For the first time, a dealership, an OEM, and 23 different aftermarket companies are coming together for RVX’s Aftermarket Experience.
Ideas for the undertaking began circulating at the RV Industry Association’s Salt Lake City preview event last year. Matt Warner of Unified RV, Susan Carpenter of Creative Products Group, and Chris Cieto, publisher of RV PRO magazine, talked over dinner about the dearth of aftermarket focus at events.
“We just got talking about how there’s still nothing showcasing what the aftermarket could do,” said Warner. “The aftermarket plays a big part in enhancing the RV experience. … The idea is to get the sales managers to see an additional advantage, not just financially, but with customer satisfaction.”
The three began putting a call out to more than 100 suppliers, and whittled it down to 23 that would supply a total of 73 different products to be outfitted on a fifth wheel.
“Logistically, we knew the challenge would be to coordinate efforts on a multitude of levels,” said Cieto. “We needed a local Salt Lake dealer who would help with installation of some products and actually get the unit to the venue.”
That’s when Motor SportsLand in Utah stepped up to the plate to help load extra supplies on the showcasing RV unit once it arrived. For the unit itself, the three spearheading the project boiled down the number of manufacturers to four, finally going with Crossroads RV.
“We wanted an entry-level RV because not every family can afford an upscale RV,” said Carpenter. “We went with a fifth wheel because it actually has more room in it, so it gave us more opportunity to show off more products.”
Crossroads then equipped a Volante with many of the products from the 23 suppliers.
That list includes products like:
- Furrion’s iceless cooler
- MORryde’s StepAbove
- BAL RV’s leveling system
- Airxcel’s Coleman-Mach Bluetooth wall thermostat
- Pinnacle Appliance’s washer/dryer combo
- ASA Electronics’ wall-mount stereo
- Carefree of Colorado’s EZ Zip Blocker
- Winegard’s ConnecT 2.0/Wi-Fi extender
- AP Product’s vent shade
- Truma’s instant water heater
The list goes on for a grand total of $32,000 worth of products on one RV.
“Your normal consumer wouldn't go in and spend $30,000 in the store,” said Carpenter. “But during the lifetime of owning that RV, you sure are spending that kind of money.”
This is the larger point the Aftermarket Experience aims to drive home with dealers: that there’s plenty of literal room for upselling.
RVIA and design company Freeman “stepped up,” Cieto said, when designing the booth space. Modeled after a hiking trail, a wooden display has guides for attendees. Inside the guide is a map of what’s inside and outside the RV, correlating each product with a number. Listed next to each product is the company and their booth space at RVX, allowing for dealer networking. After following the trail of paw marks (pictured below), attendees can then vote on what their favorite product was.
“This is a true testament of the industry working together to produce something unique,” said Cieto. “We believe it will be a success and we encourage all to stop by and tour the unit and vote for what they feel is the best product.”
Based on the amount of sponsorship and interest in the Aftermarket Experience, it’s likely the display will return next year with new additions.
“From here,” said Carpenter, “I think it’s just going to get bigger and better.”