Case Study: Salvage Yard Appeals to Do-It-Yourself-ers with Mobile App

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Merchant: Victory Auto Wreckers
Location: Bensenville, Illinois
Platform: Como, YouTube, Facebook
Bottom Line: Mobile apps with inventory search features can increase customer loyalty.

As the millennial generation transitions away from traditional television, toward online video streaming, established businesses are shifting their ad budgets toward mobile. Victory Auto Wreckers is no exception. The auto salvage yard, just outside Chicago— known for running the same television commercial for four decades — made the transition from offline to online advertising and marketing, using a combination of custom mobile app, social media, and a website redesign to engage its loyal customer base.

“Traditionally, [we advertised] via TV and word of mouth,” says Jesse Padilla, Victory’s marketing manager. “While they are still part of how we market, we’re now incorporating social media to keep our customers engaged and informed.”

In addition to social media channels like Facebook and YouTube — where Padilla shares how-to videos and articles that might be helpful to his customers — Victory also upgraded its website to offer instant online quotes and inventory lookup information. Customers who sign up for notifications can find out immediate via email or text message when specific vehicles have arrived in stock. And Victory’s mobile application, available to both iOS and Android users, allows the business to automatically notify customers about inventory changes.

“More and more people are using a mobile device and tablets as their primary internet device,” Padilla says. “We felt that we needed to be where they are.”

Victory built its mobile app with the help of Como, a DIY app builder for businesses. Padilla says he found the vendor through a basic Google search, and he ultimately chose to work with company based on pricing and ease-of-use. Como’s plans start at $29 per month for businesses that sign up for at least two years.

Google Analytics and Como’s own analytics tools provide Padilla with the data he needs to track where his customers are coming from. He also tracks how many subscribers are signing up for his company’s inventory notification system as a way to measure online marketing success.

Padilla says the majority of his customers consider themselves do-it-yourselfers, and they appreciate being able to do their own inventory research without relying on anyone else for help.

”I’ve seen customers using [the mobile app] in the yard to locate vehicles versus walking back to the front counter to ask … They use it to plan their visit by knowing what row a vehicle is in,” he says. “[The app is] easy to use, and it cuts out the time, and sometimes frustration, of having to call to find out the color of the car, or if it’s a two or four door.”

With his company’s website and mobile apps now firmly in place, Padilla is looking toward his next challenge: online advertising. He’s considering running YouTube ads in the near future.

“We’re always looking at where are customers are online, [and] YouTube ads are something we’re starting to research,” he says.

Stephanie Miles is a senior editor at Street Fight.

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Stephanie Miles is a journalist who covers personal finance, technology, and real estate. As Street Fight’s senior editor, she is particularly interested in how local merchants and national brands are utilizing hyperlocal technology to reach consumers. She has written for FHM, the Daily News, Working World, Gawker, Cityfile, and Recessionwire.