Loyalty programs are a great way to reward customers for their continued support, learn more about their buying and shopping patterns, as well as create innovative marketing channels to drive even more business. A quick look at some of the biggest loyalty programs out there today can quickly show you the power these programs have in retaining customers as well as driving new customers to adopt your product or service. This works exceedingly well for transactional purchases, where buyers are constantly buying products that are somewhat necessary to their day to day. Airmiles rewards for Gas purchases or groceries, or Aeroplan rewards at Rona or other locations, but what about Car Dealers? On the surface, parts and service seems like a natural fit, but what about vehicle purchases, where the average customer is only buying a vehicle every 3-5 years on average? How can you create a loyalty program that gives you the first crack at keeping them buying cars from you, as well as generating new customer business because of the value of that loyalty program? Let me show you.
At Strathcom, we designed a loyalty program that is specific to Car Dealerships. It is easy to manage, focuses on both the short and long term rewards for customers, and most importantly, helps dealers drive new business by leveraging their current customers and their social networks (Family, Friends, Co-Workers, and so on).
The loyalty card program we built is designed around rewarding customers who send you business. Each customer is provided a unique “referral code” which is easily shared to friends via email, facebook, twitter and more. Each time someone comes in and buys a car or truck with that code, the owner of the code (your current customer) is awarded a dollar amount on that card. In addition, the person buying the vehicle is given a dollar amount off that car or truck purchase. Everyone wins.
On top of the referral mechanism, there is a Service and Parts component. The customers card number is stored in the DMS and points are automatically awarded every night to the customer at a rate you set. By integrating this directly into the DMS, it removes most of the labor from the staff at the store, and ensures that points are awarded properly, every time. The only time staff use the card management tool is to award referrals and to redeem dollars from a customers card.
To show you some statistics from a dealer group we have running the program:
This screenshot is taken directly from their Loyalty Program Management Page (With permission). As you can quickly see, with over 80,000 card holders and 3400 issued in the last 30 days alone the program is starting to get some serious user uptake. In this case, the program has been running just about 2 years, and it now generates this dealer group OVER 13 vehicle sales EVERY DAY OF THE MONTH just from referrals. Since January 1, it has added 2500 vehicle sales to the dealers totals.
This program at this group is not yet directly marketed, it is strictly through the Sales and F&I teams and then the customers excitement at earning alot of potential rewards. Think of the possibilities at your dealership or dealer group? Imagine the marketing opportunities in contacting every customer who has $100 on their card to sell them a $400 flush package? The possibilities are literally endless.
I mentioned how excited some users get about people using their referral code? This dealer group sees about 3 or 4 posts PER WEEK on the internet from card members asking (in some cases paying) other people to use their referral code:
If you want more information or would like to speak to someone directly about how a customized dealership loyalty program could help your store drive more sales today, please drop me a line directly ben(@)strathcom.com and I would be happy to help you starting selling more cars asap.
Written by Ben Cochrane
Ben Cochrane is President of Strathcom Media, Canada's largest automotive data solutions provider, and brings forward a wealth of experience in Auto Ecommerce, Marketing, Business and IT management. He has overseen the online operations and reputation of the largest automotive groups in Canada.