September '19

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44 THE SHOP SEPTEMBER 2019 O nline selling isn't restricted to Tire Rack, Summit Racing Equipment or RockAuto—it's an unrivaled opportunity for performance and restyling professionals to seriously increase their rev- enue and, more importantly, their profits. Last year, sales of auto parts and acces- sories in the United States equaled roughly $140 billion, with $15 billion of that hap- pening online, according to marketing and research firm Hedges & Company. This year, sales of automotive parts and acces- sories on cell phones will exceed $7.4 bil- lion—about 60.2 percent of the estimated total of online sales. If you think selling online is just for products, think again! To get your share of the ever-increasing amount of online sales, there are plenty of online selling options to choose from. You can sell services such as a basic perfor- mance tune-up, schedule time on your dyno or sell custom tuning packages that include parts installation. You can even sell your time and expertise online by doing consulta- tions via online scheduling and conferencing (Zoom and Skype are two examples of plat- forms that can help you do this). Not convinced? Try Googling schedule a tune-up appointment near me and see all the auto shops near you that have already started selling online. PLAN OF ATTACK Thinking of cashing in on the huge oppor- tunities available to your company online? There are a few things to consider before getting started. It's not simple, but it is profitable. We'll share a few insider secrets in this article to make your online presence successful, quicker. Here are our top tips for auto shops looking to start selling online: 1 What are you selling, and to whom? It might seem obvious, but we can't state how important it is to have a clear, well-thought-out product/service/price list. You can't get your online selling strategy down unless you know exactly what you're looking to promote. Thinking about putting up an online shop to sell your services and accessories? You're going to need a completely different approach than someone who's looking to implement an online appointment booking system for tune-ups or dyno time, for example. First things first, though—you need to look at your audience: • Who are you selling to? • Will they buy your services or prod- ucts online? • Where do they hang out online? • Are they into DIY options or done- for-you services? • Where can you advertise to get their attention? Once you've figured out what (and who) you want to focus on, you'll know what you need from your website. To get the best return on your invest- ment, you'll want to take some time to consider your long-term strategy for get- ting (and keeping) new customers. Do you have a plan in place to help give your new customer the same unrivaled experience they'd get in person? Are you ready to offer shipping? Do you know how much ship- ping costs and how long it takes? Remember, if you're offering next day delivery, you need to deliver the next day! Don't promise what you can't deliver! (Pun intended.) This might seem a bit like overkill, but the more you know about who you're trying to sell to and how you're going to do it, the easier it will be to connect with them (and eventually turn them into loyal, repeat customers). Pro tip: If you've already got a web- site, you'll need to find out if it can support the addition of an e-commerce CHANGING LANES: THE BEGINNER'S GUIDE TO SELLING ONLINE Who doesn't want a 24/7 salesman? Here's how to get started. By Barry Alt

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