Springing into seasonal maintenance
Boyd’s Tire & Service Center, a seven-store chain located in Columbus, Ohio, the change in seasons is a chance to bring in additional business.
“We promote spring car care packages that include an oil change, a maintenance inspection, fluid top-off, tire rotation and a brake inspection,” says Jon Boyd, tire business and customer service manager. “We piggyback on the changing seasons and do spring and winter car care packages. Getting maintenance when the seasons change means something to our customers.”
Boyd says that winter car care packages are important because consumers need to ensure their vehicle’s coolant can sustain the cold. It’s also crucial to ensure the tires aren’t’ worn out so they can handle snowy conditions.
“Spring car care packages are a little different,” he explains. “It’s probably a little less about safety and more about, ‘How did your car make it through the winter months?’”
Boyd’s offers spring maintenance discount coupons on its website, www.BoydsTire.com. The company also does print advertising in Valpak and the Town Money Saver, as well as radio spots. TV exposure is also very helpful.
“We have really good relationships with Channel 6 and with Channel 10 here in Columbus,” Boyd explains. “They come to us whenever they have an automotive issue that they want to talk about. We’ve been on their local news plenty of times answering questions for them. We also fix all of their vehicles.”
Recently, Boyd’s has been embracing the latest technology to promote maintenance. Last year the company had a new website designed with a “Sign up and save” function.
“The person puts their e-mail address in, it gets saved in a database and whenever we have any specials or functions we send out an e-mail blast,” says Boyd. “We’ll be doing one for our spring car care package.”
In February 2012, Boyd’s went super high-tech and launched a new mobile website for smartphones. Designed by Tire Company Solutions (TCS) Technologies, a software and technology provider for the tire, auto and retread industry, Boyd’s is TCS’ first mobile website customer. Now, anyone with a smartphone can access spring maintenance deals from Boyd’s Tire.
Groupon and Playpon
Another way Boyd promotes seasonal maintenance is through Groupon promotions. The company did one in December 2011 for winter car care packages. Groupon (www.Groupon.com) is a deal-of-the-day website that features discounted gift certificates usable at local or national companies.
“The Groupon went fantastic,” says Boyd. “We sold 177 $39.95 winter car care packages. Groupon collects all the money and then the people come in and redeem the Groupon in our stores.”
Boyd says the promotion generated a lot of service revenue in addition to the $39.95 from each Groupon sale. It also brought in many new customers.
“That’s what we wanted — to have as many people find us as possible,” he says.
Now Boyd’s Tire is about to do a “Playpon” for a spring car care packages.
“It’s a lot like Groupon, but they donate a portion of your sales to whatever local school you choose,” he says. “That’s a catchy way of trying to give back some of the revenue and then make everyone look good in the deal. Plus, we want to help schools out anyway.”
Boyd says Playpon is an excellent way to promote the businesses on a local community level. Playpon dedicates 15% of every sale to local schools and local non-profits. The schools win, Boyd’s Tire shops win, and most importantly, the consumer wins.
“Being involved in the local schools follows our philosophy of being involved in our communities,” Boyd explains. “Each store manager is well aware that if there is any need or request for any support for schools, local charities or if the football team needs sponsorship, we do it as much as we possibly can. People in our communities know it, and we get recognition.”
Boyd says he’s now looking into conducting free car care clinics to promote seasonal maintenance. “It fits into our philosophy of community involvement because it’s for the community, it’s free and it brings in business for us.”