By Joe Marconi
With Mother Google literally tied to our hands, through our cell phones; are part margins becoming more difficult to achieve? Traditionally, shops use a 50% part margin, which they deserve. But, we live in a world today where part prices are so transparent that maybe we need to rethink this.
Consider this: What if we concede on prices? Hold to a suggested list…BUT…raise our labor rate to offset the loss in overall profit. In other words, keep your parts prices at a margin the consumer will not question, but raise your labor to make up the part profit?
This is being discussed around the country and there are shops that have implemented this strategy. We can’t give up our overall gross profit, so is this a viable option?
By Mail Shark
This informative article discusses digital vehicle inspections and the importance of using it to attract new customers. With contributions from Chris Cloutier from Autotext.me & Tony Mercury from AutoShop Solutions, there is a lot of great info here.
If your shop is considering, or has already invested in Digital Vehicle Inspection (DVI) technology, you clearly understand the tremendous value and benefits that DVI provides. However, the vast majority of the general public does not understand what it is or how it benefits them. After speaking to several shop owners who conveyed to me that their customers have no idea what DVI is when they come into their shops, we decided to ask a random sampling of 104 consumers ages 18+ who all own and have had vehicle repairs within the past 12 months:
“Do you know what a Digital Vehicle Inspection is in relation to getting your vehicle serviced or repaired?”
I’m sure that doesn’t come as much of a surprise. Like many technologies, consumer education simply just takes time. This lack of consumer awareness is a problem for shop owners who are currently utilizing DVI technology and want to use this powerful technology to capitalize on its ability to differentiate their shop from competitors.
How Can DVI Differentiate Your Shop?
Implementation of DVI technology, from a marketing perspective, can help position your shop as professional and highly educated by using the most advanced technology to service and repair your customers’ vehicles. It just may be the most powerful tool at your disposal to create and position your shop as TRUSTWORTHY.
How DVI Creates Trust & Why It’s So Important?
The primary benefit of DVI technology, from a customer prospective, is that it provides them with full transparency to their repairs/services needed. Whenever you bring transparency to what is generally a non-transparent process, it adds a tremendous amount of TRUST.
Being able to convey that potential customers can TRUST your shop is arguably the most critical component to attract them to your shop and, of course, to maintain current customer relationships.
Two out of three U.S. drivers simply don’t trust auto repair shops based on the findings from AAA, with the top reason for the lack of trust being “Recommending Unnecessary Services.”
Top Reasons Why U.S. Drivers Distrust Repair Shops:
According to AAA
This is further echoed by some of the latest consumer research from the Mintel 2019 AUTO SERVICE, MAINTENANCE, AND REPAIR market research report. When asked why they chose their auto service/ repair location over the previous 12 months, beyond shop location and being a returning customer, the top reason reported by respondents was TRUST. The TRUST factor came in above both quality and cost.
Just think about that for a second. We know that the primary reason consumers don’t trust auto repair shops is due to the feeling that they have been recommended unnecessary repairs. We also know that trustworthiness is one of the top factors in determining which auto repair shop they have chosen. Therefore, If these same prospective customers understand that your use of DVI can eliminate these concerns, it would undoubtedly give you a major advantage over your competition. For some thoughtful industry insight, we reached out to Chris Cloutier; DVI guru, successful multi-shop owner and founder of autotext.me, a leading auto repair shop technology software provider that offers DVI technology and many more digital features.
What Does Chris Have to Say?
“As a multi-shop owner, I can attest that many customers are indeed very wary about being charged for unnecessary repairs and have a need for trust to be established, which the DVI greatly helps to solve. For example, the Digital Vehicle Inspection service offered by autotext.me can include multiple pictures and short videos, which serve to educate customers on overall vehicle health and repair needs and recommendations.
Chris Cloutier Autotext.me
By pulling back the curtain and enabling customers to understand the “why” behind recommended repairs, repair shops are able to boost customer confidence as well as increase their Average Repair Order (ARO) if the DVI is properly executed.
A new feature we recently launched, Customer Insights, drills down even further to provide shops with helpful analytics on DVI customer engagement. Shops will be able to see if and when a picture or video was viewed along with whether a video was viewed in its entirety. autotext.me clients can leverage this data to determine how to communicate better with customers and establish best practices for DVI documentation by technicians.
Think about the power a service advisor will now have before talking to a customer. “Mrs Jones, I see you didn’t look at the pictures of your brake pads that are metal to metal. Could you please open those up for me?”
Vehicle inspections are not just a tool to increase your ARO. The ARO increase that shops might anticipate is from one thing only, and that is an informed client. If your client is not being fully informed by your inspection, wouldn’t you like to know?”
Now, the question becomes “what can you do to capitalize on your use of DVI technology to attract new customers?” The answer is, to deploy a strategic and aggressive multi-channel marketing approach.
Direct Mail + A Multi-Channel Marketing Approach is the Answer
First, let’s take a look at why Direct Mail is one of the most powerful tools you can use to promote DVI, followed up with some additional insight from Tony Mercury, Digital Marketing Expert from Auto Shop Solutions, for his perspective, thoughts, and suggestions to help you jump-start your shop’s digital marketing efforts in order to promote your DVI as part of your multi-channel marketing approach.
Why Should You Be Using Direct Mail to Promote DVI?
Direct Mail Is a Trusted Marketing Method
For starters, choosing to utilize direct mail as a marketing platform will ensure your message gets delivered in a method that is also trusted by consumers.
MarketingSherpa, a research and training institute and division of MECLABS, the largest independent research facility, asked 1,200 consumers: “In general, which type of advertising channels do you trust more when you want to make a purchase decision? Please sort the options into ‘Ads I trust’ and ‘Ads I don’t trust that much’ categories.” Below are the results for the “Ads I trust” category.
The results speak for themselves; 76% of the consumers involved in the survey trust direct mail when it comes to making a purchasing decision.
Now, let’s take a look at some important considerations when developing your Direct Mail Marketing strategy.
Consistency is Key
Being consistent with your message is going to be critical in order to educate your prospective customers on the benefits of DVI. We already know there is a lack of consumer awareness, which is why consistency is of utmost importance here. Ensure your message is delivered consistently and across all channels you are using to market your shop.
Don’t Just Say You Offer DVI, Explain the Features & Benefits
One of the biggest mistakes you can make is to merely mention that you offer Digital Vehicle Inspections. It’s critical that the ad copy to support your DVI marketing Campaign gives customers a clear & concise explanation of what a DVI is and, most importantly, conveys how they will benefit from it. Just saying you offer Digital Video Inspections alone without additional context will mean nothing to a consumer and be a wasted effort.
Strategic Ad Copy
In addition to promoting DVI to create trust, you should also be thinking about what else you can include on your direct mail, plus all of your other marketing to support your initiative and on all of your other marketing for that matter, that will support your initiative to position your shop as Trustworthy.
One easy way to do this is by simply telling your targeted prospective customers that they can trust you. According to Roger Dooley, author and expert on the subject of Neuromarketing, “Researchers found that placing the following statement at the end of an ad for an auto service firm caused their trust scores to jump as much as 33%:
“You can trust us to do the job for you.”
This one simple phrase caused consumers to rate the auto service firm in this ad higher in all categories:
Tie It Together With a Strategic Testimonial
Ask one of your Happy Customers for a testimonial that includes their experience with your shop’s DVI process and how they trust your shop because of this process. This will add credibility and give your prospects feedback from a point of view they can relate to.
Choose The Correct Direct Mail Piece(s)
Choosing the right direct mail piece to convey your message is important. You may want to consider using a larger Jumbo 8.5″ × 10.5″ Postcard or even a 10.5″ × 17″ Tri-Fold Brochure to your direct mail program. These larger pieces will give you more space for strategic ad copy to promote DVI as well as other services that a smaller card may not allow for due to size constraints.
That said, you can still use a standard 5.5″ × 10.5″ or comparable size postcard to do the job for you as well. Just make sure that you have the right ad copy. You don’t want your card to be too cluttered with content that it makes the piece illegible or too busy that it becomes confusing.
A Multi-Channel Marketing Approach
Tony Mercury Autoshop Solutions
As we mentioned above, due to the lack of consumer awareness of DVI, the use of a multi-channel marketing approach is critical with this type of consumer education marketing campaign. To add some additional insight from a digital marketing perspective, we asked Tony Mercury from Autoshop Solutions, a premier digital marketing agency for auto repair shops, for his thoughts.
For an effective educational campaign, Tony suggests that you create a short but concise video to show the DVI in action to demonstrate its benefits and the value it provides to prospective clients.
Once you have that video, he recommends using that content on your website, Facebook page and, if you’re using it, Instagram. In addition to the video, Tony suggests accompanying it with a few paragraphs of strategic content to not only support your message, but also benefit from an SEO perspective, and you’ll be on your way to a successful campaign.
Using direct mail is one of the most powerful ways to drive prospects online to watch your informative DVI video, according to Tony. He suggests using a QR Code on your direct mail piece/s that, when scanned, immediately opens up your DVI video and allows prospective customers to view it on demand. Just make sure to instruct your prospects with a clear Call to Action if you want to ensure they scan the QR code or go to your website/social platforms to learn more.
You can also access by clicking the link below or downloading the attached PDF. https://www.themailshark.com/resources/articles/digital-vehicle-inspections-your-auto-repair-shops-marketing-secret-weapon/ Digital Vehicle Inspections Your Auto Repair Shops Marketing Secret Weapon.pdf
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By Joe Marconi
What are you doing for Valentine's Day?
Each year we purhcase small boxes of Chocolates and chocolate roses. We give them out to our customers and delivery drivers a few days before and the day of Valentine's Day. It's a big hit. Everyone loves a little gift.
Other marketing ideas to bring a little fun to auto repair and service?
Advance Auto Parts Announces Purchase of the DieHard Brand from Transformco
RALEIGH, N.C. & HOFFMAN ESTATES, Ill.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Dec. 23, 2019-- Advance Auto Parts, Inc. (NYSE: AAP) has acquired the DieHard brand from Transform Holdco LLC (“Transformco”), for $200 million utilizing cash on hand.
This asset acquisition will give Advance the right to sell DieHard batteries, the most trusted brand in the automotive battery category, and enables Advance to extend the DieHard brand into other automotive and vehicular categories. In addition, the deal allows Transformco to sell DieHard brand batteries through its existing channels pursuant to a supply agreement with Advance. Advance is also granting Transformco an exclusive royalty-free, perpetual license to develop, market, and sell DieHard branded products in non-automotive categories.
“We are excited to acquire global ownership of an iconic American brand. DieHard will help differentiate Advance, drive increased DIY customer traffic and build a unique value proposition for our Professional customers and Independent Carquest partners. DieHard has the highest brand awareness and regard of any automotive battery brand in North America and will enable Advance to build a leadership position within the critical battery category,” said Tom Greco, president and CEO, Advance Auto Parts. “DieHard stands for durability and reliability and we will strengthen and leverage the brand in other battery categories, such as marine and recreational vehicles. We also see opportunities to extend DieHard in other automotive categories. We remain committed to providing our customers with high-quality products and excellent service. The addition of DieHard to our industry leading assortment of national brands, OE parts and owned brands will enable us to differentiate Advance and drive significant long-term shareholder value.”
“DieHard is among the most successful and one of the most widely trusted brands in the auto industry, and we have long believed that the brand has even more potential,” said Peter Boutros, President of Transformco’s Kenmore, Craftsman and DieHard business unit. “DieHard revolutionized the automotive battery category when it launched in 1967, and has continued to be a leader in the category. Advance Auto Parts’ acquisition of this iconic American brand will complement our plans to introduce new DieHard products in non-automotive categories such as sporting goods, lawn and garden, authentic work wear and other exciting new categories.”
About Advance Auto Parts
Advance Auto Parts, Inc. is a leading automotive aftermarket parts provider that serves both professional installer and do-it-yourself customers. As of October 5, 2019, Advance operated 4,891 stores and 152 Worldpac branches in the United States, Canada, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The Company also serves 1,260 independently owned Carquest branded stores across these locations in addition to Mexico, the Bahamas, Turks and Caicos and British Virgin Islands. Additional information about Advance, including employment opportunities, customer services, and online shopping for parts, accessories and other offerings can be found at www.AdvanceAutoParts.com.
Transform Holdco LLC is a leading integrated retailer focused on seamlessly connecting the digital and physical shopping experiences to serve its members – wherever, whenever and however they want to shop. Transformco is home to Shop Your Way®, a social shopping platform offering members rewards for shopping at Sears, Kmart and other retail partners. Transformco operates through its subsidiaries with full-line and specialty retail stores across the United States.
Certain statements in this report are “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. All statements, other than statements of historical facts, may be forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements address future events or developments, and typically use words such as “believe,” “anticipate,” “expect,” “intend,” “plan,” “forecast,” “guidance,” “outlook” or “estimate” or similar expressions. These forward-looking statements include, but are not limited to, statements related to the benefits or other effects of the acquisition, statements regarding expected growth and future performance of the Company, and all other statements that are not statements of historical facts. These statements are based upon assessments and assumptions of management in light of historical results and trends, current conditions and potential future developments that often involve judgment, estimates, assumptions and projections. Forward-looking statements reflect current views about the Company's plans, strategies and prospects, which are based on information currently available as of the date of this release. Except as required by law, the Company undertakes no obligation to update any forward-looking statements to reflect events or circumstances after the date of such statements. Please refer to the risk factors discussed in "Item 1a. Risk Factors" in the Company's most recent Annual Report on Form 10-K, as updated by its Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q and other filings made by the Company with the Securities and Exchange Commission, for additional factors that could materially affect the Company’s actual results. Forward-looking statements are subject to risks and uncertainties, many of which are outside its control, which could cause actual results to differ materially from these statements. Therefore, you should not place undue reliance on those statements.
Source: Advance Auto Parts, Inc.
Advance Auto Parts:
T: (984) 389-7207
E: [email protected]
T: (919) 227-5466
E: [email protected]
T: (847) 286-9036
E: [email protected]
This press release features multimedia. View the full release here: https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20191223005397/en/
RALEIGH, N.C.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Nov. 1, 2019-- Advance Auto Parts, Inc. (NYSE: AAP), a leading automotive aftermarket parts provider, has launched a new learning management system designed to provide training programs that grow an automotive professional’s knowledge and skills throughout their entire career. Advance regularly serves more than 26,000 individuals in North America each year with training courses offered through the company’s Carquest Technical Institute (CTI) and Worldpac Training Institute (WTI) programs.
Training from Advance now combines courses available online and in the classroom from CTI+WTI into an integrated training solution, giving aftermarket professionals access to a robust library of technical training and business management education. Career Pathways, which feature a structured set of online and classroom events to establish mastery of technical and business competencies, are currently targeted to the General Service Technician and Professional Technician, with Senior Technician, Master Technician, and a number of specialist programs coming by the end of the year.
“Delivering quality training is critical to addressing the technician shortage facing the automotive industry,” said Chris Chesney, Senior Director of Customer Training at Advance. “Integrating the expertise and curriculum of CTI+WTI into a centralized, easy-to-use platform enables Advance to go to market with an unrivaled training program. No matter what stage a person is in the life of their career, training is crucial to their long-term success.”
Shop owners can track the progress of their technicians and staff through Career Pathways specific to the type of work they perform at their shop. Training participants receive certifications within the CTI+WTI platform as they complete training programs and advance in their career.
“The advancement of automotive technology requires that our industry has access to leading edge training to keep pace with modern vehicle systems,” said Rob Morrell, Senior Director of Customer Training at Worldpac. “CTI+WTI’s new learning management system enables national accounts and independent shops alike to help attract, retain and grow talent.”
CTI+WTI have hosted more than 45,000 training events in the organizations’ 20-plus year histories. For more information, visit CTIonline.com or WTIonline.com.
About Advance Auto Parts
Advance Auto Parts, Inc. is a leading automotive aftermarket parts provider that serves both professional installer and do-it-yourself customers. As of July 13, 2019, Advance operated 4,912 stores and 150 Worldpac branches in the United States, Canada, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The Company also serves 1,250 independently owned Carquest branded stores across these locations in addition to Mexico, the Bahamas, Turks and Caicos and British Virgin Islands. Additional information about Advance, including employment opportunities, customer services, and online shopping for parts, accessories and other offerings can be found at www.AdvanceAutoParts.com.
View source version on businesswire.com: https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20191101005436/en/
Source: Advance Auto Parts, Inc.
T: (540) 589-8102
E: [email protected]
T: (919) 227-5466
E: [email protected]