Car dealerships presented with advice for maximizing tire sales

Jan. 1, 2020
Trey Hiers, vice president of marketing at the Reynolds and Reynolds Co., which supplies a variety of products and services to new- and used-car showrooms, has prepared a press release in cooperation with the company's Fixed Ops Magazine listing busi
Trey Hiers, vice president of marketing at the Reynolds and Reynolds Co., which supplies a variety of products and services to new- and used-car showrooms, has prepared a press release in cooperation with the company's Fixed Ops Magazine listing business strategies aimed at dealerships eager to improve their sales of tires and accessories. As consumers continue to keep their cars longer, service departments are constantly challenged to find ways to beat independent shops and specialized retailers. Tire and accessory sales are a significant area where dealers can win.

To do that, service departments must excel at the fundamentals – and go beyond traditional thinking to capture consumers’ attention and business. This means being a full-service provider – including tires and accessories – and taking a “retail attitude” toward merchandising and promotions.

When I talk to service departments about improving how they market tires and accessories, I often recommend a “this . . . plus that” approach. The “this” typically involves initiatives they may have been doing for years, but perhaps need to refocus their efforts. The “that” is something new or different to implement in the service department.

Here are three “do this . . . plus that” examples for you to try:

In-Store Displays One of the easiest, but often over-looked, ways to market tires and accessories comes straight from the retail stores – show your products to customers in your dealership.

  • To merchandise tires, place a tire rack prominently in your service drive. Or, if floor space is at a premium, consider a wall-mounted display of tires and wheels. Make it impactful and inviting!
  • For accessories, take a retail approach to displaying your OEM, aftermarket and dealership- branded products. Use clothing racks, shelving and display cases to make the merchandise appealing and accessible to customers.
  • Create a printed catalog containing descriptions, pictures and, yes, even the prices of the tires and accessories that your dealership sells. Make enough copies so that you can place the catalog at the service and parts counters and also in any waiting areas in your dealership.

 

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Make this information accessible.

By creating visual displays inside the four walls of your dealership, you’ll help keep tires and accessories “top-of-mind” with customers, which can lead to increased sales.

Plus Online Displays

You also should consider merchandising and selling tires and accessories outside the four walls of your dealership.

Your website can be a valuable tool in helping consumers both shop for tires and arrange for their installation at your dealership. Ask your website provider whether they offer a “tire finder” option that can be added to your site. Your website also should be set up so that customers can easily request a price quote for tires and make an appointment for installation. Make it streamlined and convenient.

The web is also an important place to merchandise simple (and often high-margin) vehicle add- ons.

If your dealership website provider offers a parts and accessories portal, you can put your accessory catalog online for any consumer with Internet access to browse and purchase. While you might think to target your parts portal just to the “do- it-yourselfer,” don’t shy away from adding OEM, aftermarket and dealership-branded merchandise to your online catalog.

Most parts portals are built to mimic the online shopping experience that consumers are used to from other online retailers, making it easier and more appealing for the average consumer to buy vehicle accessories online. When deciding to add a parts portal to your dealership website – or as a stand- alone site – look for a provider who can offer consumer-friendly features, such as an online shopping cart, ordering and payment and shipment tracking.

Once your parts portal is set up, don’t forget to include this new sales channel in your advertising mix.

 

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You may even consider targeted pay-per-click ads in search engines to help drive additional accessory sales.

Advertising Through the Mail

Chances are you’re already sending direct mail pieces to customers to advertise your service specials, including tires and accessories. This is a tried-and-true method that should be continued, but there are proven ways to maximize your advertising dollars and the results of your ad campaigns.

Your DMS database contains valuable customer and vehicle information that, when mined effectively, can lead to better results for your dealership, particularly when it comes to tire and accessory sales.

By mining your customer database, you can avoid sending out general direct mail blasts to every customer on file and, instead, more precisely target consumers at each point of their vehicle lifecycle.

For example, new car buyers may be more interested in accessory sales soon after their vehicle purchase. Or service customers with vehicles approaching 40,000 miles might soon need to replace their original tires. And customers with even higher mileage vehicles might be in need of their next set of tires.

If you work with a marketing company on direct mail campaigns, in addition to designing the right campaigns and messages, they also may be able to update and augment your DMS data to further enhance the results of your efforts.

 

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Plus Advertising in the Car

Almost every dealership uses a dispatch tag to help route vehicles through the service process. The hangtag is an effective productivity tool. And it also can be an effective in-vehicle advertising channel.

A popular automotive forms printer has redesigned the hangtag to include the necessary numbers and tags combined with full color advertising and coupons. By advertising your tire sales and accessory promotions on the hangtag, you can combine your need for a dispatch system with in- vehicle advertising to generate additional sales. Just don’t forget to leave the hangtag in the vehicle for the customer to see at pick-up!

Customized Specials in the Drive

One of the best opportunities you have for attracting repeat business is to offer customer specials that are good on future service department visits. For example, a coupon for a “buy three tires, get one free” discount on the purchase of a set of tires or a dollars-off coupon for OEM or aftermarket car accessories purchased at your dealership.

For a more personalized touch, contact your DMS provider about how to create unique point-of-sale incentives on the repair order or service invoice that are triggered by the make, model, year or mileage of vehicles brought in for service. These customized, one-to-one marketing opportunities can help you create more relevant tire and accessory up-sell opportunities, increase revenue and customer retention and improve CSI.

Plus Customized Specials for Mobile Phones

While service departments are quickly adopting text messaging as a substitute for contacting customers by phone or e-mail when their car repairs are finished, the next step is adopting mobile phones as a method of advertising service specials.

 

PAGE 5 Again, ask your dealership website provider about the capability to reach consumers on their mobile phones.
  • Push your tire specials out in text message “blasts” to customers who have opted to be reached by mobile phone. You can use the same message you’ve already crafted for direct mail, or you can create a special campaign.
  • Add text-marketing codes to existing advertising campaigns so customers can quickly and easily request additional information about your special tire or accessory offers. For example, add a message like this to your service mailer: “Text TIRE to 274447 for our current tire special.” The reply text-message from your dealership can direct the customer to either a text-based message or mobile-optimized website containing the information about your special.

    Since mobile marketing is a relatively new concept, innovative ways to use this new marketing tool are popping up every day. However, a clear advantage of mobile marketing is that the results of the campaign easily can be tracked and reported to prove ROI.

    The Winning Combination

    As you can see, there’s no single “magic bullet” for increasing tire and accessory sales. Rather, it’s the combination of using retail best practices coupled with technology to maximize sales. When you’re doing a little “this” plus a little “that” in your tire and accessory merchandising, it’ll go a long way toward delivering better results for your service department.

    For more information, visit www.reynoldsandreynolds.com.

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