Keystone News

A One-Stop Shopping Experience For Truck Accessory Jobbers

Let The BIG Shows Begin

Forty years is a long time to remain relevant. For Keystone Automotive Operations, the leading and largest wholesale distributor of specialty automotive parts in North America, decades of longevity in a dynamic industry can be attributed to four Ps: partnerships, products, performance, and personnel.

Keystone has learned a few things during its impressive history. Never lose sight of your core business; master the fundamentals that keep your doors open; practice integrity in all that you do, resulting in meaningful, long-lasting partnerships; and invest in the right personnel to produce quality results. Those values, ever present during the days of legendary racer and company founder Joe Amato, are still revered and practiced today.

Capitalize On A Growing Market

The Keystone BIG Shows are a representation of these quality characteristics, bringing together three of the strongest forces responsible for helping to shape the aftermarket, with the end result of stronger relationships, growth and prosperity:

• A passionate manufacturing community dedicated to product innovation
• Business-savvy retailers and restylers looking to capitalize on aftermarket opportunities to drive sales
• A trusted distribution partner committed to delivering on consumer demand and providing customers what they need when they need it, so they can close the sale.

The specialty automotive equipment market has grown from 7.2 billion to 36.2 billion, a staggering 500 percent over the past 25 years. And there are no signs of stalling — analysts forecast an upward trend through 2018. As a business owner in a mature and expanding industry now is the time to invest in your future. And there’s no better way to ring the cash register than at the Keystone BIG Shows. The first show is slated for February 20 at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in the nation’s capital. The Gaylord Texan in Dallas will host the BIG Show on March 5. Together, the events serve as the largest wholesale only buying opportunities.

All aftermarket segments are represented, giving every kind of customer a chance to gather, share market intelligence and receive a customized business-building experience in a more intimate setting with hands-on product demos and education, as well as appealing purchasing incentives to bolster profit potential. There’s something for everyone, from speed, restyling and truck accessory shop owners to Jeep® specialty installers and more.

“The BIG Shows are the single most important days of the year, not only for Keystone but also for our suppliers and our customers. It’s the only time we are all in the same place at the same time with the opportunity to really help each other grow,” said Eric Fairchild, Keystone’s director of north east sales and U.S. customer support. “It is the perfect storm of opportunity: teaching, learning, communicating, building relationships, investing in your business and more. The BIG Shows are unmatched within the industry,” he added. “They give the supplier and jobber the opportunity that SEMA intends to offer, but with a more personalized approach and the added benefit that you can buy what you see. Regardless of business size, you can’t afford not to be there.”

Rolling Out The Red Carpet

Corby Phillips, national sales manager at Warn Industries, has been attending the shows for eight years. “Warn’s two biggest selling seasons are spring and fall. The BIG Shows are the perfect time of year, giving the jobber an opportunity to see our new products and prepare for the hobbyists and hunters to come out of hibernation for spring sales,” said Phillips. “The combination of warming weather and tax returns create an ideal scenario for the jobber to make the sale in the following 30-90 days.”

WEATHER GUARD® has been exhibiting at the BIG Shows since 2009, witnessing them outgrow the Secaucus and Atlantic City, N.J., venues. “This year marks our sixth consecutive year as the primary sponsor of the BIG Show West in Dallas,” said Mike Katz, national sales manager. “The BIG Shows always give us a fast start to the year, allowing us to showcase new products, launch exciting promotions and offer crazy, tough-to-pass-up, one-day show deals, so jobbers can stock up heading into the season.”

Products Showcase and enjoy a reception sponsored by Pendaform™ the night before the show. “The showcase offers customers a focused look at a variety of new products on display across all aftermarket segments," said Tim Williams, VP of sales and marketing. “It’s a great opportunity to see what new items can directly benefit your business or complementary items you may not have considered that can diversify your offerings and increase your growth potential. “On a personal level,” continued Williams, “I really love the ability to get in front of the customers, educate them about our product and talk about current trends, as well as throw out some great programs and promotions for them to take advantage of.” Hint, hint… they’ve been known to give away a truck or two!

Talk shop with your favorite manufacturers and be introduced to a variety of new lines that can kick your business up a notch. Take advantage of enticingly deep deals, promotions and giveaways, allowing you to stock up on your fastest-moving items and new products at a lower price. That means more built-in margin for you and increased profits upon closing the sale. And, you’ll be rubbing shoulders with fellow enthusiasts and industry celebrities. Chip Foose, Vic Edelbrock, Richard Rawlings and Brian Deegan have been known to stop by — just to name a few.

Keystone has managed to combine an engaging atmosphere, great events and, most importantly, business-building opportunities effectively. This gives attendees a one-stop shopping experience that is sure to wow and deliver long-term results. “We want to be part of the process to really help our customers market themselves as a local source for new and innovative products,” said Larry Montante, Keystone’s VP of category management.

So what’s in store for 2016? “Well, you’ll have to come out and see us! You can plan on a lot of excitement, entertainment, celebrity meet-and-greets, prizes, cash giveaways and more. It’s a perfect time of year to see new products and talk one-on-one with the manufacturing experts — all while having fun!” said Melissa Holland, Keystone events manager. “We’re committed to making the shows bigger and better every single year. It’s truly a team effort to ensure customers have a fantastic experience, and we certainly have the right people to make that happen.”

But Don’t Just Take Our Word For It — Take THEIRS!

PendaForm’s Williams couldn’t agree more. “In one spot, you have all of the people that make the products, distribute the products and sell the products—all those who help you make money. It’s a one-day show that makes that BIG of a difference. “You have to figure out a way to break away from the shop for a day”’ he added, “because it’s entirely possible you can meet someone and see, learn or buy something so important that it equates to 10 times more than you can sell in your shop that day. What you learn and see, and have the ability to purchase at the price being offered, can make a huge impact. It’s an investment in your future.”

For three veteran showgoers, breaking away from the shop has made all the difference. “We have two showrooms and install everything we sell,” said Glen Smith, general sales manager at BlackJack SpeedShop. “We work on a variety of vehicles, including Jeeps, trucks, modern muscle and even hot rods. I’ve attended the BIG Shows four or five times. It’s beneficial to meet the vendors and actually see the product and take advantage of deals, especially lines like Warn that go deeper at the show just for those attending. It’s a hands-on experience for us.”

Added Chris Schexnider, Classic Tint’s general manager: “Our core business is window tint and bedliners, but we’ve seen a big uptick in truck accessories. I’ve been attending the BIG Shows for four years. Our favorite part is being able to meet the vendors, see the new products and displays, keep up with what’s happening in the market and take advantage of the deals. Last year, we stocked up on WeatherTech® liners and UnderCover Flex. Also, I consider my relationship with my Keystone sales rep more like a friend.”

Access to new products, vendor interface and new-business opportunities are key reasons to attend, noted Jeff Hanks, VP at Cap and Hitch. “Our business is installs and truck accessories. I attended my first BIG Show in ’08. It’s great to talk with the manufacturers and put names with faces. Our favorite aspect is the New Products Showcase, and there are a lot of deals and promotions. We stock up on the small stuff, and Karen Liedel (Keystone sales associate) points us in the right direction of how to diversify our business.”

Quick Quiz

Where can shop owners across every aftermarket segment gather to meet with the industry’s top manufactures, discuss current trends, learn about new lines, see new products post-SEMA Show, and have a trade show experience that will increase their revenue? The Keystone BIG Shows, of course.

So be sure to: • Book early for best hotel rates
• Keep reservation and registration info handy
• Check parking structure height restrictions affecting raised vehicles
• Schedule time with your Keystone sales associate
• Download the BIG Show app to keep track of schedules
• Grab a floor plan to map out your day
• Check out show sponsors WEATHER GUARD and ReadyLIFT®
• Visit the Keystone booth for business-building tools and your top manufacturers
• Diversify with new product lines
• Attend the New Products Showcase and Customer Appreciation Receptions to enjoy great food and mingle with manufacturers, colleagues and the Keystone team
• Place orders early and often. Big Show deals are one-day specials — no exceptions
• So if you find a steal, BUY IT! STOCK IT! SELL IT!

 

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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