Years ago, potential customers would visit a dealership seeking information on their initial car shopping journey. Their vehicle search would inevitably end with a salesperson, the gatekeeper of all automotive information in the customer’s eyes.
If that salesperson didn’t have the information or the vehicle they desired, they would go to another dealership and another salesperson. The journey would continue in this manner until finally the right dealership, the right vehicle, and right price was found.
In today’s world, customers can gather all the information they need before ever leaving their home. With the plethora of online resources, consumers have access to more data than ever before. People can easily educate themselves about vehicles, options, financing, dealerships – even complete the buying process and have the vehicle delivered.
So, how can the automotive industry optimize these tools, maintain relationships, and sell more cars? The first step is realizing that changes need to be made.
Gone are the days when a visit to a dealership was the most pivotal aspect of a sale. Consumers want choices, simplicity, and transparency when shopping, and online research allows them to find the dealership they want to visit for the vehicle they believe they want to buy.
Studies have shown that customers only make 1.4 visits to dealerships before completing a purchase. So, there’s a good chance that your customer has already made a choice before they came to the dealership. They think they are set on their vehicle, but truly they are deciding to purchase from you.
The key for dealerships is how to rise above a crowded online marketplace to gain the attention of a targeted audience.
And as so often is the case these days, technology provides some answers.
Be where your customers are
The importance of creating a strong digital marketing footprint can’t be overemphasized. Traditional advertising methods are still important, but non longer enough.
The popularity of online resources, social media, and smartphones are how people shop for and purchase vehicles.
Here a few ways to make today’s technology work in your favor:
- Optimize your website. Shoppers crave information and want to know all they can about the buying process before actually engaging with a dealership. If you have a website that offers little more than pricing, trim levels and available colors then start making changes. Provide reviews, behind-the-scenes analysis, blogs and videos.
- Be active on social platforms. You need to reach consumers in that crowded marketplace and social media is a great way to do it. Facebook, Twitter, TikTok and Instagram are just a few of the many possibilities that can help your dealership make a connection. And don’t just open an account and then occasionally post an image. Provide informative and interesting content, community connections, and your specific benefits that will engage your potential customers.
- Consistently update content. It’s nice to have a beautifully designed website, fancy technology and a group of social media accounts at your disposal. But none of it will prove useful if the content you provide for the public is dull and stale. It is imperative that you update your dealership information, blogs and videos on a consistent basis. Maintaining a fresh and informative digital footprint will go a long way in keeping potential buyers interested in your dealership.
Video Video Video
It’s important to have a variety of content in the digital world. Blogs, forums, and photos can all play a role in gaining the attention of consumers.
But we have all seen, and completely understand, that video is the most consumed content in 2021.
A study by Dealersocket has shown that the cost of selling one vehicle by traditional routes (radio, TV, print, etc.) can cost up to 10 times more than digital marketing.
Technology has also expanded the reach of video advertising. No longer limited to television, videos are now available for viewing on an array of mobile devices. In addition, the interactive quality of CTV/OTT, further increases the connection of a dealership to a potential buyer.
Technology certainly isn’t the answer to everything. Just like practically all other aspects in life, there are no easy shortcuts to lasting success.
Dealerships must still work hard to provide high-level customer service while offering competitive prices in order to attract and retain customers. Start slipping in those areas and not even the most cutting-edge website or masterful digital video is going to help.
But what technology does provide is a plethora of invaluable tools and options that can keep your dealership competitive in the ever-changing digital landscape.
It’s always important to provide the customer with the best products and services possible. But it never hurts to deliver your message with a little extra technological flair.