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Focus on women's buying power

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Here's a thought on how to get ahead of the competition in the tire and automotive service business: Cater to women customers.

A novel idea? Hardly, but the fact remains that many automotive service outlets still fail to grasp the importance of this concept.

That's why there's a niche for companies like AskPatty.Com Inc., a successful online company with a website, blog and certification program that provides automotive education to women consumers and helps businesses become “female friendly.”

It's also why Julie Scroggins of Waukegan Tire & Supply Inc. in Waukegan, Ill., thought it would be a great idea if she started a program at the dealership—called “Tires & Heels”—aimed at helping educate and empower women on auto safety.

Or why Lori Johnson founded and is taking on the road her Ladies Start Your Engines workshop to teach women how to do things such as change a tire, check vehicle fluids, belts and fuses or replace wiper blades and learn automotive basics like how the engine or brake system operates.

These women see what many are missing in the tire and automotive service business: Marketing to the growing number of women customers—and that includes educating them on how their vehicle operates and what it needs to keep rolling—has powerful sales potential but often is overlooked.

“The auto industry is lagging behind others with the push to speaking to female customers,” Ms. Scroggins said in an interview with Tire Business, “As an industry, we need to make some progress in that area.”

She's right. Just look at the statistics.

Women account for 85 percent of all consumer purchases from autos to healthcare, according to data on the M2M, Marketing to Women Conference home page.

Women also account for 58 percent of all online spending.

And the spending power of women is estimated at $7 trillion annually.

There's also this information from a report in Forbes magazine: Women continue to have poor experiences when trying to buy a car, even though they purchase more than half of all new cars in the U.S. and influence 80 percent of vehicle purchasing decisions.

In the aftermarket, the Forbes report said, women request 65 percent of the service work at car dealerships and independent repair shops.

So what is the reluctance to cater to women customers? With the economy struggling to regain its strength and sales sluggish at many tire and automotive service outlets, becoming a go-to and trusted destination for women consumers is nothing less than a smart business decision.

Women service customers present an opportunity that no tire and automotive service outlet should overlook.
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Previous | Published December 6, 2018

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