The Digital Basics Are Officially a Must
While factors like location, convenience, price, and transparency were abundantly represented in Ratchet+Wrench Inside the Consumer's Mind survey responses, a few heavy hitters were noticeably absent.
Yet savvy shop owners know these digital tools and marketing assets haven’t suddenly lost their value. If anything they’ve become more vital in the process of attracting and retaining customers in an increasingly digital age.
"Today it's almost rare to find a shop without a Facebook page or a Google rating below 4.5. The digital bar's been raised across the board." — Bryce Evans, Ratchet+Wrench vice president, content and events
At Toledo Auto Care in Toledo, Ohio, where digital assets like a clearly designed website and a custom app complement the shop’s mission to deliver a fast and frictionless customer experience, owner Gary Pontious Jr. sees the value they provide on a daily basis.
“We’re seeing nonstop traffic on our website and through the app,” he says. “Right now, we’ve got over 1,000 customers using the app and we’re seeing questions, and messages come through on both every hour. The engagement is constant.”
And over at Matt’s Automotive Service Center, owner Matt Lachowitzer knows at least 10 percent of his new customers chose his shop specifically for its strong online reviews.
The takeaway? In 2021, standard digital resources have officially become a point of entry.
“It’s not that those digital elements don’t matter. It’s that as a customer, something like a decent website is so ingrained in the shopping experience that it’s not even consciously registering as a deciding factor,” says Evans.
What will register? An exceptionally poor digital experience.
“If your website looks like it hasn’t been updated in years or your social media posts are off-putting, you’re not even getting a chance at my business because I’m not going to trust taking my car there,” Evans says. “I am going to make a conscious note of that.”