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Running a Winning Coat Drive


By: Mitchell Schaffer

I started a coat drive program at Mobile Edge, my retail store in Lehighton, PA nearly a decade ago. Over the years, we’ve collected thousands of coats and put them all to good use in our community. The program has generated a great deal of positive and free press for our company and works as a powerful closing tool on the sales floor. I’ve leveraged this program to improve our company’s profitability, sell through and consumer perception in my communities.

Through my marketing company, 1sixty8 media, we’ve introduced the program to many other retailers and I’m thrilled that Compustar can expose this program to hundreds of other retailers across the US and Canada.

mobile edge pa

“I’ve leveraged this program to improve our company’s profitability, sell through and consumer perception in my communities.”

Here are some ways that I have accomplished this:

Tip #1: Use Drive for Coats to step up to 2-way
All of our Compustar remote starters are displayed at our facility. Each one is labeled 1-way or 2-way. On the 1-way models, we have a tag that says “Save $25” and on the 2-way models, a tag that says “Save $50.” We have found that this generates a conversation and more often than not gives a client the motivation to step up to the more profitable 2-way solutions.

Tip #2: Overcome the “Can you Give me a Better Deal” Objection
We hear it every day: “Can you give me a better deal on this starter?” When running your Drive For Kids promotion, the answer is always: “Absolutely! Just bring us a new or gently used child’s coat and you can save up to $50 off the cost of your remote starter purchase.” This works like a charm every time and completely diffuses the “Discount Conversation” in a positive and productive way.

Tip #3: Another Reason to Buy From You Instead of Your Competitor
I think it is safe to say that most consumers get a good feeling about themselves when helping children in their communities. By offering the Drive for Kids promotion, you are setting yourself apart from your competitor and giving consumers yet another reason to buy from you.

Tip #4: PR You Couldn’t Otherwise Pay For
For this to be successful, you need to promote it! Get it on social media and share it often. Post pictures of your pile of coats and the car full of coats on the way to the local charity. Prominently display it on your website (if you don’t have a website… Well… I know a guy!) Use it in every sales pitch on your floor. Tell every client about it.

Use the Press Release template to get the word out to your local newspapers, TV stations and radio stations. These outlets are always looking for “feel good” stories. You likely will be surprised at the response that you will get and your can’t put a price tag on this type of publicity. Take the time to do it!

Tip #5: Set Your Facility Up Properly
Compustar will be providing you with an abundance of digital assets. Use them to promote this program throughout your facility. People will ask questions, even if they did not come in about a remote starter. It’s a perfect conversation starter and often leads to a new sale.

When you do all of this properly, you will see a spike in remote starter sales, add on sales, and 2-way sales. You will improve your company’s perception in the community and, above all, you will be helping to put a coat on a child who might not otherwise have one.

This program is a no brainer if you sell remote car starters in colder climates.

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Mitchell Schaffer is the founder and CEO of 1sixty8media and Mobile Edge in Lehighton, PA.