When it looked like Northern Wholesale Supply would be unable to host its 34th annual RV Supershow in-person this January, the distributor instead brought the show to dealers.
Throughout December and January, Northern Wholesale Supply visited 144 RV dealers, connecting them to the company’s online portal and assisting them in-person, on conference calls and during Zoom meetings.
Northern Wholesale Supply Director of Sales and Marketing Dean Kruchten said 11 percent of dealers who placed an order this year were first-time customers. Kruchten, who joined the company in March 2020, said his first RV show was “a heck of a time to start.”
Before this year, dealers who attended Northern Wholesale Supply’s live show in Minnesota were able to place an order. The online portal, which Northern Wholesale Supply launched Dec. 1, reached dealers who typically are not able to attend the live show.
Dealers could log onto the portal before Northern Wholesale Supply visited and watch sales representatives’ videos addressing products and “the types of things you would normally talk to dealers about in the booth,” Kruchten said.
Though Northern Wholesale Supply previously used the online portal during live shows, this was the first time the company included online pre-show ordering. Kruchten said the portal includes every listed products’ images in one location, sourced from several suppliers.
“In the past, we used it as a show ordering site, a laundry list of item numbers, prices and specials,” Kruchten said. “The amount of content suppliers provided helped us load up content at the pace we did.”
Northern Wholesale Supply’s live show includes dealer training, another aspect Kruchten said the industry missed with the show’s cancellation. “We are circling back and putting a plan together to do the same thing we did with our show,” he said, “but from a training standpoint on products and services.”
Northern Wholesale Supply plans to break up the training and take it back to dealers. Kruchten said the company hopes to compile interested dealers, training curriculum and a schedule by mid-February or March.