So you probably know how great promotions can be for your dealership. They're a fantastic way to excite your customers and bring in new and return shoppers, which is worth it in the long run—even if the 10% discount you offer narrows your profit margins in the beginning.
Promotions that customers can only access with a coupon/promo code adds a special excitement to the shopping experience. An infographic by VoucherCloud really puts the power of coupons in perspective. In 2013, 92% of consumers reported using a coupon, and 91% of those coupon redeemers say they will visit the retailer again after being offered a coupon.
Coupons are a proven way to boost sales and convince shoppers to become customers—57% say they would not have made a purchase without a coupon first. And coupons don’t need to be printed out to be successful—promo codes sent through email or social media can be just as powerful. Sometimes digital coupons work even better, since shoppers can share the discount information with friends and family and help you reach more people.
Here are some of the best coupon ideas you can use for your parts store.
Sign up bonus
If you want to expand your mailing list, you can offer a “first-time buyer” discount that shoppers can get when they provide an email address. This sort of discount can be offered year-round. It’s such a great way to send out promotional emails to your customers and drive repeat sales, so constantly gathering email addresses will always help you in the long run.
The sign up bonus should be something small, so you can afford to keep the offer running without it affecting your profits.
- 10% off
- $5 off
That said, remind customers that discounts do not stack. If a customer finds your website through a limited-time promo event, allowing them to use the event discount and their sign up bonus together will limit your return on investment.
A lot of advertisers keep their discounts simple: a percent or flat dollar discount.
The how and what of the discount you run is where your choice comes in. Is this discount just a limited time event or always available for certain auto parts? You can also set it up for a minimum amount spent to trigger the discount.
The numbers here are just examples. You can experiment with offering higher or lower discounts and setting different discount “triggers.”
- Standard: 10% off orders over $100
- Tiers: $5 off orders over $100 / $15 off orders over $150 / $25 off orders over $200
- 10-15% flash sale off all auto parts
- All obsolete/overstock parts 20% off
Tip: Flat dollar amount discounts tend to work better than percent discounts. Believe it or not, a $10 off a purchase of $100 tends to perform better than 10% off a purchase of $100. Even though the customer gets the same discount in the end, $10 is easier for customers to calculate than 10%.
In an example like this, it seems simple. But when you’re offering a 15% discount off orders over $175, exactly how much the discount is worth becomes less obvious. Customers find it much more straightforward if you say “$25 off orders of $175 or more.”
Offering flat dollar discounts helps you, too. The flat discount puts a cap on how much the discount will impact your profit line. A $10 discount will always be $10, but 10% has the potential to grow much larger.
Want to see an increase in repeat customers? Try offering an enticing discount to shoppers who have just made a purchase from your parts website. You can phrase it as a “thank you for shopping with us” email, where customers who spend over a certain amount will earn a discount on their next purchase.
Typically, customer who have already purchased from you will be a little more open to the incentives you offer—because of the completed purchase, you've already started to build trust with them. Think of it like striking while the iron is hot. Reaching out to them again will help customers remember you and your parts website.
- Spend $$$, get $ off next purchase
- Free shipping on your next purchase.
This is a great technique for holding onto customers long-term. Some customers will only shop with you for a low price—they don’t yet have any loyalty to your brand. The second your competition offers a lower price, they’ll leave and shop with someone else.
Offering a future discount helps guarantee their business for the next time. For a coupon code like this, don’t set it to expire right away—make the coupon last a few weeks or months. The customer just purchased something from you, so it’s unlikely that they’ll need another part right away.
More for Less
What parts in your inventory are typically bought at the same time as something else? You can use this information to create discounts that are incredibly relevant to your customer’s needs.
For example, you can offer brake pads at a discounted price when they’re purchased in pairs, or offer brake pads at a discounted price when a customer buys a new brake rotor.
This is a great way to ensure that YOU get to sell them everything they need. Otherwise, they might buy one part from you and another part somewhere else based on the comparison shopping they did for price.
- 4 for the price of 3
- Buy 1 [medium-high price part], get [low-price related part] half off
Customers LOVE free shipping. Even if you don't make it free, shipping price in general can have a major impact on your parts sales. In 2014, a UPS study found that free shipping was the most important factor when checking out online, with 68% of shoppers choosing it as a high priority. When shipping prices are too high, shoppers leave—48% of respondents said they abandoned their shopping cart because shipping costs were higher than they expected.
A tried and true technique is to only offer free shipping on orders over a certain price threshold. That same UPS study found that 32% of customers will add more items to their cart in order to qualify for free shipping.
This makes it easy to improve the customer experience while increasing your sales!
- Free shipping on orders $100 and up
- Free shipping + 10% off on orders $200 and up
Of course, shipping can be costly and you’ll lose a lot of money if you just offer free shipping on everything. Exclude items that simply don’t make sense to ship for free, such as hazmat auto parts and oversized items.
- Don’t forget to do the math first. Can you afford the discount? Make sure it’s not set so low that you’ll lose money on your sales.
- Social media is a GREAT place to keep your customers informed. Shoppers can share your post and tell their friends and family about the promotion, making it easy to reach a lot of people.
- Is your dealership prepared to handle the influx of sales? If you’re promoting specific items, make sure you have enough stock on hand to meet customer demand. If you do run out of stock, do you have a plan? Will you honor the discounted price for customers who wanted to purchase during the promo, but couldn’t because it was out of stock?
- Do you have some way to track your success? In order to see just how much your promotion boosts sales, set up some type of reporting (such as Google Analytics) before launching your sales. This will help you decide if the promotion was worth your time.
- Is your parts website associated with your dealership? Try handing out cards or paper coupons to in-store customers to tell them about your sales online. This is a great way to do some cross-channel promotions that use your dealership’s success to boost your sales online.
- Holiday sales are a great “excuse” to set up some coupons and promotions! Popular sales holidays include Father’s Day, Labor Day, 4th of July, and more.
Ready to get started? If you didn't already know about it, RevolutionParts makes it easy to create and run promotions on your parts store. You can set up discounts that apply to your entire inventory or only specific categories, depending on what kind of promotion you want to run. There are even shipping-based promotions so you can offer free or discounted shipping.
Then you just need to generate a custom promo code so customers can take advantage of your discount!
We also integrate with MailChimp, which is an easy-to-learn email marketing software. Sending out monthly or quarterly emails is a wonderful way to send out promo codes and nurture a good relationship with your customer database. Here's a step-by-step guide to creating a powerful and effective promotional email through MailChimp.