Venture into the tuner market with eyes wide open

Jan. 1, 2020
Tuner accessories can offer aftermarket parts distributors a great opportunity to increase sales and profitability, but only if they are sold and marketed correctly.

Tuner accessories can offer aftermarket parts distributors a great opportunity to increase sales and profitability, but only if they are sold and marketed correctly.

Here are some key tips that may help you establish yourself in this unique category.

1. Educate yourself or have a key staffer learn about the tuner marketplace, or hire someone with special experience in this niche.

2. Monitor which products are particularly popular by paying attention to the tuner cars in your area and by calling your performance distributor for such details.

3. If confident in your area's tuner potential, stock a full array of accessories and performance items.

4. Be aware of items that aren't street legal within your locale — consulting with police chiefs and relaying information to customers.

5. Sound out the possibility of stocking audio and video and satellite radio equipment.

6. Look at offering paint and graphic applications, and be sure to have visuals of how these graphics or paint options will look on a vehicle.

7. Don't ignore the wear and tear items you could sell — 60 percent of tuner cars are bought used.

8. Communicate with the public that your store has tuner expertise.

9. Compile a list of your customers' e-mail and postal addresses.

10. Develop an Internet presence — many tuners do their shopping online first. If you are already online, tailor specific content to this market.

11. Send out e-mail alerts on special sales or new products.

12. Advertise on radio stations that reach tuner demographics. Especially explore formats featuring hip-hop, pop and rap. Classic rock, oldies and heavy metal may be options as well. You could even underwrite a college radio station program — the youth generation is your market.

13. Plan a live radio remote. Ask some local enthusiasts to show off their cars in your parking lot and have key products on sale.

14. Attend as many tuner meets, rallies or shows as possible. Note which booths are the most crowded. When you are ready, set up a booth of your own.

15. Organize a large tuner show in your area but do it only if you can dedicate the resources to it.

16. Seek cooperative promotional arrangements with manufacturers or performance distributors.

17. Make sure employees are respectful of this new audience. You could sell the hottest products around, but if your employees aren't friendly, you'll lose out instantly.

18. Pursue cross-promotions with those selling other products such as music, drinks, clothes and video games.