on keeping up with trends.

60 percent and 65 percent of attendees respectively want to connect with existing customers or seek new vendor partnerships.

 

What Keystone Is Up To At SEMA

Visit the Keystone team and its affiliate booths for a chance to win a prize!

Keystone Automotive Operations: Central Hall, Booth 21249

FX Products: South Hall, Booth 34091

FX Vehicle: Outside South Hall, Space 542

Coast to Coast: South Hall, Booth 33091

 

Recent Articles

Keystone Welcomes RideTech

EXETER, PA – Keystone Automotive Operations, Inc. welcomes RideTech, one of the world’s largest aftermarket suspension companies, to its performance category. RideTech, formerly known as Air Ride Technologies, was founded in 1996 when owner Bret Voelkel, now a member of the SEMA Hot Rod Industry Alliance (HRIA) Hall of Fame, developed an air ride suspension for a 1970 Ford Mustang project car.

RideTech has since evolved into an industry-leading company with a full line of products, from air suspension systems, coil overs, and shock absorbers to coil and leaf springs, control arms, sway bars, and much more. Serving a variety of applications from street to track, RideTech is committed to manufacturing high-quality parts that display cutting-edge performance, durability, and reliability. “We do the research and development, CAD drawings, prototyping, CNC machining, CNC tube bending, jig welding, shock assembly and dyno, air spring crimping and burst testing, and final assembly all within our facility in Jasper, IN,” says the company.

Dedication to in-house quality control has allowed RideTech to become a performance suspension specialist, with a virtually non-existent backorder rate and decidedly competitive warranty. The company stands behind all of its shock absorbers with a 1,000,001-mile warranty as proof that RideTech truly “goes the extra mile.” Furthermore, RideTech promises that any driver who expires their RideTech shock warranty, “will get a picture of themselves and their car in a full-page ad in Hot Rod Magazine.”

“Our business model has not been derived from any business seminar or book,” says the company. “It is simply our common-sense approach to give the customers what they want, when they want it. Since we are (a staff of) hot rodders, we feel we have a reasonably good idea what ‘it’ is.”

At the 2018 SEMA Show, RideTech introduced several new product launches, including a new line of sway bars that offer unparalleled dimensional accuracy and bar rate consistency. Featuring 100% in-house CNC-bent tubing, the new sway bar program also employs investment casting technology to redesign bar ends and end links for more durability and easier installation. RideTech also debuted an all-new billet modular spindle design for C5/C6 Chevrolet Corvettes (as seen on the company’s race-winning Track 1 C5 Corvette), and a new, larger rod end and weld-on bearing known as the R-Joint XL.

Looking forward, RideTech continues to invest in R&D and expand its engineering department resources, making its innovative suspension systems more durable and technologically capable. The company’s RidePRO-X Digital Air Suspension Leveling System made an encore appearance at SEMA 2018 to debut its innovative new smartphone app that provides greater custom calibration and increased accuracy. In addition, RideTech is active outside the automotive aftermarket, diversifying its portfolio with OEM, marine, and military applications.

With a dedicated team focused on product development and customer satisfaction, backed by a true passion for hot rodding, RideTech is working hard to secure another generation of exciting suspension systems. “RideTech is the leader when it comes to performance suspension system upgrades. The complete systems give our customers the ability to make one purchase for everything they need to fully upgrade a suspension system,” says Joe Rutledge, Director of Category Management for Performance at Keystone. “Our team is honored to be able to offer the RideTech product line to our customers.”

Keystone is the leading distributor and marketer of automotive aftermarket products and services, uniquely positioned to offer customers and suppliers substantial scale, the most comprehensive inventory selection in the industry, high levels of customer service, and innovative marketing support. Keystone is committed to expanding its offerings to meet the ever-growing needs of its customer base, providing them what they need, when they need it most.

NTP-STAG’s Pre-Cart Functionality Makes Preparing for EXPO Easier Than Ever

Exeter, PA – One of the most important things a dealer can do before they attend NTP-STAG’s EXPO, is prepare. “Over the past several years we have integrated technology solutions into our trade show to make it easier for our customers to maximize their time on the show floor with us and take advantage of all the special offers we provide,” states John Spaulding, Director of Events and Communications. “Early preparation and utilization of these new tools can really improve a customer’s experience at the show,” he adds.

The company found that dealers who reviewed their purchase histories, took stock of their inventory and forecasted their demand for certain products before the show typically had more time to visit with suppliers about new lines and learn about new products and services offered by NTP-STAG. “Our Pre-Cart option within VIA allows our customers to get a head-start on building their show orders. The functionality is available now, giving everyone attending EXPO plenty of time to develop a buying plan for when they are with us in Nashville January 22-23,” says Fred Petrivelli, VP Sales NTP-STAG.

NTP-STAG’s pre-cart works just like an e-commerce shopping cart. Customers can add items to the pre-cart by selecting the Add-to-Expo Cart button available on product list and product detail pages within VIA. Pre-cart contents can be modified at any time and show pricing will appear on those items at the opening of the show.

EXPO attendee can also use the Pre-Show Upload tool available in the EXPO site. The Upload tool uses a simple Excel file format that allows customers to build their show buy and upload directly into a pre-cart. This is extremely helpful for customers that use their point of sales software to output usage reports. The information those reports generate can now be easily translated into a shopping cart making it much faster to build an order.

To see a quick tutorial about Pre-Cart go to Expo Precart Tutorial to learn more.

Technology advancements have also influenced how orders are placed at the show. Electronic ordering was introduced at EXPO two years ago, and is fast becoming the most popular way to submit orders. “Dealers are realizing that the time savings, order accuracy and other benefits associated with the technology makes the order writing process easier, faster and more enjoyable,” says Spaulding. “We use a bring-your-own-devise-and-data approach to our web-based solution and found that it is easier for people to use equipment they are familiar with. If it can connect to the internet, it can be used to place orders at the show.”

NTP-STAG EXPO is the industry’s largest warehouse distributor sponsored event. It draws attendees from across North America and features educational programming, exhibits from over 200 suppliers, season-best buying opportunities and a variety of networking functions. The event is being held January 22-23 at the Gaylord Opryland Resort in Nashville, TN. To learn more about the event or pre-cart ordering, customer should contact their sales representative or visit expo.ntpstag.com.

NTP-STAG Expo 2019 Show App Available Now

Exeter, PA - NTP-STAG has announced the launch of the 2019 Expo Show App and its availability to download from the Apple Store and Google Play.

EXPO QR Code

The App is the Expo attendee’s gateway to real time information about the show.  Users will gain access to the show agenda, RV University schedule and PRO Seminar speakers and topics. Additionally, the App provides an interactive floor plan to make finding suppliers easier and live updates for notifications on prize drawing winners, Power Hours and much more. It’s simple to use and a very handy tool to get the most out of the Expo experience.

Getting the App is easy.  Go to https://guidebook.com/g/ntpstagexpo19

1. Tap the "Download" button to download the free Guidebook app
2. Open Guidebook and you can find our "NTP-STAG Expo 2019" guide
3. Tap "Enter passphrase" and enter ntpstagexpo19 to download our guide

Whether EXPO is the largest RV distributor sponsored event in North America. RV Dealers, Service Centers and Mobile Repair businesses are attracted to EXPO for the education and buying opportunities the event provides.  This year’s show will host 36 technical product and business development seminars at RV University. The exhibit hall will be home to nearly 200 suppliers showcasing new items, a model store and NTP-STAG exclusive marketing and merchandising offers. The season’s best deals await NTP-STAG’s customers at EXPO and the new Show App makes getting the most out of the event, easy.

NTP-STAG is the leading full service distributor and marketer of aftermarket RV products and services, uniquely positioned to offer customers and suppliers substantial scale, experienced associates, the most comprehensive inventory selection in the industry, high levels of customer service, and innovative marketing support. NTP-STAG is committed to expanding its offerings to meet the ever-growing needs of its customer base, providing them what they need, when they need it.

Keystone Automotive Launches New Mobile App

Exeter, PA Keystone Automotive Operations, has launched a new mobile app that puts the power of their industry best “eKeystone” business-to-business system into any device and makes it mobile! “Access to information when and where a person needs it was a fundamental consideration in the building of our app for mobile devices,” states Harneet Kaur, Director of Marketing at Keystone. “Fast, convenient and thoughtful access to data, tools and sales resources that make our customer’s lives better and more productive was the objective and the result we achieved,” she added.

Shop owners are often in front of the counter, out in the parking lot looking at a customer’s vehicle, making a dealer sales call, or in the shop working on a vehicle build. This app gives them the flexibility to access eKeystone tools anywhere they work.

“In addition to being able to access all the power and resources available on eKeystone, it goes even further. One of the new features is VIN Lookup which has been on our desired feature list for a long time” states Fred Petrivelli, Vice President of Sales at Keystone. The app harnesses mobile device technology including voice-to-text capability to allow users to search for products simply by saying a category or brand, and utilizes the camera to scan QR, UPC and vehicle VIN numbers and VIN barcodes. This scanning capability takes the mobile app from a retail sales driver to a store management tool for inventory control and other store functions like pricing, labels and ordering.

eKeystone App Barcode and VIN Scanner

The eKeystone app includes all the proprietary data in Keystone’s B2B system. Subscribers can access 800k+ cataloged SKUs, 400k images, 20k videos, 40k installation instructions, and more. “When you put a tool like this to work in a live business environment the possibilities for improving customer service and sales are endless,” explained Petrivelli.

Whether the app is used to scan a vehicle VIN to help identify accessories appropriate for that vehicle, place an order, track a shipment or upsell accessories in a car lot, car show or event, it will prove to be a powerful sales tool that can be taken anywhere.

The app is now available for download on the iTunes App Store and Google Play and immediately available to existing Premium eKeystone users. Once loaded onto a user’s device the app is activated using the customer’s eKeystone account login information.

For more information contact a Keystone Automotive Operations customer service associate at (800) 521-9999.

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