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FOCUS – eBay Helps Dealers Move Merchandise

March 16, 2005
Filed under Features

INDIANAPOLIS— So, Bunky, you say you’ve got a room full of used bikes, a couple of crates of non-currents and a boatload of old parts and accessories gathering dust in the back room?
And worse than the mess is the amount of cash you’ve got tied up in the stuff?
And your accountant keeps hounding you about the drag on your bottom line all that old stuff is causing?
And your factory friends won’t help clean up the mess because most of the stuff is obsolete?
So, what do you do now, Bunky?
Well, you might want to contact eBay Motors, one of the fastest growing marketplaces for powersports equipment.

HIGH TECH SELLS OLD BIKES
Curtis Kroeker is in charge of the powersports segment of eBay Motors and he conducted several seminars for dealers at the Dealer Expo.
His main point: You can get rid of old and obsolete equipment using the most up-to-date marketing tool in the world, eBay Motors’ Internet store.
Never tried the Internet? Why start now? Three main reasons, says Kroeker:
– Reach. 10 million unique visitors come to eBay Motors each month, and they’re the kind of people dealers want. According to Kroeker, the typical visitor is male (about 75%), has an income of $80,000, and is 39 years old.
– Inventory Turns. eBay Motors is more than a classified ad, it’s a transaction vehicle. The goal of a classified ad is to drive traffic into a dealership. The goal of an eBay listing is to sell an item.
– Economical. It costs only $30 to list a powersports machine or small percentage of the selling price of parts, accessories and apparel, based upon a sliding scale.
A fourth reason might be that it’s pretty easy to get registered, post your inventory, sell the items and collect the money.
For example, two Web site providers, Powersports Network (PSN) and 50 Below, are so-called “certified providers” for eBay. That means they can easily move your inventory listing from your Web site to the eBay Web site.
PSN was the first eBay provider to focus on the powersports industry. PSN’s package includes an easy-to-use process that allows dealers to quickly upload information on vehicles, parts, accessories and apparel to eBay.
PSN also enables dealers to upload photos and specs so that the eBay listing carries maximum impact with the viewer.
The same product listing, then, can be carried on the dealer’s Web site, the PSN portal and eBay Motors. For details, visit powersportsnetwork.com.
50 Below also helps dealers upload inventory to eBay. Information on this service can be found at powersportswebtools.com.

ANOTHER REVENUE STREAM
eBay provides another revenue stream for dealers because it helps sell items that haven’t moved and it enables dealers to accept trade-ins that previously they might have rejected.
“Dealers like certain trades, but not others,” points out Kroeker, often depending upon what they feel they can sell in their local market. “Dealers can have trouble moving a used bike. This gives them an opportunity to expand their reach; it gives them an opportunity to take all grades, even if it doesn’t fit their customer profile. Some of our dealers now will literally take anything in trade.”
While used bikes are good items to sell on eBay, new non-currents sell well, also. “We don’t recommend that dealers sell new inseason inventory on eBay,” says Kroeker. This approach helps maintain dealer territories and reduces the development of national dealerships, an area of growing concern for some OEMs and dealers.
However, most machine sales actually do take place across state lines, according to eBay analysis. During the period from October 2004 through February 2005, 77% of motorcycle sales took place across state lines.That is, the buyer was in one state and the seller was located in another.
This can cause difficulties in several areas, say some business leaders. First, there is no way to ensure that the buyer is qualified to ride the bike. It’s much easier to match the buyer to the machine when you’re talking face to face.
Second, the dealer loses any chance to upsell the buyer on accessories or apparel. And if the buyer is located in another state, he’s unlikely to ever visit the dealer’s store, so there won’t be any future PG&A or service revenue.
Third, it can disrupt the system of local market areas, especially with interstate sales.
Fourth, there may be liability issues involving machine preparation and customer training.
Kroeker says he would welcome the opportunity to meet with OEMs collectively to discuss these issues and concerns.

SHOULD YOU USE eBAY?
That depends on your operation. First, you’ll have to have an employee assigned to handling the business. Then, the best way to begin is by selling small parts, accessories and apparel, because buyers are more likely to pop for low priced items without an inspection.
But it seems like a good way to make money on that spring cleaning project you’ve been talking about all winter, doesn’t it?

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