About 60 percent of car stereo specialists host web sites that are so out of date, they should be taken down, said Don Lester of Internet Fellas, which helps 12 volt retailers with web site creation and search engine optimization.
Only about 5 percent of car audio dealers have a proper, up-to-date web site, he said.
Many retailers simply host a Facebook page, which isn’t sufficient. “A lot of consumers don’t understand everything we offer as an industry, so you want to send them to a web site [that explains it].” And with a web site you can… capture viewers’ phone number and information, which is the ideal goal,” he said.
A poor web site is simply telling consumers you are outdated, just like the web site.
This was part of the response when we asked a few experts if smaller dealers should participate in Black Friday. And what else can they do to increase store traffic?
Most industry members leave Black Friday to the larger stores, but there are some ways a small retailer can join the pre-holiday frenzy, said the experts.
The only categories small dealers should promote at that time are remote start and window film, says Jon Dewar of Modern Media Geeks. You can make up the profit loss on labor with these products, but only if you are prepared to answer a deluge of calls and emails.
If you can handle a Groupon sale on these items, then you can and probably should join in Black Friday promotions.
Last year $12 billion in sales were transacted over Thanksgiving and Black Friday. And for car stereo retailers, who could use more consumer awareness, Black Friday should be a strong consideration.
“It’s an opportunity to be involved in the spend. If you can do a Groupon profitably then it certainly works for Black Friday,” Dewar said.
Groupon, for example, wants a 50-50 split, so they want to take a $300 item and sell it for $150–$75 for the house and $75 for the retailer. You can negotiate the split, he said, so it can swing 60/40 or more in your favor. “You are going to get a lot of phone calls period. And you have to be able to react quickly. You can’t just…tell people you are booked 8 weeks out. You have to be prepared. For some retailers it’s like printing money.” He said one dealer brings on a second shift to handle Groupon orders. The same strategy is true for Black Friday.
Here are some tips that can serve smaller 12 volt specialists year round or on Black Friday.
First, start with a web site, a good one. Be prepared to spend about $1,500 to $2,000 for an adequate web site. If your aim is to be up and running by Black Friday, the key is to start now because it can take Google four months to fully acknowledge your site, said Lester.
From there, you need proper registration with search engines and local search so you are not invisible, especially on Google Maps. If you put an amplifier model number in a search bar before the results are posted you will see local retailers carrying the product. This is free advertising that shouldn’t be missed. Especially if your competition is registered for it and you are not.
For Black Friday deals, now is the time to approach suppliers for specials. Some of the larger retailers we contacted begin bargaining with suppliers this month or in August and they close deals in September.
Smaller retailers can also get help with web site creation and management through the Mobile Electronics Assn. (formerly MERA). It has created and hosts and manages over 250 dealer websites. The fee is $100/month (with no set up fee, and that also gives you membership). Then it has an SEO package starting at $300 per month.
For larger specialists, Black Friday can be great all around. The promotional efforts of the Mobile Electronics Specialists of America (MESA) buying/marketing group have shown that retail chains can see great results. Many car stereo chains agree with John Coleman of Stereo King, OR, who said “We used to stand back and not pay attention. Now we engage. Not only does it provide an incredible sales opportunity for Black Friday week but it jump starts the whole holiday season.”
If you are interested in improving your visibility on the web, here are some links to car stereo specific consultants, including those mentioned above. If you are not mentioned here, and offer marketing specifically for car stereo retailers, contact us at [email protected]