Thursday, 14 January 2016

This week saw the Boatshed 2016 2 day Conference held in Gosport at Hardy’s at Haslar Marina. There was representation from approximately 40 Boatshed locations, including the UK and Europe, along with a number of members of the Boatshed HQ team.

The conference was opened by Neil Chapman, who looked at how the business has developed since its incarnation in 1999 and has now grown to have nearly 700,000 active registered users along with over 60 Boatshed locations across Europe, the USA and Asia.

New Technology for 2016

The Boatshed conference is a time when members of the Boatshed organisation get together to discuss new ideas, compare notes and generally discuss ways that the business can be moved forward. This includes members of the Boatshed technical development team from PBS Creative who were on hand to describe some of the new launches for 2016. Technical launches for this conference included a new version of the popular Boatshed Boat Finder system, plus new features that improve the international reach of the Boatshed system, including better translation, currency exchange and international legal and process compliance.

New Boatshed App Launched

One of the main technical launches for 2016 is a new Boatshed web app that will enable brokers to list boats and gather the standard detailed specification and inventory utilising a Tablet or Smartphone. The new Boatshed web app will continue to improve consistency and transparency of boat information across the group and will be especially useful in enabling Boatshed brokers to speed up the process of getting this information live on the Boatshed system and therefore selling boats even faster.

Changing the ways boats are marketed

On the marketing side, Boatshed launched full Google Adword's integration and search engine optimisation measures to make it easier for customers to find boats.

I see a shift from people utilising some of the traditional boat sales portals for searching, towards a trend whereby people are specifically searching for a brand, model, year and price of boat for sale. Boatshed is working hard to make sure that it not only covers the main boat listing portals where people are looking for boats, but also is helping customers when they have decided on specifically the boat they actually want.

Neil Chapman

Our data shows Boatshed customers from a growing number of international locations are searching for specific boats at the right price. Our new search engine integration into the major search engines will give our brokers more options when promoting their boats to an international audience.

Neil Chapman

New Boat sales platform launched

Boatshed also took the opportunity at the conference to launch a "New Boat Sales Platform". Traditionally, Boatshed has only sold used boats but 2015 saw the development of some new processes and technologies to facilitate the sale of new boats. The Boatshed New Boat system was demonstrated at the conference. The system embraces the successful Boatshed principles of transparent, clear information and shows all aspects of a new boat including interviews with the designer, video of the factory, introductions to use and on board facilities by current owners, plus all details concerning pricing, buying process, contractual arrangements, financial processes and after sales.

Neil Chapman comments, “Having sold over 20,000 boats we know our customers love totally transparency and more information about any boat for sale. It means customers can make an informed choice about a particular new boat model before they have to commit to travel or even choose to speak to a sales person!, Our huge reach across the web and 60+ international locations means a very cost effective way to market new boats to potential buyers" Boatshed see that the system will open up the marketplace and offer opportunities for new boat manufacturers who do not have established dealership networks set up to find buyers.”

56 point check for used boats gathers momentum

The Boatshed conference also saw an opportunity for a detailed discussion on Boatshed’s IPA, Independent Pre-sale Assessment initiative, which is now gaining traction. This 56 point check is carried out by a qualified independent surveyor and gives an assessment of all areas of the boat. The data suggests that 90 percent of boats with an IPA see a significant increase in customer activity and so far boats that have undertaken IPA have nearly a 50 percent increase in accelerated rate of sale. Neil Chapman commented, “The IPA is a great way of showing current condition of a used boat. It’s not designed to replace a full conditioned survey in the standard brokerage process but does enable potential buyers to gain a better understanding of a boat prior to them physically seeing it and also enables sellers of boats to make their boat stand out in a busy marketplace.”

Preferred Partners help marine suppliers gain business

Chrissie Capel from Boatshed HQ shared some experience of the Boatshed Preferred Partner system. This is gaining significant traction across the Boatshed network. The system enables Boatshed offices to work seamlessly with partners who offer a range of different marine services, from sail makers through to marine engineers. The system enables Boatshed to hand their customers to trusted local marine partners. Many of the preferred partners offer a discount to Boatshed customers. In turn, it enables Boatshed to better develop relationships on a local level with marine suppliers and encourages customers via this local network of trusted suppliers to gain more listings for the Boatshed organisation.

It was interesting that Boatshed’s preferred transport partner, PSP Logistics, received over 147 enquiries for transportation through the system in the first month of operation.

Chrissie Capel

"Benefits include discounts and assurance of utilising a good supplier for the customer, increased business for our preferred partners and a streamlined service for Boatshed brokers who want to make sure that if works or improvements are required on boats, the broker is putting the customer in touch with a knowledgeable professional quickly and seamlessly."

2016 Awards Ceremony

Boatshed awards were given out to various members of the organisation who have achieved excellence in 2015. The winner of broker of the year this year was jointly won by Boatshed Seattle and Boatshed Midi Canals.

Jo Dixie-Goodwin from PSP Logistics presenting the trophy shared with Graham Wharmby (above) Boatshed Bourgogne and his team and Scott Helker Boatshed Seattle's team.

Security the key to successful boat sales

Day two of the conference saw workshops held on cyber security, protecting customers from threats such as social engineering, plus ways of improving security for Boatshed buyers and sellers.

Love boats? Work with Boatshed in 2016

One workshop covered business development and the recruiting of new brokers across the existing Boatshed network. Boatshed now has a large number of boat owners and boat fans who work part time, listing boats, taking photographs and helping with some of the local aspects This enables Boatshed to tap into a tremendous local talent pool of local boaters and sailors to assist whilst Boatshed Brokers and business owners undertake the back office duties, such as negotiation, vessel paperwork and transfer, financial closings. Boatshed see the launch of their new "Listing App" as a significant aid to the development of this opportunity. www.boatshedbusiness.com

The Conference closed on Tuesday afternoon.

Report from Boatshed HQ, for immediate release.

Questions photos and help contact Marie Parton +442392523992 marie@boatshed.com