Finally! A Rewards Program for Tire & Service Dealers

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The Only Marketing Program You May Need   Over the past few years, I have worked on a platform to provide a custom marketing solution for Independent Tire and Service Dealers. Today, I am really excited to announce the availability of the Retail Tire Solutions Loyalty Rewards Plus Marketing Program.   This Marketing Platform will change the way you market to your customers forever!  It very well may be the only marketing program you need going forward! Why it took so long? One of the most difficult problems associated with offering marketing programs to Independents, is the reality that there are so many different POS systems being utilized by Tire Dealers and almost as many single store operators. Marketing programs that have the ability to Reward current customers,  Win Back lost customers, Acquire new customers, Improve Gross Sales and provide you with some pretty cool Tools that measure return on investment (across many platforms) can be fairly expensive to the average … [Read more...]

What is the Best Kind of Advertising?

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Answer? A program that insures your bays are filled every day with customers that will purchase Tires and Service from you, at reasonable gross margins. There shouldn't be any mystery about that. The question is - what does that program look like? Well if you are a Big Retail Chain or New Car dealership, the program looks a lot different then if you are a small or midsize Independent. Big Retail and New Car Dealers have the resources and budgets for sophisticated database programs, amazing websites and over the top digital campaigns, while still spending big bucks on traditional advertising. To assess ROI on each campaign, Big Retail and New Car Dealers have really cool tools that can analyse every metric under the sun. If you are an Independent (if you advertise at all), you probably have a web site, FaceBook page and Twitter Account (or at least I hope so). You may do some ADVO or Money Mailer type advertising monthly and a declined service/reminder program. For big events, … [Read more...]

Is it Time it Rethink your Retail Strategy?

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Independent Tire Dealers face new challenges every day!  Fact is that selling and installing only tires is increasingly becoming a recipe for failure.  Faced with shrinking margins and fierce competition from large chains, clubs and internet wholesales, the Independent Tire Dealers must focus on strategies that provide "one stop" vehicle maintenance services as well as tires just to keep their current customers.  "We do it all, if we let our customers go anywhere else for automotive related services, we may lose them for ever." says John Marino from Marino's Auto Service in Sun City AZ.  "We recently just started stocking tires, because we don't even want our customers to buy tires from anyone else.  Our tag line is "Customers for Life", and we mean it!" National Chains will do whatever they can to put tires on your vehicle, even to the point of losing money.  A Regional Director for a large National Tire & Service Chain recently explained it like this, "It costs us $350 to get … [Read more...]

Are You Connected?

…To your suppliers?  Electronically?  Why should you be?  You could be wasting lots of time and money, and making costly mistakes, by entering things multiple times.  In today’s electronic age, connectivity is much easier and more affordable than it has been in past years. When computers exchange data, instead of humans re-entering it, there is virtually no margin for error.  The system doesn’t change the numbers along the way; data remains constant.  Just think of credit card processing for a moment.  There are millions of transactions that are being processed every day, error free.  When is the last time you had a credit card statement come through with a different amount than what you signed for?  Typically any errors in charges were created by the person manually keying in the amount of the charge.  And then those charges appeared on your receipt, right or wrong. In addition to data integrity, speed and efficiency come into play.  Imagine needing to look up a part for a … [Read more...]

Credit Card Financing Tips from GE Money

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There is a great series of  three short videos that I recommend that you view over at GE Money's site.   The videos discuss real world strategies on how to introduce financing to your customers. I am a big fan of utilizing in-house customer "preferred" cards to finance purchases.  Inpart because its a proven fact that store-card customers spend more money, complain less frequently (mostly due to elimination of buyers remorse) and are much more loyal to your business then bank card or cash customers.  Check out the videos and let me know what you think. The videos are only about 4 minutes each.  You can find the videos here. Be sure to down load the talking points also found on the very same page. … [Read more...]

How to Grow New Customer Count by 40% in 90 Days

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In Automotive Retail; statically speaking, the average new customer costs a dealer somewhere in the neighborhood of $300 to acquire.  These customer acquisition cost are mostly related to advertising expenses and promotional “lost liter” services. So you spend $300 to get yourself a new customer.  A customer, that if you do a good job will be a customer for life; spending on average between $300 – $1000 per year. Sounds good right?  Now for the bad news – As an industry, our customer retention rate for first time customers is only 30%!  That means that for every ten new customers that come into your shop with that $15.99 oil change coupon, only three will return. Not too good, right? Sounds like we are not doing a good job MOST of the time with our new customers (as an industry). Why don’t they return? There are lots of reason, but the reality is we didn’t do anything to WOW our new guests.  We didn’t do anything to differentiate ourselves from the … [Read more...]

The Case for Internet Marketing

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Here are the Facts: There are approximately 227 Million people on line in the United States.  Thats 74 percent of the Entire Population!  Consumers now shop on line in two ways: 1) E-Commerce – (Like Tire-Rack) – 3% of online purchases 2) ROBO – Research Online, Buy Offline The E-Commerce Purchases made up approximately 1 Billion Dollars in 2008.  Meanwhile ROBO accounted for over 10 Billion . Why NOT to Advertise in the Yellow Pages? The Internet has replaced the Yellow Pages for local searches.  For every person that looks up a business in the Yellow Pages, 9 people look up online.  There is 11 Million searches per month for tires and over 4 Million searches for “car repair” and “auto repair” for the same time period. In addition; the internet remains the cheapest form of advertising, costing only 1/10 the cost of prime time TV, 1/4 the cost of radio and 1/3 the cost of newspapers. To combat the internet; Yellow Pages has started offering … [Read more...]

Keeping Score

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When meeting a potential client for the first time, I usually ask a series of questions such as: What is your Customer Count?  What is your Gross Profit Percent?  Are your Sales Better or Worst then Last Year? How about your Break Even Point? These are pretty basic questions that should have some pretty straight forward answers.  After all, where is the subjectivity in gross profit? Surprisingly, I have come across more then my share of Dealers that can’t give me an answer to these benchmarks that are so critical to the success of their business. The following, while not an exhaustive list, are fairly critical Key Performance Indicators (KPI) that I currently use to measure the “health” of an Automotive Retail Business along with industry benchmarks. The time periods that are measured are Month to Date and Year to Date.  Both periods are benchmarked Better or Worse (B/W) then Last year.  Month to Date is tracked daily where Year to Date is usually … [Read more...]