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Black Friday stories of success

Liz Hochstedler, Associate Editor
December 6, 2011
Filed under From the Editors

Last week we learned that retailers nationwide had great Black Friday success. But what did the day mean for dealers in our industry? For at least a few, it meant positive sales.

After promoting a $20 gift card to the first 20 customers to walk through the door at Fun Bike Center in San Diego, the dealership staff arrived to a surprise on Black Friday.

“We had a line of people waiting to come in the door, and that was great,” general manager Mel Gusman said, adding the line was about 20 people long.

Specials, including a discount on a Chatterbox Bluetooth system, a helmet deal and 20-25 percent of regular-priced P&A, were promoted through text messages, emails, the dealership’s website and a Google pay-per-click campaign. Along with the gift card giveaway, the helmet special of $39.99 for an Xpeed full-face model was popular.

“We had people walking out of here with three or four helmets,” Gusman said.

Fun Bike Center has been participating in Black Friday for about a decade because the deals attract traffic. Though 2011 wasn’t the dealership’s best Black Friday, it was the most successful since about 2008.

“It was a lot stronger than I thought it was going to be,” Gusman said.

The dealership is now looking forward to continuing that success through the holiday season.

“[Black Friday is] our big piece, but we’re gearing up for big things coming up,” Gusman said.

Another story of success comes from Bob Henig, owner of Bob’s BMW in Jessup, Md. Henig’s philosophy is to ignore Black Friday traditions of opening early and providing big discounts, but instead push customer service and the calmness of his store.

“We have, literally in our promotion over the years, promoted this dealership as a safe haven from the insanity,” Henig said.

Because Black Friday is still a special day for retail, Bob makes sure his staff goes the extra mile for customers, and he provides donuts, pastries and coffee for customers. The discounts are usually only about 10 percent off, and they’re not advertised because Henig doesn’t want to lose margin or upset customers who may have shopped earlier in the week. Despite his alternative stance, Henig sees success each Black Friday.

“We have a very strong day of sales,” he said. “We see about three times the sales of a normal Friday.”

Gift cards performed well this year, only the second year the program has been in place at the dealership. Along with each gift card purchase, the staff at Bob’s BMW encourages the purchase of a T-shirt or baseball cap, so the gift giver doesn’t go into celebrations with just a card in hand. The upsell works about 80 percent of the time.

Henig is also looking forward to the rest of the holiday season, including his annual Holiday Cheer celebration that comes the last Saturday before Christmas.

“The Holiday Cheer event has been great. It’s frequently our most attended event of the year. Last year, 325 people came throughout the day,” he said.

Yearning for more Black Friday data from our industry? Pick up the Dec. 26 issue of Powersports Business for an analysis from ADP Lightspeed’s Hal Ethington. And 50 Below provides insight into how powersports dealerships fared on Cyber Monday here.

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