Connecting with Customers: The 12-volt advertising experiment at Tunes-N-Tint
Tunes-N-Tint is a unique, two-store operation. One location is in North Lakeland, Fla., and the other is in South Lakeland. Joe Cassity, the operations manager, wanted to run an experiment this past Black Friday to correlate how advertising may work to sales. The two stores are very similar. Both have similar product mixes and a proven similar floor plan. They are just on opposite sides of town, but the overall demographics are similar, too. Does traditional advertising still work? How about social media advertising? Well, Cassity wanted to bombard one store with advertising while keeping the Black Friday sale at the other location on the hush. He could then man the store, featuring advertising with his best team members to make sure they could properly qualify and sell to the potential store traffic. Let’s take a look at the fascinating results…
It is hard to pinpoint exactly how customers come into a store, but Cassity wanted to make sure all of his bases were covered when it came to promoting the advertising store. “We advertised via local circulars and newsletters. Then we did a 20K+ direct flyer distribution for the paper advertising. We also had a physical presence at car shows alerting people of our Black Friday sale, and we handed out flyers at those events. Online, we used Facebook advertising and promoted keywords through Google Adwords. Additionally, we sent out an e-mail blast to our previous customers, alerting them to the Black Friday sale at the sale store.”
So, what happened? Cassity explained: “Both stores are in the same market. We actually saw an overall NET increase with both stores.” This was just created around the hype of Black Friday. Both stores were merchandised and had ‘sale’ presentations on the inside for the Black Friday weekend. But, Cassity said, “The store which we did advertising and promoting for (by address/location/phone number) had almost a FOUR TIMES increase over the store which we did not push traffic to via advertising. This allowed us to focus our staffing and efforts in the busier location. It also showed us the direct effects our advertising had on influencing buying behavior, versus just being open on a sale day. A full third of customers who purchased were prompted by old-school flyers distributed to local businesses. Three percent came in from Facebook ads, 19 percent from online marketing, and 18 percent from Black Friday newsletters.”
Of course, just getting people into the store is half the battle. Then, they have to be qualified for products and, hopefully, stepped into more lucrative 12-volt products. After all, showing a customer a basic head unit on sale is OK, but moving them to a multimedia/infotainment unit also on sale is even better. I asked Cassity about those coming into the store: were those who came in from the advertising just looking for a bargain deal, and then had to be qualified and converted into a ‘paying’ job? Or like anything else, was it a mix of people, some of whom were willing to spend money from the get-go, along with some cheapskates? “Every customer that comes in is an opportunity,” Cassity noted. “More importantly, every sale was profitable. Sale events usually are about trading volume for margin. And for us, we utilize sales or deals to clear out old stock. So that gives us the ability to offer something for everyone, including the bargain-seeking customers that definitely come out for Black Friday. We now have spelled out our step-up plans to our salespeople on any promotions we do. For example, our staff gets quick sheets that give recommended transitions/upgrades and cost difference. This ensures we have good attachment on labor, and push the value of premium offerings.”
Cassity’s experiment showed that Black Friday advertising hype still works, and advertising certainly multiplies the effects of sale hype. He is lucky to have two locations to perform the experiment, and wants to do a similar approach next year so he can have all-hands-on-deck at the sale location. “I don’t see any point in running Black Friday sales at both stores,” he said, “but it’s obvious that if you don’t advertise, you don’t get good results.”
As technical as the connected car is becoming, customers still appreciate a good sale.