Just saw this Tweet from Ed Brooks on review stations for your dealership by Mike Blumenthal. I have to say review stations for your dealership are a REALLY BAD IDEA but not for the same reasons Mike points out in his post.
If people are going to spam reviews having a kiosk in your dealership or not isn’t going to stop them. Spammers are relentless and most I have met don’t see what they do as wrong at all. So having a kiosk or not in your store for reviews isn’t going to stop or help a spam.
The problem is with a kiosk you get a on the floor conversion leak. Google Places, Dealerrater (unless you are on their premium program) and even Yelp are full of conversion leaks. Links to your competition that could and many cases will cause you a problem in conversion….WHY WOULD YOU WANT TO EXTEND THIS TO THE FLOOR?
Now let me say here I am a big advocate of having people check your reviews especially while they are in the store just not through a kiosk… VIA QR Code! That’s right another place where my friend Ric McCoy the Automotive QR Code King is redeemed from the QR Haters!
By useing a QR code to go directly to your Google Places you get the benefit of the review without the conversion leaks. In mobile on Google Places the ads don’t show!
What else do you get? Convenience the customer can check them from their phone via QR anywhere in the dealership.
What else? Well the best time to get a good review is at the time of delivery, in fact I would have Free Oil Change coupons at the ready for delivery and ask the customer if they have a smartphone, if so would give them a coupon with a QR code to Google Places on it and if they review right there validate the coupon for a free oil change.
Taking that one step further have a mobile optimized website with an easy to type domain like reveiwRC.com so if they don’t have a QR code reader they can just type in that easy domain go straight to the mobile site that would link to all your review sites Google, Yelp and Dealerrater so they can review where they like.
In the end this is better than a kiosk, it eliminates conversion leaks and makes it easier for the customer.
But if you want to get a 100% shot at getting a review then have the review kiosk at the delivery area and make it the final stop before the customer leaves and a part of the delivery process. You are far less likely to get a bad review with the salesperson standing there and this would happen after the sale so it mitigates the conversion leak.
Just my thoughts on a very important topic for dealers, what say you?
This is an interesting stat from comScore. The questions it raises from me for the car business are:
Here is the post read it over tell me what you think.
In the U.S., 38% of smartphone owners have used their phone to make a purchase at least once in the course of their device ownership. In September 2011, 56% of smartphone purchasers completed their transaction while at home, leading as the most popular purchase location. 42% of consumers made purchases while out of home (i.e. restaurants, parks, etc.) or at work, with 37% making purchases while traveling/commuting. Slightly more than one in three purchasers used their smartphone to buy while in a store, highlighting the increasingly important role mobile is playing in consumers’ brick and mortar retail experience, especially as a tool for real-time price and product comparisons.
Obviously in a new car franchise you have less control as your inventory is dictated a great deal by the OEM but even they somewhat dictate your allocation by marketing. In our Toyota store here in Houston that I ran in the 90’s GST would give us our allocation based on our “Rolling 90” the average number of vehicles we sold in a 30 day period for the last 90 days. In a sense you could say they were dictating what we stocked by Marketing. During the worst days of GM’s VOMS program at our Chevrolet store we fought to get the best vehicles including the Avalanche a very popular vehicle from 99 – 2001 Why? They sold better “Marketing”.
In a sense one could say and I will say it, what you stock has ALWAYS been a “Marketing Decision”.
Back then I would line up Chevrolet and Ford Trucks on the front line or our Toyota store, this would just twist our GST reps head, but my point then was the same then as it is now.
“I have huge sign that says I sell Toyota’s and people know that what they don’t know is what else I have and there are a lot of potential customers driving by our store that are going to buy a Chevy or Ford pickup and I want them to know we are a choice for them.” –
I made it a point to stock that “Product” on our Toyota lot and “Place” it where I did: IE “A Marketing Decision”.
In used cars you are 100% in control of what you stock (one of the reasons why I love that business) and if you are doing that right you are basing what you stock on marketing decisions “What Sells” NOT what you can buy cheap!
THE VERY FIRST QUESTON YOU SHOULD BE ASKING YOURSELF WHEN YOU GO TO BUY OR TRADE FOR A USED CAR – “HOW AM I GOING TO GET OUT OF THIS USED CAR?” THAT IS A MARKETING DECISION
The “Book” really no longer has any value from a purchase perspective; the only thing that does have value is what cars are selling now and how much you can get for them. If you have a good recon dept. a great sales process and great marketing you can pay more for a car than the other guy because you can sell it for more and you can get out of it faster.
This was true 20+ years ago when I started in the car business and its true today, the only difference you have better tools and information to make those decisions but make no mistake if you are doing it right you are making these decisions based on marketing.
Those are my thoughts what say you?
“Wal-Mart is pushing ahead of social media-savvy retailers such as Macy’s and even Amazon and eBay, based on the initiatives it has underway. The company’s @WalMartLabs is working on a social network for in-store shoppers, Internet Retailer reports.
Consumers would be able to use their mobile phones to interact with other shoppers currently at the store, asking questions and giving opinions on products and deals. “
What I find interesting about this story is the concept of “Social Gifting”. My first pass at this concept for the auto industry would be for your facebook friends and / or twitter followers to sign into a facebook app or web app that would collect money for the purchase and / or down payment on a car. This would be an interesting app for some 13 or 14 yr old to start saving for his or her 1st car. Instead of birthday gifts they can post to Facebook and Twitter “Contribute to my car fund and ABC Motors”.
I am sure I will have more thoughts on this as I think about it more stay tuned and let me know your thoughts on this concept.