CARY, N.C. –
Businesses of all stripes have tried the inflatable gorilla, Uncle Sam spinning a sign and whatever you call that tall, wavy windsock.
Sure, they might catch the eye of a passer-by.
But so can the actual product you’re selling — especially if it’s a spinning vehicle lifted 10 feet in the air.
That’s the idea behind what 360 Auto Display provides to dealerships: a structure that elevates and rotates vehicles on the lot to draw customers in.
Auto Remarketing recently caught with up with 360 Auto Display owners Dan Matheus and Chris Purtee to explain the allure of a rotating vehicle.
The Houston-based outfit is working with dealers of kinds, they say, from luxury franchised stores to buy-here, pay-here shops, from California to North Carolina.
And in customer feedback, dealerships have told the company, “Motion creates emotion,” Purtee said in the phone interview.
“You go down dealership row where it’s dealership after dealership after dealership, that whole front line just looks the same to motorists,” Purtee said. “You’ve heard the term ‘interruption’ used in advertising, and that’s what this does. It’s an interrupter. It gets them to look and gets them into the lot.”
What they often hear, particularly from used-car dealerships, is that the rotating display, by prominently showcasing the vehicle, can help move cars that have been sitting on the lot for a while, Purtee said.
And it may not even be to showcase one particular unit that needs moving; the dealership could use the display simply to showcase a certain model on which they’re running a rebate special, for instance.
Dealers can also put stickers or customizable banners on the display unit for advertising purposes.
The point is to get the shopper on the lot.
Logistics behind set-up
Matheus said 360 Auto will come in to do the initial set-up for the rotating display and balance it. Skype for Mac The company will also train the dealership’s porters or crew members on how to switch out the vehicle when necessary — say, for instance, a customer wants to buy the car on display.
In terms of roadside visualization, the vehicle is elevated 10 feet, Matheus said, then you tack on the actual height of the vehicle. In going through research, the company found that in terms of a rotating vehicle, the minimum height to avoid safety mishaps — i.e., someone bumping their head on the vehicle — is around 8 feet.
“At 10 feet high, there’s no chance that someone’s going to be able to walk into the parking lot looking at a car and get bumped in the head,” Matheus said.
Additionally, that’s about the maximum height when transporting the vehicle display to avoid trouble with transportation regulators.
Ten feet is also an ideal height, Matheus said, in terms of catching a driver’s peripheral vision.
“If it’s up higher than that,” he said, “you kind of lose it. Also, it’s below the parking lot lights, so the parking lot lights shine down on it. And we have lights, spinning around with the car that are shining up on the car, too.”
Additional measures on safety
The first question that 360 Auto will typically get from a dealer is, what about the wind?
The company’s answer to that?
“We’ve got an engineering stamp for 92 mph winds,” Matheus said.
Unless wind speeds are above 92 mph, the dealership does not need to take the structure down.
The structure was built so that in high wind speeds, “the unit will nose into the wind,” much like an anchored sailboat that “floats around and points into the wind,” Matheus said.
“And then once the wind lets up, where it’s safe, it’ll get going,” he said.
In other words, with high-speed winds, it is built to stop spinning. Then once it’s safe, it will begin again.
Of course, in the case of something like a hurricane or tornado, it might not be a bad idea to take the structure down, although the dealership may have more pressing concerns at that point, they said.
In terms of additional safety measures, the company has a safety video on its website and it trains dealership personnel on site on switching it out when they set the unit up. The process is relatively simple and takes 10 minutes to 15 minutes.
Catching drivers’ attention continues to have value in auto marketing.
At a time when the best brains in automotive marketing are obsessed with digital campaigns, and orthodoxy holds that customers discover a dealership online, can there be much life left in roadside displays?
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Absolutely, say Dan Matheus and Chris Purtee, the owner and VP, respectively, of 360 Auto Display USA, a Fort Worth, Texas, business that markets 10-foot rotating auto lifts. Digital marketing may dominate the future of franchised new car retailing, they say, but there also is no denying that working Americans spend far too much of their lives in slow traffic, gazing at roadside businesses.
“Every car dealership that’s worth anything is going to be on a major highway or major thoroughfare,” Matheus said. “We can attract attention of all those thousands of cars going by.”
Or, if you like, think of their rotating lifts as an adjunct to a dealership’s website. The store can post photos of its entire inventory online but put a high-margin car up on the lift to catch a customer’s eye upon driving onto the lot. It’s a possible upsell, predicated upon the simple notion that elevation and motion command the attention of people whose heads are swimming with static web photos.
HELPING UPSELL PROSPECTS
So, then, the guys who run 360 Auto Display would argue that the prevailing opinion that most buyers come to the lot committed to a specific make and model, somewhat overblown? “There is always an opportunity to upsell,” Matheus insisted. “Half the market is women, and they are good candidates for upselling.”
Added Purtee: “Also, it may not matter whether people are interested in buying the car on the lift, as long as you got them onto the lot. There are studies that show the elevation of a display, in conjunction with the motion, draws your eye, creates emotion and gets people on the lot. It’s a way to differentiate yourself from the stores to your right and left along dealership row.”
Their company’s Auto Spinner units are not the most complex devices in retailing, by design. A 2-foot ramp can be lowered so that someone can drive a car up onto a battery-powered ramp. flipkart app Once the platform is raised to its full 10-foot altitude, an electric cord plugged into a 110-volt receptacle rotates it. Promotional banners can be affixed to the framework, thus also keeping people from wandering underneath the lift.
Vehicles of up to 9,000 pounds can be raised above the rest of the inventory on the lot or showroom floor, and the machine fits onto the equivalent of one parking space. “That’s very important, because you don’t want to be taking away multiple spaces from a car business,” Matheus said.
JUSTIFYING THE COST
360 Auto Display says it is leasing several dozen units to dealerships around the country, and sales are picking up as the company works through issues that have slowed down production. They have trucked lifts to stores in California, North Carolina, Florida, Ohio and Minnesota.
“It should take you only about 10 minutes to change a vehicle out, once you know what you’re doing,” Purtee said.
The question becomes (as with any other marketing investment in auto retailing), how to measure ROI on the cost? After all, who’s to say whether the lift display made that big a difference, and a customer was primed to buy that vehicle anyway?
The 360 Auto Display entrepreneurs say it’s definitely important for dealers to query their customers and track whether they directly ask about a car on the spinner or say it drew their attention. At that point, it’s best to make sure a dealership’s experience parallels other users,’ meaning seven to 12 additional vehicles sold per month, they said.
A good rule of thumb, Matheus added, is to give a car no more than two to four days of extra visibility on the lift before replacing it with a vehicle with better sales prospects.
The two say that keeping in good stead with city and county sign ordinances (since advertising banners are draped below the lift, which can itself be considered a commercial display) has proved to be a bigger issue than lift safety and OSHA regulations. They make a point of poring over local sign regulations and calling the government offices before every installation.
Even in this era of Internet customers and decreased show- room visits, every dealer looking to increase monthly sales volumes knows you can’t make sales if you don’t have customers walking onto the lot.
While outgoing telephone calls and the increasing reliance on Internet departments can bring in some solid leads and sales, the higher margins come from passing motorists who are drawn to pull into the dealership and ideally purchase from your stock.
That age-old question of how to get these potential customers to drop in could be aided with a new breed of auto display that elevates a vehicle on a revolving pedestal that sits 10 feet high in the air, rotating 24 hours a day.
What sets the latest rotating car displays apart from their massive erector-set ancestors is the ease-of-use, small foot- print, fast vehicle change-out and automatic lights that illuminate the vehicles at night.
Sweetening the deal, explains 360 Auto Display, are low- cost monthly lease options with turnkey service.
However, as with any form of advertising, general managers and owners of dealership have only one question: “Will it increase sales and by how much?”
For those intrigued by the concept, here are five criteria that will help determine if this form of advertising might be profitable.
WILL IT INCREASE SALES?
For the forward-thinking dealerships that have already tested this concept, there is deliverable proof of its ability to increase walk-in traffic and significantly boost sales.
“We get good traffic anyway, but our elevated, rotating car display probably increased our numbers by 20 to 30 per cent over the six months we’ve had it,” says Danny Nolan, sales manager at Arriba Motors, with stores in Conroe and Porter, Texas.
Nolan selected a system that fits in a single parking spot and is designed for easy changing of vehicles in 10 to 15 minutes. The system operates 24/7 and runs off a common 20 amp, 110 volt, grounded circuit.
“We put our high profit margin vehicles up there and customers buy them right off the display,” Nolan adds.
MAGIC IN THE MOTION
Prime dealership spots along heavily trafficked highways or roads bring the potential of millions of customers driving by each year. But how do you attract the attention of a driver?
According to Terence Shrimp and J. Craig Andrew’s Ad- vertising, Promotion and Other Aspects of Integrated Marketing Communications, advertisements that involve motion increased sales by 51 per cent compared to a similar static display.
This theory favors corner sign holders that spin and flip their signs and inflatable dancing men that gyrate spastically.
The advantage of a spinning car display beyond its motion, explains 360 Auto Display, is that it shows the actual product being sold.
According to John Johnson, general manager at Bates Nissan in Killeen, Texas, the first vehicle he placed on the spinner was a Nissan Juke.
“I thought because the car looks unique, it would catch someone’s attention and it did,” says Johnson.
“A lady was driving by, noticed the Juke and stopped in. She said she had never seen one of them before, thought it was cute and bought it on the spot…”
NO FUSS PROMOTION
360 Auto Display says it takes roughly 15 minutes to swap cars on its car rotator.
The company encourages swapping on an almost daily basis, adding variety to the attention-getting mix.
Unlike older styles with a footprint that can take up 192.168.l.254 as many as eight car slots, modern designs enable the car lift to fit into a single parking space to preserve real estate for additional inventory.
“Busy dealers will also find appeal in a turnkey package where the lift manufacturer delivers the display, sets it up, handles all maintenance, trains employees on how to change out the vehicles, and even arranges for the printing and swapping out of promotional banners when needed,” the company notes.
MOVE PRESENTATION UPSCALE
Giant inflatable gorillas and other balloon products have their place, but some luxury brand vehicle dealerships may want a more sophisticated presentation to capture attention.
Dealers like Nolan agree that putting a fully optioned, top-of-the-line model on a raised, rotating display for all to see sends mobogenie a message that the dealership offers excellence, luxury and class.
As with any advertising, the question is the cost versus effectiveness.
360 Auto Display says it offers new, short-term leases for dealerships interested in testing the effectiveness of a display without making the large financial commitment of ownership.
Terms are as short as six months and allow owners to test drive the product and monitor the impact on sales without a major impact on the advertising budget.
360 Auto Display says it has distributors in Canada and will ship equipment, set it up and train staff.
Five critical criteria to determine if elevated, spinning car displays might work for your dealership
What sets the latest rotating car displays apart from their massive erector-set ancestors is the ease-of-use, small footprint, fast vehicle change-out, and eye-catching features such as automatic lights that illuminate the vehicles at night.
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Sweetening the deal are new low cost monthly lease options with turnkey service, which means the lift display is delivered to the lot and maintained by the provider for as long as the dealership wants it.