How automotive service departments are utilizing digital menu boards

Apr 09, 2013 | Articles

Gone are the days when menu board additions and deletions were costly, tedious and time consuming to update with any regularity. With many fast food markets continuing to embrace digital menu board technology as the new standard, other industries are beginning to see similar advantages to this platform for their own markets.automotive digital menu boardsDigital information systems, a hybrid evolved from the food service digital menu board concept, functions similarly - allowing users to easily update and control content and timing, while ensuring accuracy and consistency in messaging. One of the industries experimenting with this digital technology is the retail automotive market.Car dealers have tackled their share of struggles over the last few years with bailouts, bankruptcy and brand elimination. But it appears the industry is now on the rebound, with year-over-year sales increases for a majority of automotive brands.In addition to seeing a surge in new and pre-owned car sales, car dealers are also experiencing an uptick in service department visits. According to a J.D. Power and Associates 2013 U.S. Customer Service Index Study, car owners are now visiting a dealer’s service department an average of 2.6 times per year – and most often for regular vehicle maintenance. More than ¾ of those surveyed (77%) indicated that their most recent dealer visit was for items such as oil changes and tire rotations (up from 72% in 2012 and 63% in 2011).Understanding the need to capitalize on increased traffic to their service departments, car dealers have begun to adopt, and successfully implement, digital information systems.“Manufacturers have made large investments in their retail programs, and dealers have made significant investments in key customer touch-points – people , improved processes and customer waiting areas – which are having a profoundly positive impact on their customers,” said Chris Sutton, senior director at J.D. Power and Associates.Service departments have a captive audience and dealers are beginning to understand that traditional, static ways of marketing to their customers are no longer effective. Today’s consumers expect communications to be dynamic, engaging and visually appealing. With the bar raised, encouraging a purchase doesn’t necessarily take more work, it just takes a new approach.These digital information systems eliminate the “gimmicky” appearance many service departments presented in the past, with handwritten signs and price bursts that were better suited to a garage sale. The digital systems allow retailers to push branded, tailored content, adding a much more professional feel to the business. Additionally, static menu boards can be confusing and even intimidating for those unfamiliar with many suggested automotive repairs and services.In addition to promotions and pricing, digital information systems allow retailers to incorporate videos and imagery into their content. Potentially invaluable to automotive service departments, these videos can help educate customers about maintenance programs, services and products they may not understand - thus, lifting sales of those targeted promotions.Digital information systems also allow automotive service departments to easily update specials, limited time offers and pricing. And since content can be updated from any web browser, this ensures messaging can stay fresh and competitive. For over 30 years, VGS has been in the business of designing and manufacturing menu boards and custom menu boards, as well as digital menu board systems and digital information platforms that effectively help you sell more. Visit us at for more information.

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