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Latest News: MRAA's Annual Conference & Expo

Sell More Parts In-Store and Online

Wednesday, October 1, 2014   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Lindsey Johnson
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An efficient and profitable dealership parts department helps customers secure what they need to get back on the water as fast as possible. But without an easy way to locate parts and estimate delivery times, it’s anyone’s guess when boats and engines will be fixed.

At the 2014 Marine Dealer Conference & Expo, taking place Nov. 16-19 in Orlando, Fla., product management expert and first-time MDCE speaker Brad Smith will help attendees bolster their parts and service department results by taking advantage of online and in-store genuine parts look-up, which can integrate seamlessly into the dealership’s website.

In his MDCE session, "Sell More Parts In-Store and Online,” Smith will highlight how dealerships can take advantage of today’s technology tools to empower business staff to find replacement parts customers need, fast and accurately, all with just a few clicks of the mouse.

Attendees will walk away from Smith’s session with an e-book to put what they learned to work at the dealership. The session takes place Wednesday, Nov. 19 from 1 to 2:15 p.m. ET as part of MDCE’s Service Plus Track.

"Service and parts department efficiencies are critical to a dealership’s financial health,” explains Liz Walz, director of education for the Marine Retailers Association of the Americas, which produces the annual event in partnership with Boating Industry. "Brad will help dealers understand how to use existing technologies to improve sales and customer service.”

Each of the 2014 MDCE educational tracks — Sales, Marketing, Leadership and Service Plus — has five sessions. In addition to Smith’s advice on increasing parts profits, the Service Plus Track’s sessions feature topics such as beefing up service department leadership skills, transforming customer conflicts, boosting accessories sales, and developing a Master Service Advisor, among others.

"The parts department can be a great profit center for dealers, if they have the tools to quickly and effectively market and sell parts to consumers,” says Boating Industry editor-in-chief Jonathan Sweet. "Brad understands how to harness this potential and put it to work for the dealership.”

The 2014 MDCE will offer 30 educational sessions in all, the most the event has ever offered, including seven Pre-Conference Workshops. The conference has traditionally included three educational tracks, but in 2014, it has expanded to four tracks: Leadership, Sales, Marketing and Service Plus. A Closing Keynote address also has been added this year.

The MDCE is scheduled for Nov. 16-19 at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Fla. It has attracted an increasing number of dealers every year since 2007. In 2013, MDCE featured double-digit growth in dealer attendance, for a total of 615 marine retail professionals. MRAA’s goal is to grow the event to more than 1,000 dealer attendees. To learn more, visit

About the Marine Dealer Conference & Expo
The Marine Dealer Conference & Expo is the Marine Retailers Association of the Americas’ annual conference and member meeting. As the marine industry’s only dealer-specific educational conference, the MDCE offers an in-depth lineup of educational topics, a full-featured expo hall and a series of fixed networking opportunities, all of which are designed to help marine dealers connect with and learn from others who can foster their success. The MDCE is co-produced by MRAA and Boating Industry, and it features Pre-Conference Workshops, Opening and Closing keynote presentations, four tracks of educational content and 30 sessions in all. It will be held Nov. 16-19 at the Orange County Convention Center and Rosen Centre Hotel in Orlando, Fla. For more information, visit


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