Shining Light on the Industry
Robinette: They’ve already at least improved the pricing with the UPP initiative. That has helped, but the only thing I can see is that it wasn’t set at a high-enough margin; the margins aren’t that much better than they were before. It’s just that they’re holding that price so that it’s not discounted as much. But the biggest challenge I’ve seen is the fact that retail is not as high as it should be, or maybe the cost isn’t as low as it should be. In all fairness, they need their cost out of it, too, but we need a little bit higher retails. From my talks with them, though, we may see some improvement in that area.
Dealerscope: What were the best new services you introduced this year that increased margin, sales, customer satisfaction, or generated recurring revenue?
Lavine: We introduced layaway for all products. There’s a need for it in our market. We hadn’t done it before because we weren’t as good at listening to our customers as we thought we were. We also got into lease-to-own, where customers can take it home that day, and now we have 15 ways to pay.
We also just started our ‘Yes’ campaign. It’s that we say ‘yes’ to anything. Can you buy online? Yes. In-store? Phone? Yes. Yes. Same-day delivery? Yes. Next-day? Yes. Whatever they can think of? It’s ‘yes.’ There is no ‘no.’
By the way, I love showrooming. I think showrooming’s the greatest thing that’s ever happened. Have all the customers in the world come; my sales guys can outsell anybody. I challenge customers to leave without a product, and to tell me what I don’t have. I want to be the showroom for the country. I am so confident in my management and that my sales team can outsell anybody, and that my services are as good as anybody’s in the country, and I want the opportunity to tell the customer that. So showroom the heck out of me.
Tell me what I don’t have. Tell me what you want. Come in and tell me all the good and bad about my store. I dare you to come in and tell me how bad or how good I am, but you have to tell me face to face. I want you to tell me I can buy this someplace else, or I can buy it online in two days. Tell me about all the great things happening online that I don’t know about. Showroom me.