Oct. 5, 2009 – Taking advantage of some valuable dealer input
October 5, 2009
Filed under Features
By Neil Pascale
The results of an ambitious, self-educational process are just starting to emerge for Curtis Industries, the UTV cab manufacturer.
Tom Dimauro, Curtis’ vice president of sales and marketing, and the company’s four-member business development team spent this past spring and summer visiting more than 350 dealerships in North America. Their goal: To ask dealers what they want.
The collective answer they received: More “value” products, easier ordering and a better online presence from Curtis, which has been manufacturing cab enclosures since the late 1960s.
In response, Dimauro, who personally visited more than 80 dealerships, and his team are working on each of those projects.
“That was a really enlightening exercise,” Dimauro said of the dealership visits. “We learned a lot about cab functionality and pricing from the consumer point of view.”
Dealers told Dimauro and company they would like to see more items that hit a lower price point but feature the same quality.
When looking at products in a “good, better, best” scenario, Dimauro noted “Curtis’ heritage is mostly in the best category.” Thus the company’s cabs are in the “higher end of pricing, although we’ve been competitive,” Dimauro said.
To hit that “value” end of the market, Curtis will seek to better align the price to a consumer’s use of the cab.
“A commercial user, say a municipality worker or somebody who is in a cab all day long, wants a high-featured cab,” he said. “Somebody who just wants to keep out of the elements when it’s raining or snowing and using it around their home or their farm, they probably don’t want to spend a whole lot of money on it.”
Thus the need for a value product.
“Not less quality,” Dimauro said of the value product, “but less features perhaps, which makes the product less expensive.”
Curtis is taking that approach now with its product development.
“We’re working hard now on designing value products on a fairly steady basis,” he said.
Also in wake of the dealer visits, the company, which works directly with dealers and not through distributors in the powersports industry, will begin to offer online ordering through ARI’s PartSmart. Dimauro noted dealers will not only be able to order online but also print out owners/users manuals and literature on different cabs. The online ordering was expected to begin in late September or early October.
There is no cost to dealers to use the system, Dimauro said.
Curtis also has updated its Web site (www.CurtisCab.com), making it more product-focused and easier to navigate.
“There are lots more we’re going to do with the Web site but those projects are going to develop down the road,” Dimauro said.
To further communicate with North American dealers in the future, Dimauro says the company is starting a newsletter that will be sent monthly to dealers. Part of that newsletter will include an area of feedback to ensure appropriate feedback.
“We really emphasized to dealers that we want to do business with them and through them,” he said.