If you're running an oil change or tire service shop, you might not think you need to consider your best ecommerce options. After all, you can't sell an oil change online—or can you?
Just like practically every other brick-and-mortar business, you need to fully embrace the information age to keep your service bays filled. True, your oil change business or tire service shop has tons of equipment with no virtual counterpart, but if you can't showcase your services online, many of your customers won't know you exist.
Ecommerce isn't just a passing trend, and if the sheer number of Amazon trucks is any indication, online shopping is here to stay. According to Hedges & Company, over 90% of the U.S. population shops online, with the automotive aftermarket garnering over $16 billion in 2020 from gear boxes to tires and everything in between.
If your brick-and-mortar shop can't get consumers' attention, they won't be visiting you to mount and balance those tires they bought online. To engage them, you need to be where they are: on the web.
Getting tire services and oil changes online.
A strong online presence starts with a good website. Because nearly 90% of automotive customers research online before even stepping out of their homes, your website is critical. You could start with a free domain and slap your information on a generic website template, but a custom URL and website are going to really grab a visitor's attention. It also pays to make your website mobile-friendly so it will show up in search results for the thousands of people searching from smartphone browsers.
Once you've attracted visitors to your website, what should they find there? The name of the game is readability and convenience. Considering best ecommerce options, there are a few things your website needs to do to get people into your doors.
- Product and service comparisons. If your oil change business offers various services, such as conventional vs. synthetic oil changes, an explanation of the two will help potential customers make a sound decision. If you don't offer this information, they might end up elsewhere. Similarly, if you own a tire service company, do you display different types of tires and compare performance between worn and new tires? Educating your customers establishes your expertise, increasing the chance they'll visit your shop.
- Highlight your offers and rewards. Many businesses offer a rewards program for one simple reason: It keeps customers coming back. Oil change and tire service rewards might include buy-two-get-one oil changes, buy four tires and get a free alignment, or get a free oil change for each referral. Maybe you can sell an oil change six-pack or family-pack to get your customers and their families into your doors. Don't forget to mention any amenities you offer, like free Wi-Fi, coffee, shuttle services, or car washes.
- Offer online appointment scheduling. You already know, the majority of your customers are researching your business offerings online, so why would you make them pick up the phone to make an appointment? Don't interrupt the flow! Once you've got their attention, make sure the online booking button is obvious. Just a few more clicks on the interactive appointment calendar and you'll have customer information for your customer relationship management (CRM) tools. Automated appointment reminders via email or text message help reduce no-shows, keeping your shop running efficiently, and reducing downtime.
- Offer multiple payment options. Whether it's on your website or in your shop, offering multiple payment options makes it even easier for customers to do business with you. Whether they're paying on your website or on a dedicated point of sale (POS) device, credit cards, debit cards, and near field communication (NFC) such as via smartwatches and smartphones, Apple Pay, Google Pay, Stripe, and PayPal can all be used to cover invoices quickly and conveniently. You can even offer financing on the spot for big purchases.
Why does your oil change or tire service business need the best ecommerce option?
You need a good ecommerce solution to improve your bottom line, but the way you're going to get there is by improving customer satisfaction. A mobile-accessible and responsive website filled with useful information, easy appointment booking, and a variety of payment options will make automotive services more convenient for your customers. Getting their information loaded in your CRM helps you to tailor your marketing to their needs, making it all the more likely they'll come back for a future visit—and maybe even bring along a friend or family member.
As a shop owner, you've surely got better things to do than research the latest search engine optimization (SEO) practices and modify your website content and settings to stay on the front page. Partnering with a dedicated ecommerce company will let you focus on your true strengths, increasing your car count, hours per repair order, and satisfied customers.