How to Build a Successful Automotive Loyalty Program for Your Repair Shop

Jamey Walsh
December 11, 2023

A driver with a glaring check engine light has pulled into your auto repair shop. They tell you they chose you because you’re “the most trustworthy shop in town.” They hand over their keys and take a seat in your waiting room. A few hours later, you’ve resolved the issue, and they seem satisfied before driving away.

The question is… will they return?

Over 80% of Americans are members of one or more automotive rewards programs, so shops like yours are building successful automotive customer loyalty programs to improve customer retention, drive referrals and so much more.

Such programs have the potential to benefit your automotive repair shop as well but only if you leverage them in the right way. Understanding automotive loyalty programs, what their benefits are, how they function, and what you need to do to make them work can go a long way in ensuring your success. This is why we’ve created this guide on auto loyalty programs.

What are automotive customer loyalty programs?

Automotive customer loyalty programs are reward-based initiatives designed to keep your patrons driving back again and again for all of their car service and repair needs.

Before we launch into what makes a good customer loyalty program in the automotive industry, it’s essential to map out your shop’s “marketing” vision, goals and the direction you want to take to meet them. In our ultimate guide to marketing your auto repair shop, you’ll learn about these steps and how an automotive customer loyalty program fits into your marketing equation.

How do automotive loyalty programs work?

Customer loyalty programs come in all shapes and sizes. Many of us carry scannable loyalty cards on our key chains or QR codes on our phones to rack up points toward a future reward.

The most successful dealership loyalty programs offer patrons incentives and rewards in exchange for their loyalty. The end goal is simple—reward your customers for continuing to rely on your services (or spreading the word via referrals to potential customers).

How much do auto loyalty programs cost?

To determine how much your auto shop loyalty program costs, you’ll need to calculate:

  • Operational and administrative costs
  • Advertising costs
  • Tech-related costs, such as apps or software used to run the program
  • The total cost of rewards and incentives

Total cost doesn’t tell you if the program is effective, so you’ll want to calculate your automotive loyalty program’s return on investment (ROI).

Let’s say your net profit is $520,000, and your total cost/investment into the loyalty program is $76,000. Let’s plug these figures into the formula:

$520,000 (-) $76,000 (/) $76,000 equals = $5.84 in net profit.

In other words, for every dollar your auto shop spends on the automotive loyalty program, you see an ROI of $5.84 back in your pocket.

How much does an automotive loyalty program increase sales?

The worldwide customer loyalty management market will surpass a $24 billion valuation by 2029

Automotive loyalty programs can boost the value and frequency of sales and increase your customer lifetime value (CLV) by extending the longevity of your relationships with customers. This means you’ll experience more frequent customer transactions, leading to a positive ROI.

Building a successful automotive loyalty program

In the same way that no two auto shops are the same, every automotive loyalty program is different. Regardless of the loyalty rewards or referral bonuses you may offer, several indicators make some automotive loyalty programs more successful than others—starting with creating, advertising and tracking its success across your auto shop’s digital screens with UPshow CONNECT.

Set some car loyalty program KPIs

Creating a successful automotive customer loyalty program requires more than offering discounts and stamping a loyal-patron card. You need to know that your investment and maintenance in the program will appeal to your customers and raise a positive ROI for your business.

To determine if your loyalty program is effective over time, set KPIs that track loyal customer engagement, such as:

  • Customer sign-ups and acquisition
  • Loyalty program churn rate (who’s opting out?)
  • Loyal customer retention rate
  • Purchase/service frequency and value
  • Customer lifetime value

Establish your automotive loyalty program

Thinking about offering your customers a points-based loyalty program or a tier-based system? What will you name the program? What rewards will you offer? Will you host the program on a specific platform? These are all questions you’ll need to answer as you establish your loyalty program.

If you want to produce materials to advertise your program, it’s easy to create content with UPshow CONNECT’s in-app Canva integration. Here, you’ll have access to thousands of royalty-free images, music, videos and more to make the program eye-catching (and accessible).

It’s important to create deeper meaning, as customers might just see this as a ploy to get them to spend more—and they’re partially right. You need to make your program shine to get their attention, but you’ll need substance to keep it.

Offer an easy QR code signup process

Signing up for your automotive loyalty program shouldn’t be a hassle. Simplify the sign-up process by leveraging UPshow CONNECT’s QR code technology. The QR code you make can link your customers directly to the sign-up page, which they can access from their devices while they’re on the premises.

Keep your automotive loyalty program QR code on your customer-facing digital screens at all times via fixed-panel and multi-panel displays. That way, you don’t need to worry that some customers didn’t see or have the opportunity to sign up because you were displaying alternative content. 

Make sure your automotive rewards programs are enticing

To make your loyalty program worth their while, you’ll need to ensure that your customers will actually want the offers and rewards on the table.

On a practical level, some of these exclusive offers and rewards might include:

  • A tiered points system where customers unlock more coveted rewards the more points they accumulate
  • Free car maintenance supplies (oil, coolant, etc.)
  • A discount on annual car maintenance
  • Free tire rotation and fluids check with every annual check-up
  • Discount offers after a certain number of referrals.

Advertise your automotive loyalty program in your waiting room

Most of your customers will wait on the premises while your team services or repairs their vehicle. Make the wait worth their while by incentivizing them to sign up for your loyalty program. To get their attention, advertise it across all of the digital screens in your waiting room (or throughout the premises) with UPshow CONNECT.

You can also display loyalty program spotlights that outline the rewards your customers can expect if they remain loyal to your shop. The key is to get them to sign up while they’re there instead of crossing your fingers that they’ll do it after they get home. To sweeten the deal, offer a limited-time sign-up incentive.

Promote your automotive customer loyalty program with UPshow

Behind the best automotive loyalty programs is an iron-clad promotion strategy. The last place you want to be is asleep behind the marketing wheel. 

With a plan in place, give your customers easier access to your automotive loyalty program by powering your digital screens with UPshow CONNECT. From there, they can use their devices to access the ins and outs of the program, including sign-up perks, rewards they’ll reap and more. 

Revolutionize your loyalty program by scheduling a custom demo with UPshow today.

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