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Original parts program could drive walk-in traffic

Dave McMahon, Senior Editor
October 8, 2012
Filed under Features

Ski-Doo’s latest initiative aims to enhance the brand experience for owners of older snowmobiles

Dealers just found a way to bring owners of older-model Ski-Doo snowmobiles back into their stores with the launch of Ski-Doo Originals, a new genuine parts program aimed at keeping machines performing their best, but for a lower cost to consumers.

BRP wants consumers to be able to choose the best parts for their sled — deemed BRP Genuine parts by officials of the Valcourt, Quebec-based OEM — and Ski-Doo sled owners will now be able to do so with competitive pricing. The Ski-Doo Originals program allows owners of 1998 through 2007 model-year Ski-Doo snowmobiles to apply for a discount promotional code on parts ordered through genuine.parts.ski-doo.com.

Prices have been reduced up to 50 percent depending on the exact original part, including piston kits (up to 45 percent off), starters (up to 50 percent off) and gasket sets (up to 50 percent off).

Consumers who participate can also register to win a 2013 Ski-Doo with accessories, and they can refer their friends to win an $8,000 dream vacation.

Martin Auger, director of Parts, Accessories and Clothing for BRP, answered some questions for Powersports Business readers about the program.

PSB: It’s a very interesting concept. How did the idea evolve to implement this sort of program?

MA: We decided to dig a bit more and do some analysis to understand a bit more of the older sled market. What we understood pretty quickly is that surprisingly, some sleds still being used are from 1998, 2000, 2002. I wanted to quantify a bit more of that crowd, or that potential crowd. From there we saw the global numbers along with the Canada and U.S. market, and that gave us some cues to understand better where that business is going, the behavior of these customers. It also allowed us to see the roadblocks — what are the triggers to them buying X part coming from X supplier, or from the OEM. We tried to understand the ratio between the market captured by the aftermarket and the market captured by BRP original parts. It seems that there is an opportunity for us and for our customers.

Ski-Doo is targeting owners of Ski-Doo model-year sleds from 1998-2007, including the 2007 Summit, with a new Original parts program. Ski-Doo is trying to drive consumers back to the brand with enticing pricing offers on Ski-Doo Original Parts.

PSB: This is the first time I’ve heard of an approach like this, where an OEM goes above and beyond to cater to the customers who still have older models, all in an attempt to get them to better experience the brand.

MA: You see it more in the car industry, but in powersports I think it’s pretty new. The good news is the program is free. You just have to share your VIN number and you join the program to get these benefits. From there, the ball will be rolling. For the owners getting ready for the season, that’s going to be very exciting. Pricing is extremely competitive, and it’s going to create a buzz in the market, I’m sure.

PSB: What are some of the things that the owners will be able to take advantage of, from a savings standpoint?

MA: These owners of Ski-Doos from 1998 to 2007, prior to the XP platform, can win a brand new sled. But on top of that, they can make as many purchases as they want from our e-store. They’ll have a promo code that gives them rebates that are pretty impressive.

PSB: What did it take to determine whether or not the pricing of your original parts was competitive with say, what a consumer could buy from an aftermarket brand.

MA: We did a global matrix of all pricing of key components in the market, from Marshall, Motovan, Parts Canada, Kimpex — you name it — and compared them to our pricing. In some key areas, we are already competitive, so this is good news. In other categories that are important to our consumer base, we were not as competitive, so we realigned pricing to see what their reaction will be this winter on key items. It’s a huge quantity. We realigned pricing on more than 6,000 SKUs. With some key components, we’re offering savings up to 50 percent. The good news is it’s not like in the grocery store where you find only one product that is [discounted] up to 50 percent. We have a lot of products that are discounted 35, 40, 45, 50 points. That covers mostly hard parts, and that’s what consumers need — pistons, gasket sets, electric parts, starters. That’s going to be exciting.

Owners of 1998-2007 model-year Ski-Doo sleds such as the 2007 MXZ can take advantage of the Original parts program by buying parts through the Ski-Doo e-store.

PSB: Is the special pricing only available online?

MA: Consumers will not be able to pick up this part with special pricing at their dealer’s counter. They have to proceed through our e-store, and there they will have access to the new competitive pricing. Consumers decide if they want to get the part delivered to their home if they want to [install] it themselves, or they can choose to pick it up at the dealer, if they want it installed. The dealer doesn’t have a lot of time invested, and it’s easy for him to participate in the program. It’s a simple transaction, and it brings in customers who might not have otherwise come into the dealership.

PSB: From a dealer standpoint, adding more volume to the e-store and giving consumers more of a chance to have their parts delivered to the dealership seems like it would be a traffic boost to the Ski-Doo dealer base.

MA: One of the goals is to bring back these consumers into the dealership. We did a test pilot last year in Quebec, and we were surprised to see 65-70 percent of these owners are do-it-yourself sledders — they do the maintenance and mechanics themselves. This is an important crowd. How can we bring them back into our network, to see our new stuff, new accessories, clothing and for sure our new sleds. To have them in contact with these products is extremely valuable to us. And yes, that will benefit the dealership’s walk-in traffic.

PSB: Even though the Quebec study was only a study or sample, that’s a pretty significant percentage of people who own older Ski-Doo sleds and might never have a need to return to the dealership after they purchase it. They order the parts themselves and do the work themselves. How will this program affect those sled owners?

MA: Take the owner who buys a 2005 Ski-Doo REV platform. We cannot imagine that he’s treated differently than a new owner. If he paid $4,000 to buy that sled, he should receive an experience or treatment that is as good as the owner who buys a new one. We want to make sure he keeps the original performance, he gets quality out of it. Imagine if you buy a part that is not reaching our standards, and you put it on the sled, what’s his experience going to be? He’s going to be disappointed. Maybe it’s going to break, or it loses performance. We don’t want to see that. We want to make sure these consumers are living the Ski-Doo experience as deep as the owner who buys a new one. This comes through in the quality of original parts.

 

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