Service outlets need new sales and marketing strategies for brakes, tires and batteries, according to DME Automotive. A new report from the Daytona Beach, FL-based automotive marketing firm shows a substantial shortfall in shops keeping motorists apprised of the need to replace these components.
A national survey of more than 2,000 U.S. vehicle owners indicated that only one car owner in 12 first learned that they needed new brakes, tires or a battery from a dealer or mechanic. DME contends that service outlets have an overly passive sales approach, which is leading to lost revenue opportunities.
To combat sales passivity, the firm suggests that complimentary, comprehensive multipoint inspections happen at each service visit.
And, while the survey reveals that consumers, on average, do a large amount of research on these services, it’s the under-35 customer that is far more likely to research providers and to start researching further in advance. DME also found that those under 35 are exponentially more likely to both buy, and consider buying, their tires and batteries online.
DME recommends that service outlets create a high-visibility, engaging online shopping platform for batteries and tires, with clear pricing, a range of price points and detailed product features in order to attract these motorists.
“The holy grail is to implement marketing programs that can anticipate when a customer is ready to make a brakes, battery, or tire purchase, and deliver timely, relevant campaigns that interrupt their typical research windows — to put that store top of mind when it most matters,” said Doug Van Sach, vice president of strategy and analytics at DME Automotive.
And, while both the aftermarket and dealerships are missing out on crucial revenue opportunities, Van Sach said that other, recent DME research reveals that aftermarket players are winning the brakes/battery/tires war, with only 64 percent of dealer customers reporting that they would consider using dealers for brake services … 46 percent for battery replacements … and 36 percent for tires. Additionally, only 44 percent are likely to choose dealerships for these services (in aggregate) within the first two years of in-warranty ownership. And, as vehicles hit three to six years, dealers lose roughly half of this business.
Furthermore, DME research shows that, for dealers, snagging the under-35 shopper is mission critical, as roughly half of aftermarket chain loyalists are now under 35, while half of dealer loyalists are an aging 50-plus.
Some other key findings from DME’s research …
Too Little Monitoring And Selling: Customers aren’t actively monitoring their brakes, battery and tire health — and neither are service outlets — as 70 percent of respondents reported that they realized they needed to replace their battery because it was already dying/dead; 44 percent realized they needed new tires because they personally noticed they were worn out; and 69 percent became aware that they needed brakes because they were squeaking, grinding or having other issues.
Only 5 percent said they learned they needed tires because of a dealer or mechanic recommendation. For batteries, it was 9 percent. And, for brakes, it was 21 percent.
High Research Levels: A high level of provider-selection Internet research is going on, as 39 percent said they researched where to have their most recent battery replaced, with 77 percent performing that research within a week of replacement. For brakes, 41 percent researched where to have them replaced, with 63 percent starting that research within a week of service.
For tires, research levels are even higher, and people are also taking more time to find the right place to buy. DME found that 58 percent of respondents researched their last tire purchase, and 47 percent began researching stores a month or longer before they pulled the trigger.
Much Higher Research Rates For Younger Shoppers: DME’s survey found that the under-35, dealer-resistant consumer is more than two times more likely to research their brake, battery or tire purchase than those over 35. For brakes, it breaks down as 66 percent under 35 doing research and only 26 percent over 35 doing so. For batteries, it was 62 percent vs. 25 percent. And for tires, it came out at 69 percent vs. 51 percent.
Additionally, younger car owners research significantly further in advance. For instance, for tire purchases, they’re 62 percent more likely to start their tire research two months to five months out, compared with those over 35.
Those under 35 also are more likely to consult a variety of external sources, especially digital media. For example, the survey examined the tire purchasing process and found that younger consumers consulted every commonly used resource when researching tires — whether TV or print ads or asking a mechanic or friend — at higher rates than those over 35. They were also nearly three times more likely (31 percent) to consult store websites than those over 35 (13 percent), with store sites representing the No.-1 resource this younger shopper uses.
Younger Owners Are More Likely To Buy Online: The under-35 customer is also much more likely to buy, and consider buying, their tires and batteries online. When it comes to buying batteries online, 38 percent of those under 35 said they do it and only 10 percent of those over 35 do. For buying tires online, in came out at 17 percent for those under 35 and a mere 2 percent for those over 35 percent.
It’s worth noting that those that have made online purchases seem very satisfied across all age groups, as more than 90 percent that have purchased batteries or tires online said they would do so again.
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