Betty Boop impulse buy at your local car wash
Betty Boop impulse buy sold at your local car wash

In an interview published by Modern Car Care, Rami Lalena, President of R.R. Lalena Corp. in Maspeth, N.Y., said, “Seventy five percent of everything sold in a carwash lobby is impulse…You can drive your car without Betty Boop car mats or without an air freshener. You don’t really need these things.” What works for car wash owners can also work for sign businesses! Pad your bottom line by displaying items customers can buy on impulse while they are picking up their signs and banners.

We Love Cars! Few things trigger as many impulse purchases as our love of the automobile. That’s one reason to take advantage of California style license plate frames, black acrylic license plates (also known as “car tags”), and Schein chrome mirror vinyl. You may not use the black and chrome combination, but having license plate blanks available in your shop can add to your bottom line. One of the keys to selling impulse purchases is to price them low enough that the customer does not have to deliberate on the value proposition.

You can price these finished blanks at $19.95 for quick sale and have a handsome profit margin. Average material cost for a license plate blank decorated with Schein Chrome Vinyl in a CA style frame is about $5.40. A simple logo takes almost no time to cut and weed so, labor cost is minimal. That $19.95 impulse purchases adds another $12.00 or so in profit to the invoice. Not a great deal of money, but it adds up.

Sell What’s in Season! Part of the secret of selling impulse items is to focus on what is in season. At the beginning of football season, everyone’s team could be headed for the Super Bowl, the Rose Bowl, or the State Championship, so now may be the best time to sell your walk-in customers plates designed to show their team or school spirit.

Popular Brands Sell Profitable Plates! In addition to seasonality, branding can be an easy connection to moving license plates. According to a study conducted by Central Michigan University psychology professor Bryan Gibson, undergraduate college students were more likely to make impulse purchases connected to their favorite brands of soft drink. Gibson concluded, "The results of this research suggest that our intuitions and feelings about brands may lead us to choose them, particularly when we are distracted.”

Target the brand connection by preparing a few blanks with Ford, Chevy, and Toyota symbols and logos, and maybe a three-pointed star or two. They will make the emotional connection that leads to more impulse buying. Owners of these luxury marquees are more likely to make impulse purchases that reinforce their pride of ownership.

Think of creating license plate blanks with the same appeal as team spirit, but for car fans instead of sports fans. You could ask your customers if they would like a custom license plate while you are working on their other signs and graphics, but if you already have the plates on display and ready to mount, you are more likely to close the sale and add a few more high profit dollars to your invoices. Really, you are probably doing your customers a favor. If they spend a little extra with you, maybe they will be less likely to spring for those Betty Boop car mats the next time they get their car washed.