Fixed Ops Journal - December 2017 - 12

FIXED OPS JOURNAL ILLUSTRATION / LEO MICHAEL

FIXED OPS JOURNAL

 More

dealers sell
service gift
cards and
certificates
as holiday
stocking
stuffers

YULE LOVE IT

N

JENNY KING

foj@autonews.com

othing says "spirit of the season"
like ... a wheel alignment?
Auto service might not seem the
obvious choice for a holiday gift
card, certificate or coupon. But a growing
number of dealerships are finding that such
promotions build business and enhance customer satisfaction.
Waikem Auto Family, which operates six
franchised dealerships in Massillon, Ohio, offers gift certificates for vehicle reconditioning:
$159 for cars, $169 for pickups and SUVs.
David Waikem, the group's co-owner, says
he expects to sell about 25 of the certificates
this year, with 15 of them snapped up in November and December as holiday presents.
"This kind of happened backward," Waikem
told Fixed Ops Journal. "When we had requests
for donations to nonprofits for things like gift
baskets, people wanted something valued at
more than an oil change and tire rotation."
The company also sells 30 to 40 gift certificates each year, in varying amounts, for other
maintenance and repair work at its dealer-

PAGE 12

DECEMBER 2017

ships, Waikem says.
Although the promotion heavily discounts
labor and parts costs, he adds, the maintenance and reconditioning certificates do not
provide enough sales volume to warrant offering plastic gift cards.

"build our database" of service customers,
Rechsteiner adds.
Elgie Bright, who heads the automotive
marketing and management department at
Northwood University in Midland, Mich., says
he sees more dealerships selling gift cards.
"They are good for promoting things like accessories and service," Bright says. "They
could be used in a variety of ways for everyday
anticipated automotive needs."

Bonus points

'Clever approach'

Graff Chevrolet in Bay City, Mich., offers gift
cards that build on the dealership's rewards
program, says Lisa Rechsteiner, co-owner of
the store. The rewards plan enables customers
to earn points redeemable for service work
and other purchases.
During the December holiday season and a
few other times each year, Rechsteiner says,
Graff offers a special promotion: Purchase of a
$50 gift card returns $10 worth of bonus
points; a $100 card includes $25 in bonus
points.
A gift card buyer can keep the points or add
their value to the card. Rechsteiner says the
dealership operates the card plan through
General Motors' Preferred Owner Program,
although it handles its own accounting.
Graff 's gift card sales help the dealership

Janell Townsend, a professor of business administration at Oakland University in Rochester, Mich., says gift cards tied to vehicle service
provide a "clever approach" to boosting immediate business and strengthening longterm customer relations at a dealership.
But Rick Wegley isn't convinced. The instructor at NCM Associates, an automotive consulting firm in Kansas City., Mo., says that gift cards
and certificates for vehicle service aren't big
sellers, even during holiday shopping seasons.
And when they are purchased, he adds, their recipients often don't redeem them.
Too many other gift items battle for customer attention and dollars at this time of year,
Wegley says.
He adds: "You can't compete with Santa
Claus." 



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Fixed Ops Journal - December 2017

Fixed Ops Journal - December 2017
Contents
Editor’s Letter
Service Counter
Legal Lane
Big verdict
Ho-ho-ho
Battery charge
Price is right
Tomorrow’s techs
Selling accessories
SEMA dreams
To the rescue
Profit Builder
Richard Truett
On the line
Letters
Real time
Feedback
After hours
Efficiency expert
Longer lasting
Shop Talk
Five Minutes With
Fixed in Time
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2017 - Intro
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2017 - Fixed Ops Journal - December 2017
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2017 - Cover2
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2017 - Contents
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2017 - Editor’s Letter
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2017 - 5
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2017 - Service Counter
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2017 - 7
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2017 - Legal Lane
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2017 - Big verdict
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2017 - 10
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2017 - 11
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2017 - Ho-ho-ho
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2017 - 13
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2017 - Battery charge
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2017 - 15
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2017 - 16
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2017 - 17
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2017 - 18
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2017 - 19
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2017 - 20
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2017 - 21
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2017 - Price is right
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2017 - 23
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2017 - Tomorrow’s techs
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2017 - 25
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2017 - 26
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2017 - 27
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2017 - Selling accessories
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2017 - 29
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2017 - SEMA dreams
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2017 - 31
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2017 - To the rescue
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2017 - 33
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2017 - Profit Builder
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2017 - Richard Truett
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2017 - On the line
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2017 - Letters
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2017 - Real time
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2017 - 39
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2017 - Feedback
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2017 - After hours
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2017 - Efficiency expert
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2017 - Longer lasting
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2017 - Shop Talk
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2017 - Five Minutes With
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2017 - Fixed in Time
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2017 - Cover3
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2017 - Cover4
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