Reporter's Blog

To Discount or Not?

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During business as usual, there are many debates surrounding discounts. Many offer them, others believe it only attracts price shoppers. Right now, it’s anything but business as usual and shop owners are fighting to get their businesses through this tough time. So, are discounts the answers? Three industry experts share their opinions. 

Mike Boden, director of marketing, Elite 

With so many people living in fear, I feel that shop owners have a unique opportunity to make an impact, and communicate who they are as a brand through cause marketing. My recommendation would be to help raise money, offer a discount or do something special for the people in their community who are particularly vulnerable (i.e. all first responders, healthcare workers, etc.). Not only can this help with car counts, but protects their brand and price integrity and can go a long way in building brand awareness. Most importantly, it’s doing the right thing by helping people in their community when they need it the most.

Maylan Newton, CEO of Educational Seminars Institute

I believe the discounting price at this time that absolutely the wrong thing to do. You need to sell value, not price. Most of the customers that you have in your store, you have a relationship with them and have taken good care of them before. That's why they come back to you there willing to pay a little more if the even know the difference in the pricing because of the level of service you give them and the way you treat them.  And that is by far the most critical part of staying busy is making the customer feel important, welcomed,  taking care of, and safe.   Why change your pricing now?  Is it based out of fear?

Lowering your price means that you are just going to go broke faster. Most repair shops are down on sales. And, by discounting price, we lower sales dollars even more.

We need to sell value, and value is all the things you do for your customers. So, instead of lowering your price, increase the value you're giving them do things differently than you've ever done before.  For example, a lot of the shops that I work with are doing what I call concierge service pickup and delivery touchless transactions were possible, sanitizing the cars we have some very creative people. 

We provide safe, dependable, reliable transportation.  We don't fix cars. We provide freedom. So, let's stop thinking about price, and let's think about what I can do to make the customer feel that we’re exceeding the price and the value you are giving them. 

Cecil Bullard, founder, Institute for Automotive Business Excellence 

I am never an advocate for discounting. However, now—if any time—might be an opportunity to use some enticement. The problem is, it is unlikely to work. What we are seeing is a pretty good rise in the ARO.  I attribute this to people supporting their local businesses and to the fact that the casual oil change isn't coming in. 

It is unlikely to work, unless you are giving it away because those that are fearful or broke won't be enticed and those that are not are already coming in. 


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