MANASQUAN, New Jersey— 13 years ago, a homegrown business on the eastern seaboard saw a changing tide coming. Win-Tron Electronics, like many proud, American businesses, had built their reputation over decades of face-to-face meetings and connections with customers. But in 2005, the seas of change were shifting: the first forays of social media were already rippling across the societal landscape, and eCommerce giants like eBay and Amazon were changing the way Americans connected with products.
Face-to-face relationships were dwindling. Americans still wanted the best customer service—they just didn’t want to leave their homes to get it.
Today, Win-Tron Electronics is busy preparing for their 13th Annual Online Virtual Dealer Show—their largest sales event of the year—and, uniquely, the wholesale marine electronic industries’ only online dealer show. It’s a show that some called ahead of its time during the Bush Administration, but one that fits the very definition of eCommerce in 2017.
We wanted to know more so we spoke to Eddie Winder, Win-Tron’s president and son of founder, Bill Winder.
Eddie, how did you come up with the idea for an online show?
“Like other wholesalers, we had been holding a traditional dealer show in a hotel, where manufacturers came in and set up booths and presented new products and buying opportunities. But there were two factors that forced us to reinvent our dealer show.”
“Every year 10%-15% of the committed dealers didn’t show. They would say that ‘the weather is too good, or we have to haul boats while we can,’ or they were just ‘too busy to leave their businesses.’”
“And most importantly, as Win-Tron’s business footprint grew, we were no longer doing business just in the tri-state area. We now had important customers in Ohio, Georgia, Louisiana, Texas and other states. Our dealers could not just travel and take time away from their businesses. So my Pop, Bill Winder, suggested, ‘let’s do an online show.’ Dealers can pop in and out of the show at their leisure, shopping for needs without losing focus on the what’s most important, their businesses.”
The year was 2005.”
How was that first Show received?
“The initial show was meet with great enthusiasm both by our manufacturers and our dealers, with 39 manufacturers and hundreds of dealers participating. The promotions included cash back on select products like Garmin RADAR, chart plotters and VHF radios, Furuno fish finders and RADAR, Raymarine chart plotters; and hundreds of other products.”
“That first year, product giveaways included Omaha Steak packages (still offered), lobster dinners (still offered), 20″ LCD TVs and VHF Radios. We also held raffles.”
“Over the years, the cash pot has grown and product giveaways have included Apple iPads, Apple iPods, LED TVs, digital camera, GOPRO® cameras and, sunglasses and laptop computers.”
“In addition, many, many buy-12-get-one-free promotions have been offered.”
“Our dealers really take advantage — they stock up for the year because the pricing is so unbelievably good. We also offer dating terms and arrange for shipping to meet their needs.”
Can you give us a preview of this year’s Show?
“We don’t want to give too much away regarding this year’s show, but we do have a little teaser for dealers interested in learning more.”
A few other highlights:
- Cash is still king and we’ve bankrolled over $100,000 to put into the pockets of our dealers (via Visa gift cards).
- Super Specials from Humminbird, Lowrance and Simrad
- 5%-10% off our already low prices on Fusion, ACR and FLIR
- Show-stopping pricing on Minn Kota Chargers & Trolling Motors
- 5%-10% off our already low prices on Garmin
- 8% off our already low prices on ICOM
- Up to 10% off our already low prices on Standard Horizon
- Exclusive Barnburner Specials on Bennett Marine Trim Tabs
- 10% back off our already low prices on NAVIONICS + CASH BACK
- Great savings on LED lighting from Underwater Lights Limited, OceanLED, Shadowcaster and Lumitec
- Savings and Cash-back on Newmar
- Free lobster and steak dinners
- Flat-rate freight, dating terms and much much more.
If you want to put some cash in your pockets, take advantage of great discounts, product giveaways, and other once-a-year savings, you just have to login November 2nd through the 8th. Have questions or want to register to become a dealer, just give us a call: 732-449-4211 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.”