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).
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.”
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.”