Whether your shop is open or closed, retail is changing, and not just for the short term, say industry experts.
“It’s time to re-invent the way you do business from the front door to the rear bay,” said Mobile Solutions CEO Bryan Schmitt.
Here are some of his tips on changing your business for the post-pandemic world.
Just as restaurants are displaying banners that say, “We Offer Takeout,” your a banner might say, “We Sanitize Your Car.”
Air travel is down, cruise ships are docked, so “road trips will be huge; going to state parks, camping.” Develop a strategy for people going on road trips. This can include powersports, motorcycle and UTV add-ons. “Gas is cheap, people are going to be driving more,” said Schmitt.
Consider buying an ozone generator; they start at a cost of around $79. Some literature says it kills viruses, bacteria, mold and odors. Be careful though, it’s toxic to humans while running, so no one can be in the car during operation. You run it in the car for 1.5 hours before working on the vehicle to protect the installer and then again when you’re finished to protect the customer. Charge for this sanitizing service. [Editor’s note: We have not been able to confirm the effectiveness nor safe use of ozone generators in the car].
Ten percent of consumers are scared to go out, 80 percent cautious and ten percent don’t care. We need that 80 percent to feel confident about buying again:
Show via video your new sanitizing protocols.
You should also be sanitizing your tools.
Explain your new contactless prepayment procedures and explain how you take possession of the car with minimal or no contact.
Tips from the Mobile Electronics Leaders Forum led by Tony Dehnke.
Consider ordering face masks with your store brand on them or your store logo; they are available online. You can even leave one or two of them (each sealed) in your customers’ cars after you’ve worked on them.
People may want more virtual quotes. The industry for 30 years has been focused on getting people in the stores. Now its time to consider limiting the customer’s role in the store.
The in-store demo may become a video you play on a screen in the store. You may be filming video all around the store more often, and may need to upgrade your WiFi so you can wander outside in the parking lot.
If you’ve posted some videos about your store, update them with the employees wearing masks.
Every store should have a hand pump sanitizer when you enter the store. Look at commercial versions where you wave your hand under the device and it gives you a squirt. It sends the message that your shop cares about customer health.
Send out an email blast with your new COVID-19 regulations.
When you take a customer through an in-car demo, have alcohol wipe packets that you rip open to wipe down the radio screen and other surfaces. Make sure you’re wearing a mask.
Put stickers on the demo car that advertise other services like window tint.
Consider renting out your laser cutter or CNC machine to others for extra revenue.
Common Tips That Bear Repeating (offered by Hushmat)
If you are closed or partially open, here are some standard tips for preparing to reopen:
Pay attention to curb appeal basics – landscaping, signage, paint, clean windows. These can all be addressed with your own personnel – in other words – low cost.
Enter your store with a “customer perspective” – does it look organized, well lit, clean – is there a standard flow to your presentation?
Are all displays functional? Present the latest in product offerings. Are all employees trained on the functionality and sales pitch for each?
If you have inventory – consider a “Post Pandemic” sale – get customers used to coming back into your store.
Do you have a system in place to insure all accessories are added to each sale?
Photo: Columbus Car Audio