In last week’s blog, we reviewed 3 trends in automotive that have accelerated our use of digital technologies and solutions. This week, we will discuss actionable plans to continue to move your business forward and not only end Q4 strong, but set you up for success for 2021.
With all of the fast pivots and changes we have seen in our 2020 automotive world, it has left many of us looking for a game plan for success. Our old plan, while still having parts that will continue to grow our success, needs updating and must include digital solutions that customers have stated they want. With ⅔ of automotive shoppers stating they are comfortable with a completely online car buying process we need to either get in the game, or start perfecting it.
Have a Digital Retailing Tool and Process
Digital Retailing Tools have become a popular topic of discussion since March. With the race to ensure customers could interact with your inventory and complete portions to the majority of the automotive sale online, dealerships without a digital retail solution found themselves researching and searching for the solution that would work.
There are many onsite and off-site solutions, and all have their benefits and blind spots. But if you are a dealership without one, now is the time to move forward.
Because if you don’t have the information or capabilities that customers want and have become used to, they will go to another dealership site or a third party endemic.
Once you choose your solution, there is one more critical element that cannot be missed--you need to make the consumer aware of your offerings and educate them.
- Create a video that walks the customer through the online shopping/purchasing experience
- Have banners on the homepage and skinny banners on the SRP/VLP pages that highlight on the online/at-home offerings
- Include the On-Line Purchasing/At-Home options in your SEM copy
- Utilize organic and paid social to get your message out
Your digital retailing tool will only be successful if you promote it and then educate. Otherwise, it will just live on your website like so many other widgets that take up real estate and show no ROI.
Market all At Home Services
At home services (such as Pickup and Delivery for Service and At-Home test drives) are not novel, but the new expectation for our consumers. Many service customers even stated that they would pay for the convenience of dealership personnel coming to their home or place of work to pick up their vehicle, complete the service and then return the vehicle--all while the transaction remains either limited contact or completely touchless.
How are you informing your current customers as well as potential ones of all the options you have to keep them safe, healthy, and comfortable all while making the process frictionless for the consumer?
Videos that focus on your sanitization, pickup and delivery, and at home experiences are a great way to bring a relational message without being face-to-face with the customer. Whether you showcase this on Youtube, Facebook, Instagram, your website, or any other platform you desire, the message will be viewed and received. And since Youtube is the 2nd largest search engine, and video is the most consumed medium on the internet, this is an excellent way to get your message out to the largest crowd.
Google My Business (GMB) is also a great resource to share your messaging at no additional cost to you. Here are some suggestions for GMB:
- Separate your departments in GMB. You can have a page for Sales, Service and Parts. This allows you to add accurate hours of operation, it separates reviews, and it allows you to highlight the elements within the department
- If you decide not to separate your accounts, you can still post service related elements on GMB
- GMB gives you the ability to post sales, images, and collateral that highlight differences of your dealership You can add posts about Pickup and Delivery, At-Home solutions, and Service Specials
Service Scheduler: Does your service scheduler have the option of Pickup and Delivery or a loaner vehicle? This is another area where you can highlight these services to your customers. If you are wary of allowing self selection because of Pickup and Delivery constraints, the customer can also be prompted to call the dealership for availability.
Have a Communication System that Engages Customers and Develops Relationships
With increased online communication, you need to ensure you have a system in place that will not only spread your messaging, but engage with your customers as the inevitable increase in leads arrives.
Do you have a Virtual BDC in place? Now is the time to either ensure your team is trained and is an adequate size to handle the incoming traffic. If you do not, there are solutions (such as our Virtual BDC) that can assist with engaging each and every customer. We know that so much research shows that leads answered within 15 minutes are more likely to engage with the dealership and set an appointment. But time is not the only important element.
- Are your agents knowledgeable and friendly?
- Have they been trained to listen, ask questions, and navigate the customer through your digital proces?
- Are you using multiple platforms to communicate? Video, text, chat, phone and email should all be utilized when communicating with your customers.
Following these suggestions will not only help get your message out to your customers on the platforms they are interacting with, but will also help engage them and personalize your dealership.
If you are looking for Virtual BDC solutions or just best practices with any of these elements, reach out! We are here to help!