Throughout my almost 20-year career in the automotive industry, sales have always been the superstar. More attention, focus, and marketing resources have always been allocated to that area of the business. That tide is starting to turn. Profit pressure on every area of new and used sales has not only started but is becoming far more of a threat than anytime over the past 10 years.
Using the same digital tactics that are currently being employed in your sales departments you can now utilize these tools in your Fixed Operations Department. Let me explain. The average franchise car dealership website has 18 ways for a consumer to convert into a lead…….18! Our industry has been obsessed with drawing a consumer in and feeling it is necessary to get their name and phone number if they are interested in buying a car.
Why Every Service Special Website Page Has Virtually No Consumer Functionality?
To redeem a service special on most dealership websites today printing is the most viable option. However, considering that the average dealership’s website is greater than 60% Mobile Traffic why would there be no way to download and store that Service Coupon into their smart phone?
The Rise of Mobile Wallet Marketing
On May 2nd, 2017 Tim Cook, CEO of Apple, during his quarterly earnings call cited an increase of 450% year over year in Apple Wallet usage numbers. ** Fortune Magazine (http://fortune.com/2017/05/02/apple-pay-volume-up/) What that is telling the world is that consumers are becoming far more comfortable using their phones as a replacement for their wallets. If you have flown a commercial flight in the last year, virtually every person is using paperless boarding passes. Since the use of Apple Wallet or Android Wallet is becoming more and more main stream, now is the time for Dealerships to start adapting to Mobile Wallet Marketing.
So, how would Mobile Wallet Marketing work for a Franchise Car Dealership?
First, let’s start with every service special the dealership website currently offers. Most dealerships, only have 3-4 offers currently on their website. That is not good enough. One of the biggest factors to consumers choosing National Independent Shops over Franchise Dealerships is lack of knowledge. That means that the consumers really don’t know that in most cases, the dealership is more competitive than Pep Boys & Jiffy Lube for basic services. The Fixed Ops Director needs to work with your website provider to create service specials for the Top 10 most commonly performed services in your dealership. TIP: Use your dealership menu board as guide! Almost all dealership now have a Service Menu Board with pricing somewhere in the dealership that are either digital tv’s or static boards.
Second, now let’s look at how those service coupons are presented to a customer, especially on Mobile. With the example below. The service special is a 15% OFF Any Repair coupon that is capped at $350 Max. By creating a mobile coupon this allows a consumer, in this case an Apple iPhone user, the ability to download it.
Within 2 Clicks, the consumer can go from seeing the special on your website to now having the ability to download that offer into their Apple Wallet.
The Technology Behind Mobile Wallet is the Real Value
Every level of the dealership has been sold on the value of App Downloads in the last 5 years. Mobile App deletion rate in extremely high, whereas Mobile Wallet Pass deletion rates are less than 1% on average. Having a Mobile Wallet Marketing Strategy in 2018 and beyond will be a key component for Fixed Operations Success in the future. Let me be clear… The Value of Mobile Coupon downloads is not for the ease or convenience for your customers. Their satisfaction will be predicated on the level of service at their visit.
The Value for the Dealership will be compounding of coupon downloads month after month, then having the ability to communicate with your customers via this pass. The value of having 1,000, 5,000, even 10,000 people with your dealership’s service coupons downloaded in their wallet is invaluable.
The technology that is embedded within the coupon allows communication and geo-targeting with that mobile device.
First, Push Notifications: A push notification is a message, that is sent instantly to mobile device and is displayed on the locked screen on the phone. A message alerting your customers to discounted service special, one-time pricing or new services can be communicated instantly. How much does it cost to send a highly inefficient OEM Service Direct Mail piece? A push notification on a quarterly basis is free communication, built into the technology of the platform.
Second, Geo Targeting: With each pass, a geo targeted location can be set when any device that enters that specific area. You always will start with your dealership’s location. A message welcoming the consumer to your dealership with a reminder via notification to present the coupon to the service advisor. Next, you can target your competing dealership’s location. When a consumer is within your competitor’s dealership, a message reminding them of your great discounts and service can be instantly sent to that consumer as well. This is more effective if you’re targeting a local Pep Boys or Jiffy Lube which would be less than a few miles away.
Third, Automatic Updates: Service Specials change along with the terms of conditions quarterly. Each pass allows automatic updates to occur which allow those changes to be made. Best practices would be to have a quarterly update to the coupon, possibly just changing the expiration date at the minimum. However, if the pricing of your service changes either higher or lower, the pass can be changed instantly as well.
Now Let’s Advertise and Build a Marketing Strategy Around That Coupon!
These coupons can be incorporated into all forms of your marketing strategy. Digital, traditional, in store and even via the service advisors can be tools for your dealership to increase the download rate of these coupons. Like Pep Boys, your Fixed Ops Marketing strategy should center around your Top 10 Service Specials. Having your dealership’s 2019 Fixed Ops Marketing Strategy center around Mobile Wallet Marketing will be huge step in the right direction. It will create a great foundation for future years of profitability.