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Loyalty programs are nothing new. Airlines and hotels have been offering them for decades. Thanks to the smartphone, however, customer-rewards programs no longer are the exclusive domain of large national retailers.
In a Counterman webinar earlier this year, Autologue Computer Systems CEO Jim Franco and TexTalk LLC CEO Brad Duncan made the case for implementing a rewards program, and explained how independent parts stores can get in on the action with relative ease.
As for why parts stores should consider launching a rewards program, here are some of the potential benefits:
Encouraging Future Purchasing
According to Duncan, the overarching goal of a rewards program “is to give your customers one more reason to buy from you.” OK, they already have plenty of reasons to buy from you. But, it never hurts to add another incentive for additional purchases.
It’s much harder to acquire new customers than it is to retain your existing customers, which means neglecting your current customers can be a costly mistake. An active rewards program that focuses on customer retention can go a long way toward keeping those relationships fresh.
“If you have an effective rewards program, revenues should increase because of customers buying more – and more often,” Duncan asserted. A good program should help to keep your business front and center in your customers’ minds.
With more and more retailers implementing some type of customer-loyalty program, chances are your competitors have one. That’s certainly the case if your local competitors include one (or more) of the national auto parts retailers.
From cashback credit-card rewards to that free guac you earned for eating large quantities of Chipotle, consumers have come to expect their favorite retailers to give them a little something extra for their continued loyalty. A rewards program is a great way to show your customers that you value their business.
Reach Out and Text Someone
As alluded to earlier, the smartphone has leveled the playing field for smaller retailers that want to offer the same kind of customer-rewards experience that the national retailers do. That’s because the smartphone is more than just a phone with a built-in camera. It’s a digital wallet that – increasingly – is populated with apps for our favorite brands.
During the webinar, Franco and Duncan explained that the smartphone is the focal point of Autologue’s eRewards customer-loyalty software. There’s no email or snail mail involved, and no plastic cards to print out for customers who sign up. By design, all interactions with the customer occur via phone. Franco and Duncan pointed to statistics showing that text messages enjoy a 98% read rate, which means your messaging has a great chance of reaching your customers when you contact them via phone.
“We decided early on that we wanted to communicate directly using the most effective and powerful marketing conduit there is,” Duncan said.
Parts stores can use Autologue’s eRewards to develop a loyalty program for retail or wholesale customers. The main difference is in how the rewards are defined. In an eRewards program for retail customers, rewards are dollar credits toward future purchases, and the “exchange rate” is set by the store. For example, a store might want to offer $5 in rewards for every $100 in purchases made by a retail customer enrolled in the program.
A wholesale eRewards program is structured more like what you’d expect in a frequent-flyer program. In a wholesale program, rewards accumulate as points rather than dollars, based on total purchases or on incremental increases in purchases. The store defines the “points multiplier” – meaning the customer accrues “X” number of points for every dollar they spend. Points are redeemed for reward prizes that are determined by the store.
With eRewards, parts sellers can group retail rewards members into one of three buckets – active, semi-active or inactive customers – and tailor their messaging based on the customer’s status. For example, an active customer would receive a rewards statement, which details their current rewards-program earnings, encourages online reviews and showcases current specials and promotions. A semi-active customer would receive a reminder statement, which shows rewards-dollars availability and encourages return visits. An inactive customer would receive a reactivation statement, which focuses on current specials and promotions to help re-energize the customer relationship.
Duncan described the concept as “loyalty-loop technology.”
“This is what eRewards is all about: managing the customer-visit pie chart, if you will,” he explained. “It’s automated customer retention.”
You can learn a lot more about Autologue’s eRewards software by listening to the on-demand webinar, which you’ll find archived at www.counterman.com/webinars/. Or you can visit www.autologue.com.
The post Building A Rewards Program For Your Auto Parts Store appeared first on Counterman Magazine.
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Continental has just launched the Autodiagnos Drive, a remote vehicle-data solution designed to deliver advanced diagnostic information that service providers, fleet managers and repair facilities can use to maximize their data-driven services.
“This easily installed, plug-and-play technology provides users with live access to extended vehicle diagnostic data for all popular makes and models of passenger cars, light trucks and commercial vehicles, so they stay continuously aware of the vehicle’s condition,” the company said in a news release. “Autodiagnos Drive helps customers increase productivity, reduce downtime, enhance customer service and gain better insights into the condition of the vehicles they service or manage. The system will also help them to quickly provide vehicle owners with reliable and up-to-date information about their vehicle’s health and performance parameters.”
The Autodiagnos Drive remote vehicle-data solution is the result of years of development and engineering. It incorporates OEM diagnostic data, unique OEM-grade hardware and secure data routing and storage. The platform is hosted by Continental and integrates with customers’ own service platforms through APIs. This means that shops, fleets, insurance providers, roadside services and owner-operators will have secure and robust access to not only generic, but also OEM-specific vehicle data that is tailored to their needs, according to the company.
In order to deliver results with excellent reliability and maximum security, Autodiagnos Drive uses the latest in cybersecurity standards and testing. The hardware is built to OEM standards, using diagnostic data purchased and/or licensed directly from the OEMs.
“Access to remote vehicle data reduces the need to bring the vehicle to the service provider to assess its condition,” said Christopher Bahlman, head of diagnostics & services, Continental Commercial Vehicles and Services. “Furthermore, it can greatly increase productivity for service centers, as well as reducing headaches for vehicle owners. This is especially important given the complexity of today’s vehicles and the value of everyone’s time.”
Continental’s Autodiagnos Drive is an “all-makes” remote vehicle-data solution for light-duty vehicles with CAN-based architectures and is suitable for use on nearly every light-duty vehicle produced since 2008, according to the company. It is easy to use, but robust and secure, and can be updated as vehicles evolve. It will be accessible to users on a 24-hour/seven-day basis.
“Continental has worked with OEMs, global telecoms, providers of cybersecurity services, and other automotive professionals to create a platform that is unique in its ability to harness OEM diagnostics data, unify that data and route it to service providers to deliver insights about vehicle health and usage,” Bahlman added. “Whether it’s knowing fuel level, odometer, vehicle location or a broad array of vehicle data delivered in real time with the utmost security, Autodiagnos Drive is a flexible and scalable solution.”
In addition to the new Autodiagnos Drive, Continental’s Diagnostics and Services group also features two major diagnostic-tool programs: Continental Autodiagnos PRO automotive diagnostic system and Continental Autodiagnos TPMS tools. Both programs are designed to meet the needs of aftermarket service professionals by streamlining vehicle data that technicians can use to analyze, diagnose and repair vehicles faster and better.
For more information, visit autodiagnosdrive.com or contact [email protected]
The post Continental Launches Autodiagnos Drive Vehicle-Data Solution appeared first on Counterman Magazine.
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