How Did Toyota Supercharge Auto Accessory Sales?

Bring the auto show feel to the showroom floor with the UltraGrid Merchandising System. We’re supercharging auto accessory sales by making them more visible, accessible, and engaging. See how UltraGrid is driving accessory sales at Stevinson Toyota West in our case study.

Read More View next experience View all experiences
Toyota UltraGrid Merchandising System

Supercharging Auto Accessory Sales

There’s something about the touch of chrome, the strength of steel and the feel of plush new carpet that excites the senses. It stirs the emotions and strikes a chord deep inside that compels us to say to ourselves, “I need to buy that.”

For new car dealers, accessory sales are a critical – and often untapped – resource to maximize profits. And while it’s true that encouraging add-on items like running boards, roof racks and premium floor mats can build the bottom line and boost commissions, accessories aren’t always top of mind for sales staff or customers.

Stevinson Toyota West was out to change all that. The dealership, a Top-5 overall new car dealer in Lakewood, Colorado, reached out to DCI Marketing upon the recommendation of the accessory group at Toyota.

“In short, they were looking to supercharge accessory sales,” says Mike Schaefer, account director for DCI Marketing in Milwaukee.

And “supercharge” is just what DCI did.

An abstract illustration of a UltraGrid System holding auto parts.

“UltraGrid really brings the auto show feel to the showroom floor.”

Jane Horner

DCI Vice President of Account Strategy

To accelerate accessory sales, DCI knew the key was to make accessories more visible, accessible and, ultimately, desirable. Insight-driven design and strategy led to the development of the UltraGrid Merchandising System, an innovative modular series of structures designed to effectively display actual samples of even the largest OEM accessories, allowing customers to see, touch and experience the quality of these add-on parts.

“UltraGrid really brings the auto show feel to the showroom floor,” says Jane Horner, DCI vice president of account strategy. “Not only does it add the excitement of dimension and color, but it’s designed to give customers the opportunity to feel the quality of the OEM parts and better imagine that accessory on their vehicle.”

The modular UltraGrid wall systems are rugged, self-contained retail fixtures that can be used individually for smaller displays or paired together to form a larger experience. Each module features a proprietary perforated steel backwall panel and TwistGrip fasteners and brackets that allow nearly any full-size part to be mounted and secured to the front of the display. Even a 90-pound roof rack.

Slots in the wall panels are strategically positioned to provide almost unlimited configuration of accessories on display. Heavy-duty zip ties can be threaded through the TwistGrip fasteners to provide an additional level of discreet security.

DCI strategists knew that for the solution to be most effective, they needed to develop a system that would elevate accessories in the showroom and enhance visibility. To that end, DCI included both programmable Smart Pixel LED panels and backlit full-color tension graphics to the tops and sides of each module to create a high-impact and dynamic experience without being distracting.

Stevinson Toyota West sales associates affectionately call their UltraGrid display system “The Wall,” and it has transformed the way the dealership’s sales staff views accessories. Many have found that the convenience and effectiveness of the display has catapulted their retail accessory sales as they’ve now built them into the sales process.

“So far, ‘The Wall’ has been an unmitigated success for us,” says Deck Hughes, Stevinson Toyota West general manager. Hughes notes that sales of retail parts are solidly up 20% in the 3-month period following installation of the UltraGrid system. Most impressive, he says, is that those retail parts sales are up during the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting statewide restrictions in Colorado.

“Retail accessory sales are the only segment that’s up for us,” he says, giving much of the credit to the new UltraGrid display. “It’s definitely doing its job.”

Reese Jones, a Stevinson parts care professional, says he considers UltraGrid to be an extension of his parts department and gives credit to the new accessory display system for what he calls “a large boost” in accessory sales. “Placement on the showroom floor has had the biggest impact on the sale of accessories,” Jones says. “The wall works.”

According to Jones, accessory sales at Stevinson Toyota West have noticeably increased since the UltraGrid system was installed. “I can say for sure that we’ve had more sales associates actively working with customers to add accessories to their vehicles from the wall,” Jones says.

The market for accessories is fertile and vast; however, many dealerships struggle to move them. Much of that can be attributed to sales staff not being fully informed on accessories. “No one likes to give the impression that they don’t know what’s available,” Horner says.

UltraGrid has that covered. DCI product designers developed a customizable fact tag system, which communicates attributes and prices, all designed to get relevant information in front of the salesperson and customer.

An abstract photo collage of an UltraGrid System holding auto parts and being installed.

“It’s a simple thing, but having the accessories, prices and facts available at the point of sale gives the sales staff confidence, which translates into trust for the customer,” Schaefer says, noting the UltraGrid EZ Tag System includes a PDF template that can be easily updated and printed whenever descriptions and prices need to be changed.

“The UltraGrid EZ Tags with installed pricing really help speed up the sales process,” says Andre Wood, Stevinson sales associate. “It beats having the customer wait while I’m standing in line to get a price from the parts department when they are busy.”

Key to the impact of the UltraGrid system is that it creates a destination for accessories on the showroom floor. Customers who are free to browse the selection of available options often approach the salesperson with a purchase in mind, which drives sales and profits.

“It’s an attraction in the showroom,” Hughes says. “You can’t walk into the showroom and not be compelled to walk over there to get a closer look.”

By the Numbers

An abstract illustration of a pie chart and calendar.


Increase in sales of retail parts in the 3-month period following installation
An abstract illustration of an UltraGrid system with a white checkmark over it.


Roof racks mount with ease
An abstract illustration showing a variety of wheel sizes can fit in the UltraGrid Wheel Tower.


Range of wheel sizes displayed in the UltraGrid Wheel Tower

In some cases, sales staff may steer clear of conversations about accessories because they fear the customer will want them thrown into the deal. When the idea to purchase accessories comes first from the customer, they are more likely to pay full price.

“The full-size parts display is far more effective than a brochure or flyer, to which many customers respond, ‘I’ll think about it’ and will then go home and order an aftermarket accessory online,” Schaefer says. “With UltraGrid, we’re hearing from salespeople who are saying, ‘I don’t have to bring up accessories – the customers are bringing them up.’”

The DCI accessory display strategy helps capture those customer impulses. And it does that while also reducing the hands-on touchpoints of sell sheets or catalogs, which is critical in the COVID-19 era.

Realizing that wheels were another underleveraged accessory, DCI also recommended and developed free-standing UltraGrid Wheel Towers to work with the accessory displays. These moveable fixtures are designed to hold 16- to 22-inch wheels, accessories that have traditionally been difficult to display due to their size and weight.

A photo of a Wheel Tower configuration.

“Wheels can have a huge impact on the look of the vehicle,” Schaefer SAYS. “With actual products on display, a customer is better able to imagine how they will actually look on their car.”

UltraGrid Wheel Towers give customers the chance to get close to the wheels, touch them, feel the thickness of the alloy and the smoothness of the finish. They become real, and it’s easier for the customer to imagine them on their vehicle – much more effective than even the glossiest brochure.

It didn’t take the Stevinson Toyota West staff long to realize the jump-start UltraGrid was going to give sales. Says Jones, “Wheels, tires, and running boards were sold off the wall the first day it was up.”