Car Audio by Appointment

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Kingpin-showroom

A few months ago, Kingpin Car Audio, Wilsonville, OR made the switch from a car audio shop, to an appointment-only retail sales floor.

There is now a buzzer on the door, and if you don’t have an appointment, you are instructed to call a number and make one.

Yes, owner Jason Kranitz is turning away business since he switched to the format in early July. Some people come to the door, see the sign and never return.  But sales are up by about 16 percent, the close rate has shot up to 90 percent and summer doldrums are gone. He’s up by $40,000 for the month, his two installers are booked out until November 1 and his own installs are booked until January 1. Typically, this would have been a slow month. (Kranitz is a two-time Mobile Electronics Magazine Installer of the Year winner for 2012, 2013 and a two-time Retailer of the Year winner for 2007, 2008).

Kingpin Car Audio showroomThe 9-year old store now holds consultations at 10:30, 1:30 and 3:30 daily.

Kranitz had always wanted to operate like this, but was afraid to take the plunge. Then he lost a salesman, the jobs were piling up and it became a necessity.

“What we’ve seen is the clients come in and think it’s neat.  Some don’t like it, but the ones using it really like it.  They realize we’re going to give them all the time in the world. It’s a little more boutique-ish,” said Kranitz.

Prior to the shift, the shop had about 20 walk-ins a day. It also does dealership work on the side. The average ticket was $1,807. The average ticket is now “way up.”

Kingpin Car Audio garageKranitz is trying to hire someone to answer the phones, take dealership calls and give the tour of the store prior to a consultation.

He admits that he backs down and opens the door for existing clients who want to pick up something. But often, he’ll answer the door and ask if the customer has ever shopped here before and if not, he’s told he needs to schedule an appointment.

Some customers get upset and say they just want to be able to look around. Kranitz tells them, “I can do two things. I can spend as much time with customers as needed and give you as much knowledge as I can, or I can hire 4 or 5 guys on commission and they will have to push whatever they want, so which do you want?”

As part of the deal, the store requires customers leave their car for the full day so the doorbell isn’t ringing for car pick ups.

Kranitz is happy with the new format.  “It’s something I’ve wanted to do forever.  And it’s funny that it came out of necessity.”

 

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5 Comments

  1. I guess with average invoices being north of $1800.00 an appointment only sales floor would certainly be seen as a benefit to the clients who will receive uninterrupted and unfettered attention of their salesman/installer as they work thru the details of installation of a new aftermarket system.
    That level of client pretty much expects that level of attention and exclusive floor time.
    Now on the other hand a shop like ours that has an average ticket of $480.00 ~ $540.00 sees a good amount of walk-in, drive-by traffic would be considered a detriment by both customers and the shop. However, I could see the possibility of arranging after hours appointments on occasions but wait, I do that already for the most part, now do I want to advertise this as a “service” is another question altogether?

  2. We have considered going appointment only a few times. At our shop most of our new clients are either customer or dealer referral. Perhaps the appointment for consultation would act a as filter to weed out tire kickers. To put myself in the customers shoes, it would feel great to have the whole showroom to myself and 100% of the persons attention without the distraction of other customers. It will create buzz in the market, and existing customers that refer their friends get to feel like big shots. “Hey I’ll make a call and get you in to see my guy”, People eat that stuff up. Certainly in “Stack Em High” shops that need the volume to make up for margins this would not be a good solution. Our shop is low volume sort of off the beaten path. We spend more time qualifying the customer making sure the job is right for us and them. It would be nice to do that with less distraction. This would also help out with offsite work like boats & RVs or even fleet work. There is a ton of really profitable work out of the shop. Being able to schedule traffic through the showroom would be a great way to open up time to do the offsite jobs. Additionally, it might help weed out the time suckers that are just going to buy on Amazon once they have picked your brain clean. Jason, thank you for taking the plunge and making it work! Gives me great ideas!

  3. I would never do that in my shop….
    I imagine customers walk in to buy an amp, a box and wiring kit and see the door closed and worse see a sign saying ” you have to make an appointment”. What would a customer do? Why don’t you be the customer and tell me what would you do?
    GO Somewhere else…..sales lost. BAAAAAAD idea.
    That’s my opinion….

    1. Jason’s store is different though, I doubt many of those customers even walk up to his door. This would also never work at my store but for the right place I like it!

  4. I’ve been appointment only for a VERY long time. This is even better. The customer should know it’s all about them (the customer) by taking this route. I honestly applaud Jason for taking this approach.

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