Currently E-Zone has 17 lines available for looking up parts and they continue to look for more lines that benefit dealers.
About Central Power Distributors
• Established in 1985
• Distributes out of Anoka, MN; Menomonee Falls, WI; Miamisburg, OH
• Products represented: Agri-Fab, Carlisle, Hoffco Comet, Honeywell Generator parts, Hydro-Gear, Kohler, MTD, Martin Wheel, McCulloch, N2 ATV Parts and Accessories, Noram, Ohio Steel, Opti 2-4, Sea Foam, Shindaiwa, Stens, Tecumseh, Tillotson, Toro parts, Trac-Vac, Troy Bilt, Walbro
• Territory footprint covers IA, IL, IN, KY, MI, MN, ND, OH, SD, UP and WI
Times change, and doing business as an outdoor power equipment dealer is no exception. Today’s consumer is much more educated and selective when making purchase decisions. Dealers are finding themselves having to work even harder to meet the demands of their customers, and suppliers are finding new ways to help them do so.
One way they are doing this is by consistently having products and equipment in stock when customers visit the store. If they don’t have a certain piece of equipment available, the educated customer will grow impatient with the wait—and shop elsewhere.
With the Internet available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year, consumers will realize that waiting on a part to be shipped directly to their home is better than going to the dealership, ordering the part and waiting again. The dealer of today needs to figure out a way to have inventory when their customer needs it, not when it is convenient for the dealer to get it. With gas prices soaring, customers will not drive to wait anymore; it’s simply too expensive. The successful dealer will have a website and showroom with fast-moving popular parts on hand.
Dealers today are focusing on meeting their customers’ needs as well as their own. There are challenges from every direction that the dealer didn’t face 10 years ago. Where do I find the right mechanic for my new lines and how much can I pay him? What labor rate is too high? What labor rate is too low? Who offers the best freight program? Why do I need a web page? How much inventory is too much? Which supplier adds the most value to my business? Is my computer good enough to handle the new parts look-up programs? The list goes on and on.
MEETING THE CHALLENGE WITH E-ZONE
One way our dealers are able to easily and conveniently keep parts in stock at a low cost is with the CPD E-Zone. With the high cost of transportation, dealers have been looking for partners that offer freight savings or free freight orders. CPD offers an electronic method for our customers to place their orders called E-Zone.
Besides placing their orders, our E-Zone users can see current and past programs, print their update educational certificate, take advantage of close-out specials, download price files, print monthly flyers, reprint an invoice, and look up parts (fee based).
Lending to the rapid service E-Zone offers, orders print directly into one of our three warehouses to be fulfilled and shipped. If the customer enters a comment on their E-Zone order, that request is handled by a person. It is then sent to one of our three warehouses for fulfillment and shipping.
In addition to timesavings, the E-Zone offers dealers many discounts. For the last 12 years, CPD has offered a weekly free freight day to stocking dealers. The day is chosen by the customer when they set up their account. Present day business conditions have encouraged our dealers to use their free freight day, which is made easy with E-Zone.
Until E-Zone added value for our customers, our call center volume was tremendous. With 1,700 current E-Zone accounts and rising, the calls have decreased, allowing our call center agents to concentrate on the quality of a call rather than quantity of calls.
Currently E-Zone has 17 lines available for looking up parts. We don’t carry some of the lines our Gold subscribers have access to, but as a matter of convenience for our subscribers, we continue to display them.
THE FUTURE OF E-ZONE
We are always looking for products that make sense to our business model. If it’s attainable and provides benefit, we are interested. We do respectfully decline some companies that want to allow us the opportunity to sell their parts.
As far as additional features to E-Zone, we will add service FAQ’s, old parts look-up and additional look-ups. The service FAQ’s will be available to both standard and Gold Package customers, but the look-up will be available only to the Gold Package subscribers.
With the evolving demands of customers, dealers must focus on profitably running a well-stocked dealership. Tools like the E-Zone can help dealers to stay on top of their game, meeting consumer demand at a low price.