Gift Cards as a Dealership Visit Incentive

JD Rucker
After completing a lengthy study of the chat providers in the automotive industry, I thought that I would take on a smaller but equally debatable topic - gift cards as incentives to come to the dealership. As far as I know, there is Hook Logic, Showroom Magnet, and Intice. Am I missing any? If you've used any of these, what was your experience? I'm a big fan of the concept but I have never really taken a deep dive into the process and results. I am going to be meeting with two of the three next week for certain and if I can nail down a time with the third, it's on. This is going to be quicker than the chat exploration because of the limited number of companies involved, but it might be even harder. From what I've heard so far, all three seem like excellent choices. If anyone has any insight into any of these services or if you know of others out there, please let me know via email or here in the comments. Thanks!
Russ Chandler
Great topic JD, incentives are a big part of what we do and have had a lot of success leveraging gift cards. To expand on the topic I would like to hear some feedback on the different types of gift cards(VISA, Amazon, retail specific, ect.) and what action specifically is being incentivized. To contribute my feedback, I particularly like $25 Amazon or VISA gift cards incentivizing a test drive or trade appraisal. That seems to work best with my software, especially in the digital space of a customer registering. I believe there is always a value in any type of customer showing up at the dealership, whether or not they consider themselves "in the market" to buy a car or not. With that said I think most dealers would want to incentivize a customer buying a car more than someone that could be selling they're or car or coming in for service. With direct mail/software combo I've recently had a spike in response by offering a $25 gift card on the mail piece leading to a microsite where I double or triple the offer upon finding out just how valuable the customer is through a quick registration with polling questions. Not to get too far off track, most of my experience with incentives haven't been specifically with the companies you mentioned above but with my own companies software. I wouldn't necessarily say we are apples to apples, more that our promotion management software has a feature similar to their programs built into the platform. The dealers I've worked on the program with all have said positive things about these guys and enjoy the pricing structure. I'm a big fan of the ability to offer different incentives according to the location of the customer to the dealership. I would be happy to set a phone call up with a few customers of mine that have experience with these companies if you don't already have enough dealer feedback. I look forward to you sharing your assessment.
mark rask
I think it is a great idea
Grant Gooley
While trying to drive our Lead to Appt. conversion we used a test drive = movie passes promotion. The statistics didn't prove that it made a difference. When people want to make a $30,000 purchase, $25 doesn't mean a whole lot. I'm sure there are many different ways to go about this, ours didn't work so well.
Shannon Hammons
We actually created our own using our website provider DealerFire. We have the popup and buy our own gift cards. It is a much more cost effective way than using one of the "gift card" vendors.
Larry Bruce
@Grant I am not sure how you used movie passes but we have had great success with that type of incentive, particularly in a new model launch. We took a "Date Night" perspective when helping one of our clients launch the new Hyundai Equus, quite a bit more than $30K, although we offered gift cards for dinner & a movie then allowed the customer to take the Equus on the date and return the next day. This was a very successful campaign here were the numbers: 281 Leads Generated 157 Shown Appointments for the offer - 56% Shown Appointment Rate 73 sold vehicles - 46% Closing Ratio ROI = 509% The traffic drives for this campaign were Website, Email, PPC and Direct Mail. The point is the incentive is just part of the over all offer and will not affect results alone. You still have to frame it from the customers perspective, place them in the offer, ask them to take advantage of it and give them a reason why they should. In all reality the $25 means more to the customer than a $2500 discount, because to get the discount they have to spend $30K and they may not be ready to make that decision right now but they may be ready to just drive one and get $25 to do it. I believe incentives could have worked for you if you had a partner that could help you use them in the right way.

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