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EXETER, Penn. — If an event’s success is measured by attendance and sales, NTP-Stag’s 2019 Expo would be one for the record books, the company reported today.
By almost every measure – attendance, exhibit hall size, sales, new product and program reveals, the 2019 Expo appeared to break all the previous show records, said Bill Rogers, president of NTP-Stag.
“We had high expectations going into the event,” he explained. “The results were exactly what we hoped for – strong attendance, busy show floor, solid representation by leading suppliers in our market, and great sales.”
The 2019 expo, held at the Gaylord Opryland Resort in Nashville, had more than 3,000 preregistered NTP-Stag customers, supplier personnel and staff scheduled to attend. The two day event had the largest RV University attendance ever and the 150,000-square-foot exhibit hall was humming with people and deals until the closing bell, the release noted.
The event was a way for RV dealers to help identify new revenue streams and to capitalize on technology as a way to improve customer service and customer satisfaction, Rogers told RV Daily Report.
“We encourage our dealer partners to have a strong web presence in order to drive more traffic to their brick and mortar stores,” he explained. “Our PartsVia feature allows us to fulfill customer orders placed online in a way that helps the dealership and helps their customers.”
For example, if a customer places an order online through the dealership’s website, the product will be delivered free to the dealership. However, if a customer wants the product delivered to his home, then a shipping and handling fee is added.
It’s not to discourage online ordering, but rather to help ensure that the parts are professionally installed at the dealership and that the products work as intended.
A new feature is being developed that will allow customers to schedule service requests online through PartsVia and even pay for the service at the time the appointment is made. NTP-Stag hopes to roll out that feature, which is currently in beta testing, later this year.
One area that was heavily promoted at this year’s show were RV lifestyle accessories. The goal was to help dealers imagine new ways to bring products to the attention of consumers, said Rogers.
For example, the model store featured a section for “first trip” products as well as security systems, a section for outdoor pet products and Smart RV products that can communicate with other components within the RV, such as music and lighting.
“Our training and education programs continue to be a strong draw for the expo,” said John Spaulding, director of communications and events. “It reinforces the fact that there is a desire for people to be better at their jobs and have a deeper understanding of the products, business practices and trends that impact their success.
“Having over 1,100 people signed up to participate in our education programs this year was incredible,” he added.
During expo, there was a focus on new items, product categories and marketing programs that can help dealers grow their businesses.
The traditional model store was transformed into an idea center where attendees could see how a variety of categories like, pet supplies, portable lighting, kitchen items, smart technology products and PDI components can be merchandised to improve impulse shopping and overall store sales performance.
“Helping customers find new products and showing them how to sell them was a key initiative for us at the show this year,” said Fred Petrivelli, vice president of sales. “Based on the level of interest we saw in the merchandising area and with the 17 new suppliers we had on the show floor, I would say we delivered on that one.”
The company reported that their pre-cart order building process was a success this year with more than 64% of the registered dealer accounts having come prepared with some of their buying pre-planned. The pre-cart sales totals were up over 50% from 2018.
Ralph Ruzzi, vice Ppresident of NTP-Stag Canada, said, “Obviously, coming to the show prepared gives people more time to spend with suppliers on the floor learning about new products and I think that really helped us achieve our overall sales plan at the event.”
Based on what the company experienced in Nashville this week, Rogers said the year is off to a pretty good start.
“The suppliers were very complimentary. Our customers were appreciative and upbeat, and they really showed a keen interest in a lot of the new things we introduced,” he explained.
“From our Marketing Garage digital content solutions and Parts VIA to product and service offers from Dish, Pet Comfort, Blue Ox, Airxcel, Carefree, Valterra and others, I really couldn’t be happier with what I saw this week,” Rogers added. “The best part was being able to build on so many great relationships that we have.”