From computers to home furnishings, consumers see environmental fees in every aspect of the retail sector. So why do car buyers get frustrated when dealers charge green fees? It doesn’t have to be that way. Not only can you, as a dealer, help them understand what these fees cover, you can also make it a positive part of your brand!
As you know, these fees cover the important steps you are taking to help the environment. Consumers want to do business with organizations that care about the planet. They want to know that the places where they spend their hard earned dollars are doing their share to be kind to the environment, but conversely, don’t always recognize these efforts. You’re probably already doing some good work to reduce your carbon footprint, and simply need a leg up to package it properly.
For example, do you have a carwash? It’s likely the water from this service gets recycled. In fact, often the carwash takes the water from the store’s drainage, recycles it and cleans it so you can continue using it. Maybe you can post a large POP on the side of your carwash stating how many litres of water you save per year!
Here’s where the company who installed the carwash can help out – when they came to you to sell that carwash, they showed it off with all kinds of fancy media, didn’t they? Now you can ask them to lend you that material, including video, so that you can show your customers exactly how the recycling works and how it’s making your store more environmentally friendly. You can post that on your social media feeds, as well as your YouTube channel.
In the past four or five years, many dealers are using or converting to LED lights, both internally and externally. There are many reasons behind this, both environmental and cost related. LED lights last longer and they don’t produce heat, so they’re better for the environment. That can be noted in a monthly newsletter, which might contain a “green corner” about what the dealership is doing environmentally. You might even want to include something about how today’s cars are 80 percent recyclable!
Does your dealership have solar panels? Again, the company that installed the panels has material to help you promote it. If your dealership has really embraced technology, using tablets and other mobile devices to go paperless, that’s another initiative to promote.
Here’s where you can also include what your dealership is doing with heating and cooling. The vendors who installed your systems can probably help with promotional content. Also, blinds and windows in your store are fabricated with certain goods that keep the dealership warm in the winter and cool in the summer. Even furnishings in the dealership, like chairs, tables, tiling, the paint on the wall, have been made with a very small carbon footprint. Manufacturers in all sectors are very conscious of the need to be green.
Talk about how your store’s service area was designed with buffers that remove harmful fumes from customer waiting areas. And how your shop recycles oil, car parts, and other components. Even the air gets pulled to extract all the harmful fumes through a special system, filter and buffers.
In fact, all the products in your store – do they have an environmentally friendly factor? Are they low VOC (volatile organic compound)? For example, certain high-end furniture manufacturers use adhesives that don’t break down over time.
And there are other initiatives you can take. You can provide your customers with an environmental kit, with an oil absorbing mat, air purifiers, and a few different things that can help them in terms of the environmental footprint of their vehicle. Include a list of recommendations such as changing air filters and oil changes to keep the vehicle more efficient.
Even the parts department can get in on the act. Talk about what you do with the packaging that comes with new vehicles. Explain how it gets recycled, how it gets cut up and goes back to the manufacturer to be repurposed. How engines and transmissions and other larger car parts come in plastic cases which go back and get reused thousands of times.
What about your customer shuttle? It would be great if that vehicle was electric or even a hybrid. If you can put some POP on that shuttle, it makes a great moving billboard.
Look around your dealership and start taking stock of all the ways you’re working to save the environment. The air is clean, you’ve greened all kinds of aspects of your store, from using hand dryers instead of paper towels to brewing coffee that’s not from single-serve pods. That’s an important message to get out to your customers, to help them understand that when they’re buying a car from you, they can be confident they’re working with someone who cares about the environment as much as they do.