The following column, authored by Recreation Vehicle Dealers Association (RVDA) President Phil Ingrassia, offers a rundown of a pilot program initiated by Statistical Surveys Inc. that would generate an early RV retail report. The column appears in the February issue of RV Executive Today.
At the RV Dealers Convention/Expo in November, RVDA partner Scott Stropkai of Statistical Surveys shared plans for a new pilot program to provide dealers and the industry with a new “early” RV retail report.
The program would:
— Eventually allow dealers to spot regional RV sales trends – by product type – more quickly. This can help dealerships better manage inventory, increase turns, and save on floorplan interest costs.
— Enable dealers to more accurately measure retail sales in their multi-state region, making sure all sales show up in industry reports and reflect the dealership’s total new-unit sales volume.
Sound interesting? RVDA member dealers have an opportunity to get in on the ground floor of this important project.
How will it work? Participating dealers simply provide sold unit reports pulled from their dealer management software (DMS) by uploading them in an Excel spreadsheet to a secure Statistical Surveys website within one to three days after the end of each month.
Your dealership’s sales figures will only be combined with the sales information from other dealers to give participating dealers and other industry partners an opportunity to spot sales trends.
No personal retail buyer information will be part of the reporting, and all data will be kept confidential. Only the combined data from participating dealers will be available to the industry in the early retail sales reporting program. Participating dealers will be able to access the aggregated early sales reports at no charge.
This “snapshot” of retail sales data will not replace the current Statistical Surveys monthly reports, but the new program, if enough dealers participate, will provide new-unit retail sales information almost a month earlier. Monthly reports of state registration data by dealer will continue to be compiled, where allowed.
What makes this project different from past attempts at gathering early retail data?
First, advances in DMS capabilities make reporting easier – many dealers are already providing this data to Scott and his team at Stat Surveys, but we need to get more dealers involved to have accurate early reporting. Second, Stat Surveys has made investments in powerful software that can create industry reports much faster than just a few years ago.
Once a critical mass of dealers agrees to participate, this project will need several months to test and match the initial early reports against the full retail reports to ensure accuracy. We need to get started now to roll out a program sometime in 2019.