Last spring, Harley-Davidson CEO Matthew Levatich and three other corporate executives traveled to Grove’s Winchester Harley-Davidson — one of more than 700 Harley locations nationwide — to start their personal bike tour south to participate in Daytona Bike Week in Florida.
It’s not hard to understand why they chose this spot in western Virginia. While only about an hour outside of metropolitan Washington, D.C., Winchester has a decidedly rural feel and sits on the famous Skyline Drive, a 105-mile stretch of highway along the Shenandoah mountain range that features some of the most breathtaking scenery in the country.
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Situated in the middle of this pristine country, Winchester Harley is a big draw for motorcycle enthusiasts in the D.C. Beltway area, and often well beyond. Thomas Caracciolo, marketing and events manager at Winchester Harley, says the store sees guests from New York and New Jersey to the north, Indiana and Illinois to the west, and as far south as South Africa.
“People all over the east coast and beyond come here to get away from their noisy daily lives and just escape,” Thomas says. “Our location is a huge draw. We’re very accessible as an entry point to this incredible scenic drive away from the hustle and bustle. Outside of Sturgis, there’s probably not a more popular spot in the entire country for serious bikers.”
Thanks to its unique proximity, Winchester Harley has become a favorite spot for first-timers looking to buy a bike and long-timers who appreciate high-touch service.
“Most of our online reviews focus on how well we treat our customers, down to the littlest details,” Thomas says. “Every customer wants to be treated well, but Harley-Davidson is a family. You have to take things to the next level.”
In a way, Winchester Harley has become a reunion destination of sorts for members of the Harley family, with riders converging on route to big biker events all over the eastern U.S. It’s also a kind of home away from home for local regulars.
To ensure the shop is delivering on high customer expectations, Thomas uses Womply to read and respond to all of Winchester Harley’s online reviews, for every relevant site, from a single place. This allows him to collect constant customer feedback and engage with customers where they are… online.
“We consider online review sites like Yelp and Google to be customer service portals,” Thomas says. “You can’t ignore them. Womply helps us streamline what would be an overwhelming but necessary job so we can stay on top of what our customers are saying and have a voice in those conversations.”
In the last few years, online review sites have become the best source of attracting new customers for small businesses. Consumers who might never have heard about a business like Winchester Harley in the past can now find it on their computer or mobile device when they’re looking to make a purchase. For small business operators like Thomas, that’s a big opportunity. They key is to make sure your online business reputation is good so people want to spend money with you when they find your business online.
Beyond online reviews, Thomas is using Womply to figure out the best way to spend his limited marketing dollars to attract and retain customers and encourage them to buy from Winchester Harley. The average small business spends $400 per month on marketing, so it’s critical to use those precious funds wisely.
With Womply’s business intelligence functionality, he can see which days of the week are strongest and weakest in terms of sales. Because all of Winchester Harley’s transaction data is automatically uploaded into his Womply dashboard every day and stored over time, Thomas can simultaneously get a real-time and historical view of revenue patterns.
One trend he noticed is that the shop’s worst sales day of the week tends to shift based on the seasons. So, rather than run one blanket campaign to boost sales on a Wednesday, for example, he customizes his approach on a monthly or quarterly basis.
During a recent period, for example, he saw that Tuesday was the slowest sales day. So, during the month of February, he ran a promotion for customers to get a discount on gloves and jeans if they purchased a Harley-Davidson leather jacket.
“Attracting and retaining customers is a constant struggle, but we’ve seen strong results by using Womply to get more targeted in our approach,” Thomas says. “The software makes it simple and easy to get actionable data, which is key for us because we’re busy and don’t have a ton of time.”
If you want to ride the historic Skyline Drive, or if you live in the D.C. area, make a pit stop at Winchester Harley. You can also check out their new and used inventory, schedule a test ride or riding lesson, or check out their riding gear.
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