Repair Shop Advice

How Do I Get More Customers Into My Auto Parts Store?

April 8, 2020

If you are looking for marketing help, everyone has something to offer you that they say has proven to work.  Get your logo in front of thousands of eyes!  Photos and videos keep your potential customers engaged for much longer!  Guaranteed results!  Surely if these companies are able to stay in business, they’ve got to work for somebody.  Right?

Not necessarily.  More than 90% of those postcard mailers will get thrown away before anyone looks at them.  A big visual ad is useless if someone isn’t actively thinking about auto parts or auto repair when they see it.  That video doesn’t help if it’s buried somewhere that nobody goes. And about those guaranteed results – if a marketing company could really get 100% of all small businesses a giant return on their marketing investment, don’t you think you would have heard of them by now?  They’d be working with every small business in town.

The truth is, many of the most effective marketing techniques don’t cost as much as you’d expect.  Some of them are even free!  Here are three ways to get more customers for your auto parts store.

Show up where it matters online

If you’re trying to get your parts store in front of customers right when they are online thinking about auto parts, here are three important facts to consider.

An important point here is that to get new customers from the internet, you don’t need a beautiful, custom website.  You need a website with the content and the architecture that gets you on the first page of the Google search results. 

And, if you want to earn all of those potential repair shop and consumer customers who are looking for an auto parts store in your area, you want to have a Google Review rating above 4.0.  That means you need to ask your happy customers for Google reviews, even if it feels awkward.

Ask for referrals (and explain why)

So many unworthy companies run marketing campaigns asking for customer referrals that it’s easy for consumers to dismiss them.  That’s a shame, because referrals can be the lifeblood of a small business.  A great referral source is the easiest way for one raving fan to turn into a hundred customers, or maybe better yet to turn into your two or three most profitable customers.

When you ask for a referral, don’t do it like large companies most often do it – with an off-hand, scripted remark from an employee that’s said very quickly because it’s awkward and just an item to be checked off.  Do it in a way that is genuine and establishes a connection with the customer.

After a customer tells you that they appreciate your advice and/or your service, thank them for the business and the feedback.  Then tell them you are a local small business, and you’d really appreciate it if they’d let any other repair shops, family or friends in the area know how happy they were with your store. Tell them referrals are one of your auto parts store’s most valuable sources of new customers.  Give them a few business cards and ask them to hand them to anyone who they think will be buying auto parts or accessories in the near future.

It’s likely that most people won’t make the effort of referring you even if you do ask.  But if you can increase your referral rate, you can have a dramatic effect on the amount of new customers coming your way. And, any number times zero is zero.

Surprise your customers

Years ago, marketing guru Seth Godin mentioned that the key to being remarkable is to be worthy of a remark. Unfortunately, most businesses are happy with hitting the low bar of customer service for their industry. That shouldn’t be you.

When you break through that low bar of customer service with a truly unique way of showing your appreciation, you can earn loyal customers for life.  How do you do this?  There are lots of options – and it’s important to know that creativity is much more important than cost.

One auto repair shop that we work with partners with a local bakery, and every customer car is returned with a bag of freshly baked cookies.  Another one keeps a stock of new Matchbox cars on hand, and customers’ kids can pick out a vehicle each time they visit.

You may not be able to execute these repair shop examples at your parts store. But consider what they represent – creative ways to show that you are looking for every opportunity to improve customers’ lives.  That’s why these inexpensive gestures can turn first-time customers into lifetime customers.

Why do lifetime customers matter so much?  Most businesses would go bankrupt fast if they had to attract a new customer for every transaction.  New customers become profitable when they turn into repeat customers.  If you want repeat customers, you’ve got to give them a reason to always choose your store.  For many customers, showing them that you really care about them is enough to do just that.

If you’re looking for more business for your auto parts store, call Repair Shop Websites at 855-294-6397 or email us at