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Surprising Things Your Counterpeople Know … That You Don’t! (Part 3)

Surprising Things Your Counterpeople Know … That You Don’t! (Part 3)

In the third installment of “Surprising things your counter people know that you don’t”, we will look at the explosion of online ordering and what it means to your dealership. Your counter staff has the insight into the buying behavior of your customers. We’ve given you some insight over the past few weeks – now it’s time to put these insights into action.

More customers are ordering online than you realize.  According to the 2007 Automotive Service Association (ASA) ‘How’s Your Business?’ Survey, more than 80% of independent mechanical repairers are buying online today.  While this seems counter-intuitive to your phone ringing off the hook all day, every day; your counter people know that even YOUR customers are buying from you online because they are processing orders every morning.

In fact, 52% of all RepairLink orders occur after hours when your parts department is closed.

online ordering hours of the day chart for 12-3-15

Let’s Review

In part one, we learned that price is not the top decision factor when your customers are deciding where to buy parts from.

Part two highlighted the importance of delivery speed.

Now you know some secrets your counter people may have known all along. What’s next?

Putting this Insight to Work

Understanding customer behavior is critical to how you run your business.  The above insight offers the ability to adjust your business practices accordingly.  Here are a few suggestions:

1. Understand all of the customer’s reasons for buying and then ensure your business practices accommodate this.  Maintain marketable inventories and delivery schedules that offer both consistent and “hot shot” service.  Be easy to do business with by providing the ability to order parts even when you’re not open.

2. Use Price as a variable marketing tool. Price is not always the driver in a buying situation.  Use various pricing models mixed with delivery service to accommodate different buying needs.  Offer greater discounts if the buyer can wait until your truck is in the area while charging more for “hot shot” delivery.  Also consider price as a loss leader tool to help motivate buyers to use you as their one-stop shop.

3. Motivate customers to transition from labor-intensive phone calls to online ordering. The bottom line is they’re already doing it!  Talk to your customers and find out what it would take for them to move towards online ordering during the day.  And then implement.  This should be a win-win increasing your productivity while also offering faster and more responsive customer service.

Talk to your counter people and see if they have any more surprising insights for you!