From the Editors

Make shopping your dealership easy

I’m a picky gift-giver. There’s something about giving a great gift that makes me happy, so I labor over every gift I give. If a store or a dealership made gift-giving easier for me, I would be all ears.

I never knew exactly how this could be done, other than with the traditional bridal or baby registries at household good stores. How could you make sure your customers get whatever they want whenever they receive gifts? Be a little nosey.

I recently read a blog that got me thinking about this. The blog was about a holiday campaign run by a chain of department stores. Just before a holiday season, the chain convinced customers to go online and enter their loved one’s contact information. The store then anonymously called the person who was going to receive the gift, received a suggestion from that person and forwarded the information and a discount coupon for the requested item to the gift giver. You can read more about the promotion and see a video about it here. 

Though an arduous project like that may be unrealistic for most dealers, something similar can be put into place. Nearly every dealer has a DMS that allows for input of personal information about customers. Think about keeping track of customers’ birthdays. If they have a significant other, take down that person’s contact information as well. Then you could contact that person shortly before the customer’s birthday with a coupon, special offer or simply an invitation to stop by. Keeping track of birthdays is also great for a birthday marketing message from you to the customer as well.

To offer high-quality gift suggestions, have your sales, parts, or service team members make notes in the DMS every time a customer mentions a future purchase. Maybe your sales staffer recommended a new helmet, but a customer said he couldn’t afford it that day. Put a note in the DMS and recommend a helmet as a gift. Or maybe a customer’s bike could use new tires or wheels. Have your service team note the services that the customer turned down and send out information on those.

Your team could also generate a list of gifts with a quick peek into your DMS. If a customer bought a touring bike but opted out of accessories, then a GPS, some great speakers, chrome accents or other accessories would make great gift suggestions. These recommendations could apply not only for a customer’s birthday, but they could also be sent to customers and their significant others around holidays, such as Christmas, Hanukkah, Valentine’s Day or any other gift-giving time. However, if you’re going to encourage gift-giving, I recommend having a strong return or exchange policy, as not all gear and accessories fit everyone’s style.

If you encourage people to buy gifts at your dealership and the gifts are appreciated, they’re going to return. And maybe you’ll gain an added customer in someone’s significant other.

Liz Hochstedler is the associate editor of Powersports Business, a trade magazine for the powersports industry. She reports on the powersports industry through Powersports Business’ varied media, including in the magazine and online. She assembles the brand’s twice-a-week e-news and handles a variety of assignments for the magazine. Powersports Business is known for its exclusive national dealer surveys, in-depth industry analysis and dealership conference, Profit Xcelerator.

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