Have you thought about posting auto shop deals on Groupon for your repair shop? The coupon giant boasts some significant benefits — targeted, local ads — but many users have seen its pitfalls. Through our own research, we learned how to post a deal on Groupon and three things every auto repair shop should watch out for.
What is Groupon?
Groupon is a website that allows businesses to promote coupons through their website and email list. This coupon advertising program is available for all types of businesses – big and small. So whether you’re a small auto repair shop or a national auto dealership, Groupon can connect you with their customer base of 41.8 million users.
Groupon is so enticing to users because of the steep discounts offered by businesses. These offers can entice new customers to pick you over their regular shop, or even drive traffic during slow seasons.
Plus, your auto shop deal will be in front of local consumers that are likely to make in-store purchases.
How to Post Auto Shop Deals on Groupon
Groupon’s coupon advertising platform is easy to set up and manage. As a business owner, you take a few minutes to create your account and coupon deal, and then Groupon does the rest for you!
1. Sign up as a Merchant
To begin, you’ll need to sign up as a Merchant on Groupon’s website. This part is free and requires just a few minutes of your time to input your business information.
During signup, Groupon requires that you submit the URL of your website or Facebook page. They will use the information from this page to make recommendations for your campaign.
If you don’t have a website or Facebook page, you need one yesterday. With an auto repair shop on every corner, an online presence can set you apart just by making your shop visible. Setting up your auto repair shop’s online presence is easier than you might think. Once you have a website or Facebook Page in order, you can fully set up your Groupon Merchant account.
2. Post Your Auto Shop Deal
After you’ve configured your account, you’ll begin building your deal. The first action is to select a goal. Groupon gives you two options: Acquire New Customers and Expand my Online Presence.
When it comes to coupon advertising, there is only ONE way to get a return on your investment. Acquire new customers! Optimizing your deal for online traffic can have positive effects on your brand, but will it directly generate new sales? If not, then optimizing your deal this way isn’t worth the investment. For auto shops with physical locations (auto repair, car wash, dealerships, etc.), we highly recommend focusing on acquiring new, in-store customers.
Now that you’ve chosen your goal, you can get started on the deal. Groupon makes it pleasantly easy to create your offer. Because you select your business category during setup, Groupon allows you to pick from templates specific to “Automotive Oil Change” and the like.
Walk through the Deal Builder and fill in the information to fit your business (with help from Groupon’s category-themed suggestions). To-do items include:
- Deal Name
- Regular Price of the Service & Discount Amount
- Add Photos
- Describe the Deal and add Highlights
- Describe Your Business
- Set Terms and Limits
- Verify Physical Location for Redemptions
- Select Deal Start and End Dates
3. Sign The Contract
That’s right! All Groupon Merchants must sign a contract before your deal will move forward to the review phase. While we’ll get into some specifics later, make sure to read the contract. You may be surprised at how much control Groupon has over your deal.
3 Things to Know Before Posting Deals on Groupon
Getting your Groupon deal up and running is easy. Managing your campaign is the hard part.
As I walked through the process, there were three things I felt every business owner should know before posting auto shop deals on Groupon.
1. In-Depth Training is Required
If your cashiers don’t know how to redeem a Groupon voucher, you’ll never get paid. Groupon will only send you funds for deals that are marked as “Redeemed” within your Merchant Center.
For example, Bob purchases your Oil Change deal for $20. Two weeks later, Bob comes into your shop and uses his Groupon deal. Your cashier-in-training writes down the coupon code and forgets to enter it into the Merchant Center until tomorrow morning.
It is only once your cashier enters that coupon code into the Merchant Center that Groupon will start processing your cut of the deal.
To get your cash ASAP, make sure your team is well-trained and that your business has the right tools and resources to redeem every coupon that comes in the door quickly.
2. Groupon Can Change Your Deal
I was appalled to learn that Groupon can discount your deal even further without your permission! Well, technically, you give them permission by signing the contract. (Always read the contract!) Your signed agreement allows Groupon to “put your offer on sale for a limited time.”
Meaning, they can take your 30% off deal and change it to a 50% off deal. Then, Groupon reduces your take by 20%.
Groupon reasons that discounting your deal can increase conversions and is popular with customers. No duh, Groupon! That’s the whole point of coupon advertising.
Instead, maintain control over your discounts (and profits) by looking for an auto shop coupon program that lets you stay in charge.
3. Coupon Advertising Can Be Profitable
When small businesses have a less-than-profitable experience with Groupon, they may have the misconception that coupon advertising is never profitable.
This is a myth! Coupon advertising can be profitable with the right tools and strategy.
Before posting your auto shop’s deal on Groupon, do some research. There are various ways to get your coupons to local shoppers — direct mail, social media, and grocery store receipts, to name a few. Check out all your options so that you can find the program that best fits your business.
Should you post your auto shop deals on Groupon?
TLDR; sure. If you’re going to stick with Groupon as your coupon service, just make sure you read all the fine print before getting started. Coupons really can work to increase profits at auto repair shops, but you need to invest in the right program. To run an effective coupon program, look for these traits:
- Your auto shop controls the discount
- New customers pay you directly (when they purchase your services)
- The program is simple to implement and easy to track coupon redemptions