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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Ok... I've started trying to figure out what is most important to you, as a my potential customer for offroad stuff. I'm starting the process of opening an online and offroad shop. I need some input from others, that aren't as crazy as I am... /wwwthreads_images/icons/crazy.gif

Ok... for a part what is most important to you?

Price?
Ease of Installation?
Location of shop?
Customer Service?
Bolt on vs. Drilling/extensive mods?
Guarantees?
What Jeep parts are you unable to find?

What am I missing? Tell me your ideal offroad shop... Maybe we can succeed... My goal is to eventually kick the shi* out of 4wd Wholesalers!

Thanks! Any input is appreciated! /wwwthreads_images/icons/smile.gif

Another Jeepgeek!
Jon YJ94
 
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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

TEX

/wwwthreads_images/icons/wink.gif Got Mud?
G.U.M.B.O. Mud Racing
 
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Jon,

I'm a senior in Marketing at Ga. State U.'s Business School, It is ranked in the top 20 U-Grad Bus. Schools in the Nation, so I give my education a lot of credit. Knowing what customers want is hard to do if you look at them as a whole group(not that you were planning to). If you use the approach of serving many different consumer groups, with similar needs, then you will have more success.

One of the things that I have picked up is that most people who are dissatisfied with a product/service won't tell you. They just will switch to a different Co/provider. When the majority of people switch to a different service provider or company it is because of a "core service failure. (customer service, general dissastisfaction with Co. as a whole) Keeping the custmer happy is one thing, but the most important thing is to keep the customer loyal to your business. It costs substantialy less to keep an existing customer than it does to attract a new one. Example: Tom Woods Drive shafts. Good product, service and happy customers that refer other customers to his Co.(jeep bbs)-- 4 Wheel Drive Hardware...a dissatisfied customer will tell his friends(post on the BBS), return the product, seek legal action, etc.--just creates a bad situation for the company. Customer Satisfaction is the most important thing as it includes most of what you have mentioned.

So the moral to the story is, keep your customers happy, always. Be a fair business man and reap the rewards/wwwthreads_images/icons/smile.gif. Be sly, shady, misleading and unfair like some other companies mentioned on this BBS and see your reputation, which is hard recover, go to sh!t. Online research, such as you are doing, is the latest and easiest way to reach your "target market." It is quickly becoming the most popular method of gathering info, it is cheap, cost effective, and does't invade privacy as much as calling someone during dinner. Good business decision.

Good luck, I hope to order parts from you business when I don't have to spend all of my $$$ on books and classes.

Robert87yj/wwwthreads_images/icons/tongue.gif
engine rebuild w/4.0 head done, now for the MPI
 

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Customer service, a 1-800 number, a 1-800 tech number would be cool too, generic parts for lower $$, same day shipping....

/wwwthreads_images/icons/cool.gif Big Ed
'88 YJ, 4" susp,3" body,33's,283 Chevy V8,TH350,4.11's,D30,D35c
 
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I would suggest products that are more do-it-yourself than bolt on. For example I would
buy the cheapest SRS from MORE that allows me to weld all the pieces together. I still think
$155 is too much for a bunch of steel plates. Also try to find niche or specific product range
of either new or used parts. An example would be Parts Mike. He is the only one known
(or well known) to have to new HOT product spring over steering arms for steering that
goes above the springs on a SOA. I ordered from him and got the wrong tapers and not all
the parts I assumed where needed. After getting the box in the mail I realized that the arms
are nothing more then an arm with 3 tapered hole on one end (that looks like the neck of a
guitar) and the other end has the taper for tie rods. I would order from him again but when it
came to trying to find just the arms it was PM or those other criminals, TriCounty and Aval
Eng, so options where minimal. Also PM is very knowledgeable and was able to explain
how to DIY for this and other projects. His board probably creates ALOT of business for
him too. I guess I'm talking about PM because he is that type of business I like to order
from. That and price. I like Essentially Offroad because they are crushing everybody else
on price. They will defineatly have me $ in the future and like Robert87yj said you may have
to bend over for some customers to keep em' happy (not that I necessarily want someone
to bend over for me /wwwthreads_images/icons/laugh.gif).

Finally I order from just about everyone and it all depends on the best product at the best
price. All the big shops have the one stop shopping but never a perfect balance of
service and price so I end up going all over the place. I would rather support the little
guys than the corporate monsters anyway, it bad enough I work for one of them.....

Lee

/wwwthreads_images/icons/laugh.gif
 
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Customer service, freindly and helpfull people, a tech phone line, and good products at a fair price.

Tim Springer
1980 CJ7
WALSTIB/wwwthreads_images/icons/wink.gif
 

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to quit lying to me. if the product late, or backorder tell me. like the guy said piss me off I,m walking out the door and going somewhere else and I,m going tell all my buddy what a piece of @#$% you are.

Be TOTALLY HONEST with the customer, then screw them on the price

brownbagg
 
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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks for all of the input!!! /wwwthreads_images/icons/smile.gif If this works, I expect you guys to keep me honest! /wwwthreads_images/icons/wink.gif If you mention the BBS when buying, I'll drop my prices!

First things first: if I can just get my prototypes into production! I'm focusing on safety stuff (roll cages, hi-lifts, and skid plates... etc), as money and space allow, will move into lift kits/etc... I can't see it getting much past that point, but you have to aim high, right?

I registered my domain name today... I guess that's a good start... /wwwthreads_images/icons/smile.gif

if anything else comes to mind... let me know!

Now brownbagg... what fun is it to not have you call back 4000 times to find out where your parts are? /wwwthreads_images/icons/wink.gif

I like what carparts.com did with the auto e-mails when things shipped... 800#, tech-line... I'm on it! You all just cost me another bundle o' cash!

Another Jeepgeek!
Jon YJ94
 

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knowledgeable people, thats the main thing for me

convince ME you know what your building/fixing/selling

and the price MUST be competetive, this should be obvious

good luck with your venture!

OzarkJeep
NW Arkansas, need a CJ rear seat
 

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Just remember us 94YJ.
/wwwthreads_images/icons/smile.gif Do we get the "buddy" discount? /wwwthreads_images/icons/wink.gif

I knew everything when I was 16......How come I'm so stupid now?
 
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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
most of the successful shops i deal with are not the cheapest, no big ad blitz, and no slick sales people. they provide good info before, during and after the sale. they try to remember you the next time you shop with them, and they take care of you after the sale to the best of their abilities. they are honest and upfront. this is more important than price. this is how you keep customers loyal.

now on the flip side, we are customers need to patronize these kind of shops as this is what keeps them open. i know a few people that go to these shops, gather the info they need, and then go someplace else because they saved a couple bucks. this is not right.

dan
NECESSITY IS THE MOTHER OF INVENTION
/wwwthreads_images/icons/cool.gifLET IT SNOW/wwwthreads_images/icons/cool.gif
 
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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I agree with Panther. If someone sold build it yourself type parts that would be incredible. Take for instance a brushgruad that would typically cost $200. If I could pay all the pieces of steal and weld them together myself for $100 then well......obviously I would buy the build it yourself kit. Lots of parts could be sold in this manner. Just an idea. Good Luck.


Big 78 CJ5, 95 Chevy 2500 ext. cab
 
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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I think good customer service would be nice. Like the shop that I go to, they know my name and my automobile and stuff like that, really friendly. Also, reasonable prices could help also.
 
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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I know about customer/technical service that is what I do for a living. I work for a small I.S.P. in Pa. I call every new customer the sat. after they have ordered service from us to find out how it is going. There are many reasons to do this.

1. I can head off any problems they may be having
2. Most of the times they have questions about this or that. Unclear instructions, switching from another company and not understanding something small, but could have turned into a headacke for me later on.
3. Sometimes customers didn't know and were affraid to ask. (I get this alot)
4. It shows that you are commited to your company and to your customers.
The company does not do much advertising, so we depend on our customers to spread the word and it does quit well for us.

I assume that it would be a 1 or 2 person shop? If you are already on a call and another one comes in don't cut the other person off. Take the persons name and number and call them back when you are done with the other call. The other thing is if you don't know the answer find out for them and call them back. I have found this goes along way in promoting your bussiness.
With out my customers I would probably flipping burgers somewhere ( not that it's a bad job or anything) it's just not what I want to do.

The relations with your customers is your paycheck. I have worked for companies in the past that didn't really care and are no longer in bussiness.
If you don't give your customers service somebody else will.

Lunatic
Build it and they will come

 

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I have been operating a very successful on-line supply business.
We went from 100% local business to 50% mail order in just over 2 years and have learned a lot from this change from over-the-counter to over-the-web.
Our customers don't mind that we do not have all the bells and whistles of other, more fancy sites as long as we keep delivering quality, price and fast service.
From the feed-back we recieve, we have learned that price, speedy and knowledgable service is the key. Plus swift correction of any and all problems.
Customers are very forgiving if you will quickly admit an error and quickly correct it. And give them the benifit of a doubt.
Loosing money on a bad sale to quickly fix a problem leads to customer loyalty and more (profitable) sales to that person. Plus, they will tell their friends how well they were treated and say "You can't go wrong with them".
Lastly, good packaging will make the difference. A great product at a great price delivered at lightning speed is still a bad deal if it arrives mangled at the hands of notroiously heavy handed delivery carriers.
Heavy metal parts are especially prone to damage due to under protected packaging.

JAF
http://www.monsterslayer.com/jeep
 

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Dollars are a big one. Have what you are selling on the net and pictures too. Maybe a catalog when you get going. 1-800 number is a must.
here are some places I shop for varing reasons.
Summit Performance-free shipping, BIG catalog and reasonable rates
4wd hardware-good catalog, good prices and have special deals, like on some dates they will have 5% off everything
quadratec-good brands, good shipping, prices aren't too bad
that is some of them
GOOD LUCK!! ken

78cj
95yj

 

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Here's what I would like to see. A site with lot's of how to's like York air, TeamRush ignition upgrade, tire carriers, etc., etc., and a way to order the parts necessary to do the project. Radio Electronics used to do this. They would have an article on how to build something and they would offer a kit with all the parts.

jerry
 
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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Jerry just stole the words off my keyboard in his post! I'd love to see a "How to do it yourself" website for the common Jeep upgrades we see over and over along with the packaged components to accomplish the tasks. I think a lot of Jeepers who don't have the time to visit the boneyards or do battle with underinformed parts sellers in supply houses would happily patronize a seller who has done the legwork and provides parts packages (with the "How to" instructions). Good luck and keep us posted.

 
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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
I like the idea of "How to Pages"... I wonder though, could this type of page lead to some type of liablity if something breaks for either myself or my "company"?

I see a "how to" as sort of an endorsement, if it fails... you know how sue happy everybody is... (NOT BBS buddies through, right?) /wwwthreads_images/icons/wink.gif

To get it started (not yet)... maybe I could give people with new ideas discounts or some free stuff... (can't give the cow away with the milk, though..) As you can see, everybody wants the same "stuff", delivered in different ways... Can't wait to tackle this...

These are great ideas... thanks!

Another Jeepgeek!
Jon YJ94
 
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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
The number one problem with doing web buisness is : Hosting the website... Are you planning on hosting internally, or contracting out? Will you have online e-commerce? To what extent? Have you even thought about it? /wwwthreads_images/icons/smile.gif I used to work at an internet hosting company, and might setup myown here in another year or so...

I charge $200 an hr. Ask away. /wwwthreads_images/icons/crazy.gif

Actually... that is my real world price.. an people pay it too... /wwwthreads_images/icons/wink.gif

Florida Mud CJ-5
'77 RB304, t-150 D20 4" 35" swampers
 
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