To ensure that K-Seal, the coolant leak repair product, remains at the top of its game, Kalimex, K-Seal manufacturer, carried out a market research survey to find out from motor factors the current issues affecting sales and how the product is viewed by the trade.
According to the dictionary definition, the seven year itch is ‘the point when you’ve been together so long that you’re tired/bored with each other’. So, in December 2016, when Kalimex commissioned the Jamieson Consultancy, an independent market research agency, for its 7th annual research survey, it hoped that motor factors would still be willing to participate and share their views on the following:
1. Does K-Seal remain their bestseller?
2. How informed are their customers?
3. Has the rise in online sales eroded their over-the-counter sales?
4. Brexit; good or bad for business? 5. Does the trade still endorse K-Seal?
“Reassuringly, the 200 motor factors interviewed were generous with their time and as always incredibly helpful and insightful,” said Mike Schlup, Managing Director of Kalimex, UK distributor of the K-Seal range. “In fact, according to the researchers, this was the best year yet so thankfully no signs of a seven year itch!”
1. Is K-Seal still a bestseller?
If you’re not familiar with K-Seal, it’s a one step permanent coolant leak repair that mixes with all types of antifreeze. It permanently fixes most leaks in the block, head, head gasket, radiator and heater matrix. A repair made with K-Seal is claimed to be guaranteed for the lifetime of the engine. It’s easy to use; simply add K-Seal directly to the cooling system, then shake, pour and go. Two years ago, Kalimex added K-Seal Ultimate Head Gasket Repair to the range. To date, five million bottles have been sold worldwide but, given there are so many coolant leak repair and head gasket fix products available there’s no room for complacency.
Quoted directly from the survey:
• ‘Respondents were asked how the various brands rank in terms of sales (broken down into bestseller, second best and third best) and this year K-Seal is reconfirmed as the overwhelmingly dominant best-selling brand in the leak sealant market.’
• ‘Irrespective of leak type, this audience reports overwhelmingly that it is their best-selling brand.’
• ‘The market for coolant leak sealant products remains buoyant. Demand has increased from 29% in 2015 to 35% in 2016.’
2. How informed are a motor factor’s customers?
98.5% of motor factors reported they are ‘sometimes’ or ‘frequently’ asked for a brand by name. In 2015, the figure was 94.5%. Mike Schlup comments: “The end customer is very well informed. Some of this in the past would have been
down to direct personal experience or word of mouth. However, there has been enormous growth in the use of Google and other online resources as a means of identifying a product ahead of visiting a motor factor. It’s now common practise for a customer to do some online product research before finding the nearest factor to buy it.”
3. Have online sales eroded over-the- counter sales?
The research revealed that 75% of the motor factors interviewed do not sell on the internet but of the 25% that do, their online sales have increased in the last 12 months. Those that do not sell online reported that online sellers with no bricks
and mortar present the biggest threat to their sales and livelihood.
• “It’s not a level playing field out there, people are selling it cheaper when they don’t have to worry about overheads.”
• “They can sell products for silly prices online.”
• “People always wave their phones at me trying to get me to price match.”
However, a handful of the motor factors interviewed that do not sell online reported that the internet presented them with opportunities, with one summing it up as: “I would say that online sites actually help us sell more. People will do their research then come to us to get it. It makes my job so much easier.”
4. Brexit – friend or foe?
One in three of the motor factors interviewed said the decision to leave the EU was having a negative impact on business (with just 4% seeing it as positive). Most said that the increase in the price of imported products was the main reason. Some motor factors said they had made the decision to take the hit and not put their prices up, whilst others said that people were being more careful with their money and restricting their spending.
The upbeat comments included:
- “People are happier and more willing to spend.”
- “We knew the prices were going to go up, so once that steadies it should be relatively positive.”
5. Does the trade still endorse K-Seal?
“Reassuringly the answer to this was an emphatic yes,” says Mike. “Many factors referred to the endorsement from their trade customers as the main reason why K-Seal is such an easy sell. The general consensus was best summarised by a motor factor who told us: ‘It’s the only name the trade asks for; it’s the best.’”
The magnificent seven
Here’s what seven motor factors had to say about K-Seal, selected from the 100+ positive comments:
“It’s an easy recommendation as all the recovery services use it.”
“It sells itself because it does what it says on the tin.”
“It’s a permanent fix, it always works and I’ve used it myself.”
“I’ve seen it work first-hand and it definitely has the best reputation in the market.”
“If K-Seal doesn’t cure it, nothing will.”
“We’ve had three vehicles with leaks and K-Seal worked on every single one, very well.”
“A customer came in three years ago to fix his VW and it’s still going to this day.”