By Greg Sands
Is your shop clean and inviting? Is speed of service a priority? Are your service and salespeople attentive and personable?
If you answered no to any of those questions, you might be alienating at least half of your customer base.
While men might overlook a dirty showroom or distracted salesperson, women won’t and recent surveys suggest that women now buy 60% to 65% of all passenger tires sold in the United States.
If you haven’t taken steps to become female-friendly, then you’re potentially costing yourself customers and limiting future growth. In the shops I own in higher-income areas, females make up 60% to 70% of the customers that walk through the door. Appealing to female customers is such a high priority for me that I design all my shops with women in mind.
So, how do you make your business one that women will want to frequent? Your first step might include surveying female friends, relatives and current customers to find out what they look for when deciding where to shop. I’ve noticed that safety, appearance and customer service often rank high on the list for female shoppers.
Here are some tips to help you address those issues and improve your standing with female tire buyers.
Judging a Book By its Cover: In the retail business, looks count particularly for women. If your shop looks even slightly run down or uninviting, a woman will drive right by. Make sure your building is well maintained and welcoming.
But curb appeal is only half the battle. You also have to present a clean, organized showroom. The waiting room should be comfortable. Bathrooms should be spotless. And if you own more than one store, you need to set a standard, so customers know what to expect regardless of which location they visit.
Safety First: Even small changes such as making sure your parking lot is well-lit can go a long way in making women feel more secure at your shop. Tinted windows, for example, can also be a turn off, because women want the ability to see what’s happening inside the building. Hiring well groomed, approachable employees can also help create a more comfortable environment.
Create a Rapport: Female buyers value retailers who build relationships. So, pay attention to the details, such as greeting every customer who enters your store and staying focused and attentive when customers are describing their needs. Women want to deal with someone who listens, rather than lectures. More than their male counterparts, female shoppers also tend to come armed with questions and base decisions on factors other than price. Be prepared to provide a clear explanation of the differences between the products you offer.
Finally, always keep convenience in mind. Providing speedy service and keeping customers abreast of when their cars will be ready will also go a long way in creating long-term bonds.
Greg Sands is the CEO and founder of Mudlick Mail in Acworth, Ga., which provides demographically-targeted, direct mail programs for automotive service and repair shops nationwide. Greg also owns and operates 20 repair shops across the country. He has more than 18 years of automotive industry experience. Greg can be reached at [email protected] or 866-794-0167.