By Liz Whalen
Before the time of self-driving cars, on-demand directions, and the internet, it was tough for the weekend warrior with a need for speed to find the exact parts required to get their ‘fixer-upper” car from their garage to the streets. Car enthusiasts had to locate their nearest brick and mortar aftermarket parts store and travel there to find what they needed. They relied on the relationship they created with their local store employees, built on trust over time, plus the physical touch and feel of the product to drive their purchase decisions. Can you imagine all that driving and human interaction? The horror! There was no next day shipping, shopping around from the comfort of their couch, or writing the scathing review for a failed part while they hide behind computer screens.
Now, everything has changed and weekend warriors are no longer relying on their friends down at the nearest store to purchase parts, replacing them with the convenience of an internet connection. While the internet provides countless sources to diagnose a problem, compare parts, and skim through reviews from the many strangers that came before them, the screen time can’t quite replace the trusted relationship built by the face-to-face interactions that used to be commonplace for car enthusiasts. The internet isn’t going anywhere and is increasingly vital to aftermarket sales, but it can’t recreate the trust built by the brick and mortar-based relationships of the past. Your product content now acts as the mechanism that drives a trusted relationship between you and your weekend warriors. To replace the face-to-face time with your product content, there are 3 lessons to be learned from the legacy of our brick and mortar-based forefathers:
Personalized interaction is everything: The connection that’s created by a friendly face standing in front of your customers with a fact-based, informed recommendation to promptly solve their problems is the first step to building a relationship. What those in brick and mortar stores had to learn was how to approach the problem with the customer and support them with answers rooted in their professional experiences and education. By providing a customer exactly what they need based on the problem they come to you with, it makes them remember the special experience they had that was tailor-made for them. After all, a weekend warrior looking to fix an oil leak certainly won’t be happy with a random recommendation for brake pads. Your product content must have the detail to resonate with customers personally as they research their problems on the internet. Without the smiling face, product content must stand on its own to inform your customers.
Accurate information creates trust: When it comes to fixing cars, accuracy is a necessity for selecting the right aftermarket parts. Customers relied on in-store experts to prescribe the right part to solve their problem when information wasn’t readily at their fingertips. Employees were expected to have the knowledge and the resources available to them to check for accuracy and confirm in-person that their customers had the right part. If the information was incorrect, they risked losing their customers to the competitor down the street. Nowadays, customers are even more fickle with their purchases due to the countless internet-based options. They expect your product content to be accurate down to every little detail and if it’s not, they’ll quickly turn their attention elsewhere.
Clear expectations to establish your brand: Back before information about your brand could run rampant across internet eCommerce sites and Google searches, you could control how your brand was portrayed through your brick and mortar stores and employees. It was easier to communicate a consistent message from the appearance of the store, your breadth of inventory, and your trained employees. Creating a consistent appearance across the entire interaction with a customer created clear expectations for your brand’s promise. Today, this consistency must be carried through to your product content so that anywhere your customers look on the internet creates clear expectations for their purchase.
Although the internet has permanently changed the way that weekend warriors shop for replacement parts, it’s important to remember that their emotions and interactions still dictate their ultimate purchase decision. Without building trust through the faces of your employees and your brick and mortar store, you’re forced to lean heavily on your product content to speak for you to your customers. Considering these lessons from our face-to-face forefathers as a part of your product content strategy might just be what you need to win the weekend warrior’s trust for life.
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