Parts Supplier Turned Internet Retail Partner

Longtime supplier of aftermarket outdoor power equipment parts, Rotary has recently joined the online retailer market. With the help of Shopatron’s retail-integrated eCommerce solution, online shoppers in the U.S. and Canada can now buy any Rotary replacement part and small engine component directly from the company’s online store. Products ordered through the website are delivered to the customer directly from an authorized Rotary dealer.

Meeting needs with existing dealer inventory

The new online shopping capability was introduced after continuous customer inquiries for the added-convenience service. A visible trend in the marketplace that showed a shift toward more online purchasing further influenced Rotary.

"During the past several years Rotary received numerous inquiries from homeowners and commercial landscapers wanting to purchase our parts, tools and accessories online," says Chris Roessler, advertising and marketing manager for Rotary. "Sales from business-to-consumer online shopping have exploded in the past decade so we felt the establishment of an online store was something Rotary should seriously consider, provided it would have a positive impact on our servicing dealers."

Rotary decided after careful consideration that online sales would benefit everyone, including their servicing dealer network and their customers. Through Shopatron, Rotary maintains a web store that meets the needs of consumers with the convenience of shopping online. Participating Rotary dealers can fulfill online orders from their current inventory using the Shopatron Order Exchange.

"Shopatron was an ideal solution for Rotary because it allows us to sell online and, at the same time, promote our servicing dealers," explains Roessler. "We feel it is a win-win situation."

Dealers will enjoy the benefits of added sales through the online store, while also connecting with new and more customers. The online store serves as a springboard for the dealers' new relationships with online customers.     

"By forwarding online orders directly to our dealers, Rotary is providing them with an additional source of revenue plus access to new customers whose equipment may need repair or servicing," says Roessler. "We are confident this partnership will result in a higher inventory turnover for dealers and increased sales for everyone."

Implementation and pricing

As far as product pricing is concerned, online customers are charged a suggested list price and a shipping fee that generally covers freight and handling charges. Sales tax is applied to each sale by Shopatron based on the state where the order is shipped.

Dealers have to participate in a short online class and pass a brief exam to qualify as an authorized Rotary/Shopatron fulfillment partner. Rotary has tried to maintain a smooth transition for their dealers into the new role of an online retailer.

"Throughout the process of establishing a web store, our first and foremost goal was to take good care of our servicing dealers by providing the resources and technical support that will enable them to tap in to a new and growing market," says Roessler. "We feel the future potential is unlimited, both in terms of sales and the ability of dealers to forge new relationships with customers who purchase online."

While the online store offers dealers a new audience, it is too soon to say how it has impacted their sales. They have been given the tools and opportunity by Rotary, and now it is left up to time to tell.

"At the current time, we have not established a sales forecast with Shopatron although our long-term expectations remain very high," shares Roessler. "We view online consumer sales as a slow, but progressing segment of the outdoor power equipment market that cannot be overlooked."

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