Selling cars is getting tough, and dealers increasingly are focusing on the fixed-ops part of the business – the parts and service side that keeps consumers coming back and spending money.
Dealers continue adding coffeemakers that boast frothy lattes on demand and upgrading their wireless infrastructure so customers can surf the net for free. For clients who don’t want to park themselves on modern couches, dealerships offer electronic updates.
But, logistics improvements also can be done, and they’re easier and more affordable. Here are three tips.
Be knowledgeable. Tracking packages is simple these days, but many dealers are not tapping into this to keep themselves – and customers – informed. Is that much-needed part on its way? Keeping the customer updated can make everyone’s life easier, preventing the adult version of “Is it here yet?”
As a bonus, there are automated, customizable ship-notification emails to make related targeted offers for add-ons or new services. Will your part be in on Tuesday? Come in and get a discount on your oil change. Ship-notification emails, which can easily be personalized with a dealer’s branding, have a high open rate, ensuring the message is received.
Scrutinize shipping. Knowledge may be power, but the bottom line is the bottom line. Many dealers spend way too much on transportation costs by using the wrong or ineffective shipping techniques. When something has to arrive ASAP, and you are the one funding shipping, you must accurately determine whether a premium (and pricier) service is needed or if a more affordable ground shipment will get the job done. Many carriers offer a quick, integrated tool that will allow you not only to know how much, but also how long, allowing you to choose the service that meets your needs at the lowest price.
Be efficient. In a world that seems to be getting busier and busier, dealers with multiple locations must focus more on the accounting team controlling transportation costs and allocating them to the appropriate cost center. It sounds a bit technical, but how long does the busy accounts-payable department spend combing through tedious shipping invoices at the end of each week or month? Probably too long.
This chore can be turned into a quick job by utilizing a web-based billing tool to reconcile shipping/logistics costs. For dealers with multiple locations this also will make it much easier to identify trends across multiple sites and isolate major cost drivers.
Darryl Barber is marketing manager for UPS’s automotive segment. He can be reached at [email protected]