There is a reason your customers come to you for service. Perhaps its location, the oil you pour or even the amenities offered in your waiting room. But more often than not, it’s the customer experience your crew provides. A vehicle is one of the greatest financial investments a consumer can make, and your customers come to you because they trust you will help them protect their investments. Sometimes that means offering them more than the maintenance performed under the hood.
As we transition from the frigid temperatures we faced this winter to subsequently warmer weather, you’ll see more and more traffic through your bays as the country gears up for summer vacations. With everyone piling in and out of their cars, carting luggage, dirty baseball equipment, sandy beach towels and the stuff of everyday life, now might be a good time to consider selling floor mats.
“People always talk about messy winter weather, but there is messy spring and summer weather, too. It’s not isolated to just one season,” said Paula Strelczyk, Operations Logistics and Wholesale director for MacNeil Automotive Products, LTD.
That makes floor mats a logical item to stock in your shop.
“In a quick lube, a customer is there for a service,” Strelczyk said. “What a great opportunity to offer consumers a product that will protect their investment while they are there.”
Adding another product to your shop means an added inventory component, but deciding how large your floor mat selection should be can be a simple task. As with other products you stock, your floor mat inventory would largely depend on the footprint of your location and how much space you have in your shop or waiting room area. But after taking a look around your shop, there’s one other indicator that stocking a selection of floor mats might be right for you: the floorboards of the vehicles driving into your bays every day.
Most likely, part of your multi-point service includes a quick vacuum. While you are performing the service, see how many of your customers could truly benefit from the product offering.
If you decide carrying floor mats would provide added value for your customers and boost to your bottom line, your supplier can help you decide what will work best for your location.
“It depends on the actual space and how they could incorporate the product into the shop. We offer a couple of different packages for resellers,” Strelcyzk said. “One of them is our Authorized Reseller Program. You get a universal display rack that houses nine to ten all-vehicle, four-piece mat sets and different universal assortment packages. We also have rack displays and countertop displays that can spark interest.”
Though floor mats can be customized and can vary by make and model, offering a universal product is not out of the question and is most likely your best bet as most shops see and service an eclectic mix of vehicles each day.
“Universal products are pretty easy to sell,” Strelczyk said. “They’re not too SKU intensive, so if you have someone looking at floor mats while they have their car serviced, they would be able to pick something out at that particular time, and it wouldn’t need to be a special order.”
Some floor mats can be made to look and fit like they were made for that particular car.
“There are two unique designs for the front,” Strelczyk said. “They are not mirror images of one another and take into consideration multiple factors of the floor design. The mats are designed to be trimmed, depending on where the brake and gas pedals are or if there is a trunk release lever. When they are placed in the vehicle, they become almost like a custom mat.”
Becoming a one-stop shop is an industry trend that isn’t likely to disappear. Shops are adding minor repair and brake services, tire services and expanding their product offerings to fully service customer vehicles from the inside out. Carrying an assortment of floor mats is another step in the one-stop- shop direction without significant inventory and equipment costs.
“Depending on the package, vendor costs typically range from $300-$700 and that would be operator cost, not retail,” Strelczyk said. “That includes an assortment of offerings dependent on the actual size of the footprint available.”
It’s possible you’ve already seen floor mats as a logical addition to your product line up. If so, it might be beneficial to check with your supplier to see what else they have to offer as the country heads into driving season.
“If an operator was already carrying floor mats in the shop, WeatherTech, for example, has products like our BumpStep available,” Strelczyk said. “It is a product that goes into a 2x2 receiver hitch and protects the vehicle from damage to the bumper.”
CargoTech cargo containment systems are also a logical offering.
“It is designed to help secure cargo, such as groceries, cartons, etc. and keep things contained in the back of one’s SUV or sedan,” Strelczyk said. “The super-grippy underside ensures your cargo remains stable, and you can configure them to fir around whatever you are carrying, whether it be bags or equipment.”
According to Strelczyk, if you offer interior protection products, offering exterior protection products may also be a smart move.
““Honestly, for a quick lube location, both interior and exterior protection products would be a good mix,” Strelczyk said. “Sometimes people don’t realize what they need or want until they actually see the items on display.”
Meeting the wants and needs of your customers is the foundation on which you’ve built your business. Free Wi-Fi, clean waiting areas and complimentary coffee and beverages is one way to accomplish that. However, customers come to you because you help protect one of their largest investments, and maybe this year it’s time to consider protecting them from the outside in.