Inside the Consumer Mind With UpSwell

June 1, 2021

How to take advantage of the factors customers most consider when choosing a repair shop.


No one will ever really ever know why a customer chose to go to the repair shop down the road instead of yours. They could have heard a positive review in passing about the shop, or saw an ad, or simply looked up a rating. But what we can do is analyze the top factors customers look at when choosing their repair shop through industry studies.  

As a way to dig deeper and provide this vital information to shop owners, UpSwell Marketing has performed two comprehensive auto consumer surveys over the past few months. By surveying up to over 1,000 vehicle owners across the United States, crucial demographics, buying habits, and overall thoughts on the industry have been uncovered. 

Ratchet+Wrench sat down with the UpSwell team to take a closer look at these relevant data points regarding what factors consumers deem important when choosing a repair shop.  


Market your shop’s value. 

As most would expect, the largest deciding factor for consumers choosing a repair shop is value and pricing, with 65 percent of survey participants stating it as such. But while price is important, Jeff Snyder, executive marketing consultant at UpSwell, states that it’s far more beneficial for shops to market their value. 

“Even though a lot of shops offer similar pricing, consumers⁠—no matter the industry⁠—want to feel like they are getting the best value,” he explains. “That’s why marketing is so important, because you want to let your potential customers know what your value is and what differentiates you from the competitor.”

Snyder recommends owners focus their marketing on their shop’s unique benefits, including use of a customer shuttle, a top warranty, or loyalty program. This specific value-based marketing targets consumers that are not necessarily price shopping, and instead more focused on value and level of service⁠—creating potential lifelong customers.    

“Targeting is how we help shops maintain their ‘top’ customer base, helping them target the consumers with higher incomes to make sure that we aren’t only capturing the people looking for the best deal,” he says.


Encourage positive online reviews.

Following “value and pricing”, 60 percent of participants identified “good reviews and reputation” as a top deciding factor in choosing their repair shop. With the internet allowing immediate access to reviews, quickly searching up what others think on Google or Yelp is almost always the first place customers will go when trying to make a decision.  

“When a consumer must decide between two shops that are equidistant from them, they will inevitably choose the shop with the highest ratings and the most ratings,” Snyder says. “It doesn’t matter if your shop is the first to pop up if it only has 3 stars, or even worse, no reviews at all.”

In order to boost a shop’s online reputation, owners and shop staff should be encouraging their customers to write a review about their experience. 

“Every time a shop services a car, they should be sending their customers a link or text to rate their service on Google, Yelp, or Facebook,” he explains. 

Snyder also suggests owners hold a raffle for a gift card, or incentivize customers with $5 off for every review they write.

“Be creative, but don’t undermine how valuable each and every review can be,” he says.


Target the right audience for your shop.

According to the survey, two other top deciding factors for consumers choosing a repair shop are “convenience” (47 percent) and “brand specialist” (27 percent). As a way to take advantage of these decision factors, owners must specifically pinpoint who their direct mail and digital marketing is targeted to.

As for convenience, marketing should be directed to homes in a reasonable distance from the shop. The same consumer survey indicates that customers are on average willing to travel 27 minutes to their repair shop⁠.

“With direct mail, we always run an analysis on where their customers currently are to figure out the best areas to target,” Snyder says. “Every shop is going to be different, but we definitely recommend a three-mile radius around their shop.”

Digital marketing is also a great addition to direct mail because it can move beyond the distance of the home, and target consumers where they work and play⁠—but more than distance should be considered when targeting potential customers. For specialty shops, direct mail pieces can be sent to vehicle owners who have the exact model of car the shop services. 

“We have the ability to target people who own specific makes and models of cars, which will ensure valuable marketing dollars aren’t wasted on people who aren’t likely to visit their shop,” Snyder explains.


To learn more about UpSwell, visit or call 888.838.3779.


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