Most dealerships simply consist of a huge lot, a showroom, repair bays and a bunch of offices. They’re boring. But what if we switched it up and put vendors inside them, kind of like Whole Foods is doing with its new Millennial-focused stores? Here are some shops that should be in car dealerships.
You know that little hotdog stand in your local Home Depot? Well, Whole Foods wants their own hotdog stand. Sort of. Beginning this year, the green-chic grocery giant is starting a new line of stores called 365. The idea is to share space with local “innovative businesses”that can help lure in hipsters with things like record stores, fixie repair shops, tattoo parlors, organic skin-care products, Japanese fermented foods and bike-powered superfood bars.
Whole Foods is losing market share to cheaper alternatives, so the idea behind 365 is to make life a bit more convenient for the scarf, flannel shirt and thick-rimmed glasses-wearers among us. “You know what? I need to get my fixie lubed up, but why don’t I walk into this conveniently-placed grocery store and buy a bunch of kale, tea, organic honey and kraft beer,” Whole Foods hopes they will all say.
What if we applied this concept to car dealerships? Think about how different brands try to present themselves as rugged, luxurious or “dynamic.” Think about all the marketing they do to appeal to a certain kind of customer. Why not open a store that lures in that customer, just as Whole Foods wants to open hipster stores to bring in ironic hipster customers?
Plus, who wants to sit in the waiting room as the techs rotate their tires and replace the stupid little heat shield that keeps falling off? That’s boring, so here’s how we can do better.
If you’re a sorority girl or Jersey Shore bro and your SUV is starting to make terrible and embarrassing noises, you face a tough dilemma: how can you get your car fixed if you’ve got the next six days booked at a tanning salon?
You don’t want to have to go out of your way to drop off your car; it’s just too inconvenient. The solution: go to an in-dealer tanning salon. Drop your car off, give the keys to some guy who keeps blabbering on about “You haven’t changed your oil in more than sixty thous...etc, etc.” and bask in UV rays until you look like a carrot.
This idea also works for Toyota and Chevy dealers. We all know frat guys love 4Runners, Tahoes, and tans, and not necessarily in that order.
Rolls-Royce and Bentley dealers: how many of your customers are 90-year-old men inexplicably seen with 20-something girls in the passenger’s seat, or well-to-do married women carrying on dangerous liaisons with their tennis instructors? You know the answer: All of them.
Sometimes those folks get found out, and they have but one recourse: diamond necklaces or five-figure watches. (It’s cheaper than alimony.) Dealers, why not get in on some of that? It’s brilliant: open up a jewelry shop in your dealership and capitalize on your customers’ adulterous guilt.
Do it and watch the money roll in.
Subaru and Jeep like to flaunt themselves as “outdoor lifestyle” brands. You always see B-Roll of an Outback splashing through a mud puddle or a Wrangler crawling up a steep rock. “If you’re an outdoorsman, this is the car for you,” the ads suggest.
So what better way to bring in that outdoorsy, “active,” demographic than opening up a camping store in your dealership? “Hey, I’m on my way to shoot some quail, so I’ll grab some ammo and maybe a $50,000 Jeep Wrangler while I’m at it,” the customers would possibly but probably not say.
Maybe it would work better to lure in the more tooth-challenged among us. You know, the ones whose family tree is a little too short if you know what I mean.
Say you’re a used car dealership somewhere in rural West Virginia, and you specialize in lifted, camouflaged K5 Blazers. For you, a gun store in the dealership would make you beaucoup-bucks! Texas thinks it’s a great idea.
Any idea that comes out of Texas has to be a good one!
See the guy in the picture above? He probably sleeps with a protein shake IV drip and listens to more Three Days Grace than any man on earth.
You know the type. He’s almost like the tan Land Rover bro, except he’s not quite as wealthy. He’s all about getting “yoked,” “swole,” and “vascular.” He stands in the mirror for hours on end flexing, wondering how it’s possible for one man to look this good.
And he drives a used Infiniti G35. Or a Foxbody Mustang. Or both.
So if you’re a dealership and you’ve got bro-mobiles like those on your lot, grab some heavy pieces of metal, arrange them in the shape of a dumbbell, and guys named Chad will see you from the highway and stop in. That’s when you sell them a G35 with a “sick sound system.”
This one’s a little more serious and less offensive (sorry G35 owners).
Dealerships are all about rapport, right? Building relationships. One of the best ways to reach out to your community and make friends is to host Cars and Coffee: a gathering of gearheads who drink coffee while making fun of the guy who brought an automatic BRZ.
It’s a great way to get to know local car people, the very people to whom many go for car advice. Those are the people you want on your side, because they might not only recommend a car, but they could recommend your dealership.
So host Cars and Coffee. After all, what two things go together better than cars and coffee? Answer: cars and beer. But those rarely go well together.
What are your dealership store ideas?