Guest Column Sideview Mirrors May/June 2019

How to Make Money with Mirrors

By Bill Castleberry

Here’s a daily scenario: one that could be an attractive add-on for your business. A consumer who has enjoyed the self-dimming feature of his automotive sideview mirror notices the mirror has be-come discolored, rendering it in-effective. This specialized mirror sports electrochromic (E/C) glass, a complex and expensive system when replaced at the dealership. This is where you step in to save the day.

Specialty sideview mirror systems featuring E/C and blind spot indicator functions are costly to re-pair and replace. In the mind of the consumer, the car dealership is the only option. When he or she makes the call to the corresponding dealership service department, they get sticker shock with an estimate of $300-$1,000. Research has shown that seven out of ten people put in this situation will bite the bullet and have the work done by the dealer. Only the resourceful consumer will call around to related businesses (i.e.; independent mechanics, auto recyclers, auto parts retailers and glass shops) for a more cost-effective fix. You, the auto glass retailer, are the fix they need.

To fully understand this opportunity, let’s start by briefly defining these two specialty parts and then providing examples of the dealership costs.

Electrochromic (E/C) Self-Dimming Mirrors

These mirrors are made up of two thin layers of glass with electrochromic gel in-between which is then sealed around the edges of the E/C unit. This is designed to eliminate dangerous sideview mirror glare, making nighttime driving safer.

Blind Spot Detection Mirrors These use sensors that monitor nearby lanes and determine when other vehicles approach or enter a vehicle’s blind spot. When this occurs, the system warns the driver with a visual alert which usually appears either in or near the sideview mirror.

Example 1: The 2011-2019 Jeep Grand Cherokee/Durango is a popular vehicle which provides a good example of an E/C auto-dimming and blind spot indicator technology. This passenger’s side part #68092055AB has a dealer cost of $334. The NAGS listed after-market part #4648B has a list price of $45.20. This aftermarket part fits in directly over the existing broken mirror. This is a material cost savings of nearly $290.

Example 2: A Mercedes-Benz E/C auto-dimming and blind spot indicator driver’s side mirror part #166-810-13-19 has a dealer cost of $1,020. The NAGS listed aftermarket part #4421B has a list price of $45.20. You can imagine the reaction you will get when you deliver a cost savings of nearly $1,000 to this customer. (Note: the NAGS aftermarket E/C fit over mirror part functions with traditional reflectivity—conventional or standard reflectivity of side view mirror glass without the self-dimming feature).

You now understand your attractive value proposition to the consumer with an expensive bro-ken sideview mirror. So how does this consumer find you? As stated earlier, seven out of ten times this person will have the dealership do the work. They don’t know you do this type of repair. Implementing a few easy marketing tactics can make your auto glass business top-of-mind.

Some auto glass shops are repairing/replacing five hundred or more mirrors each year. The message you need to communicate in order to achieve these numbers in your market is simple: “We fix sideview mirrors too!” First, get this message on a countertop display, poster, front door signage or the marquee in front of your store. Also, have your web-site developer add sideview mirror replacements to your list of services. A mirror message to all your advertising media. Lastly, make sure your outside salespeople communicate this added service to your commercial and insurance accounts.

You can activate a significant new revenue stream for your business by taking the few easy aforementioned marketing steps. Never forget your important and unique value proposition to the consumer with an aging, unusable or broken electrochromic sideview mirror part.

Bill Castleberry is vice president of sales for Burco Inc.

To view the laid-in version of this article in our digital edition, CLICK HERE.

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