Auto Service World
Feature   May 1, 2002   by Auto Service World

Knowledge Building: Selling Complete Car Care

Appearance is everything. Well, okay, not quite everything, but it is an important part of ensuring that the products you sell are seen and purchased by the customer.

There are a number of standard rules for consumer-directed merchandising, and most can be summed up in a few words:

Use clear signage.

Price everything.

Keep shelves full.

Keep displayed products clean.

It is not difficult to imagine why any of these is important, especially the last one. When it comes to car care products, particularly those of the wax and polish category, there are also some additional points to consider.

Like many consumer-oriented products, there is an increasing variety that can be sold. Different brands can provide a good selection for consumers, but there is also the multi-step car care approach to consider in your merchandising.

If you have limited shelf space, you may be tempted to short-change the displayed products by leaving out the slowest moving “step” in a car care line. You may, for instance, sell far more car wash and wax than polish or paint cleaner and be tempted to add another wax to the shelf, rather than polish or paint cleaner. This is ill advised.

True, there are scores of products that couldn’t possibly be displayed in any reasonably sized operation, but you should be careful about leaving products out of multi-step lines. If you do you can run the risk of not being able to provide the customer with the products he or she needs to complete the job.

It may just seem like a wash and wax to you, but to the car owner, it’s an important task that they may very well be looking forward to doing on what may be a rare sunny weekend. You may be better off to carry only a few alternative brands, but be able to provide cleaning solutions for all parts of the car and any finish problems–like contaminants or light scratches–that the consumer may have.

Along the same lines, you should be able to provide all the tools necessary for the job. These should be displayed in the same location as the waxes and polishes, even if it means re-hanging some of the shelving to accommodate them.

Think about all the items someone needs to clean their car.


Waxes, Polishes, Cleaners

Chamois, Sponges, Wash Mitt



Glass Cleaner

Tire and Wheel Cleaner and Protectant

Hose Nozzles and Sprayers


Carpet Shampoo

Upholstery Cleaners

Stain Removers

Glass Cleaner

Surface Protectant

Within two to three meters of space, you should be able to set up a Clean Car Center that can accommodate all these items. Try to locate any literature in the same area.

Organized well, it can provide an efficient way for the consumer to shop, and if they need advice, you won’t have to be running around trying to show the customer the different options. The last thing you want to do is send the customer to another store for something that you should reasonably be able to provide.

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