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VDTA-SDTA June 2017

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Creating a Successful Aftermarket Business

By Vivian Lavinskas, SVP Worldwide

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Did you know that aftermarket sales often exceed machine sales for both profit and revenue generated?

Aftermarkets which include sewing machine accessories like software, hoops, and presser feet; notions like stabilizers and thread; and other items like cabinets, pressing equipment, and cases help bring the customer back into your store. In a recent study conducted by SVP Worldwide, statistics showed that the majority of sewists prefer to return to their dealer to buy add-ons for their machine. If you don't offer a variety of products, you are intentionally sending your customer to your competitor.

Aftermarket products are very appealing to sewing retailers because they have the potential to be sold repeatedly to your entire customer base. If handled correctly, the Aftermarket items that you carry in your store will bring a long-term and stable stream of revenue.
So how do you create a successful aftermarket business?

When you sell a sewing machine, offer a short class on how to use the machine. This will bring that customer back into your store with the opportunity to sell more accessories and other sewing-related notions to accompany the machine.

Provide short, free "How To" demos on using different feet and accessories. These can be done in a group setting and can be conducted on a bi-weekly or monthly basis. If you know of a customer who is very knowledgeable when it comes to a specific foot, hoop, or other accessory, invite them to share their tips and tricks. They will be flattered that you value their knowledge and expertise, and you will be surprised at how willing many customers are to share this information.

Schedule special events with the educators that your sewing machine supplier provides. They can customize an event based on the aftermarket products you carry in your store or you can choose to hold a pre-set event they have organized. Most importantly, they are experts and will help you promote the brand and the products that you carry.

Ensure that customers are using the aftermarket products you sell them. Aftermarket sales are strongest when customers trust their dealer and know that they can rely on them for expert service.

Make sure that you carry disposable goods like stabilizers, thread, etc. These types of products run out quickly and will require your customer to come back into the store to buy more. You'll have another opportunity to sell additional aftermarket products.

A successful business is all about loyalty. You can build customer loyalty by offering the right products, exceptional customer service, and a sewing experience that they can't access anywhere else but at your location.

Reprinted from SQE Professional, June 2017