As the global pandemic enters its third year in 2022, the automotive industry continues to be impacted, especially with regard to the way consumers are purchasing their cars. Here are some ways to grow your sales despite the challenges of these unprecedented times.
1. Offer An Online Retailing Experience
With the boom in eCommerce across the globe, it’s no surprise that online shopping has increased in the automotive market as well. According to ABC News, U.S. automotive dealers reported “record profits” in 2020 even in the midst of a national recession, and out of these new car sales, nearly 30% were completed online. Additionally, data shows that the millennial generation prefers to buy their cars online as well: As McKinsey reports, “less than a third of younger consumers prefer conducting car sales & aftersales in person at a dealership.”
“This shift to digital retail is positive for dealers who embrace it,” Alan Haig, automotive retail consultant and president of Haig Partners, told ABC News. “For those that don’t, they will lose customers and be harmed by the trend.”
If you haven’t yet adopted an online retailing experience, make 2022 the year you add this functionality. As you explore a digital retail experience for your business, make sure you offer some of these must-haves:
- Inventory search and wishlist features
- Accurate monthly payment calculator
- Full credit application with the customer’s bank of choice
- Accurate trade-in valuation
2. Invest in Video Content
As online car shopping increases, a lot of consumers are doing more homework online too, making it vital for dealers to beef up the content on their websites and social media. After all, if you’re not providing the information shoppers need, shoppers will go somewhere else to do their research, potentially taking their money with them.
According to Google, 92% of car buyers conduct online research before buying. They also report that creator-produced videos as opposed to paid media spots received 93% of monthly views for all U.S. auto content on YouTube.
So instead of investing so much in digital marketing in 2022, invest in producing educational video content to generate traffic for your social platforms and website. Start off with some DIY video tutorials and video tours of new merchandise and post these to your website or YouTube channel to improve your SEO and grow your lead database.
3. Provide Contactless Vehicle Delivery Options
As a result of health and safety concerns, vehicle delivery is quickly becoming an expected norm. This is in line with other eCommerce trends such as BOPIS (buy online, pick up in store) and curbside pick-up; as shoppers have grown accustomed to these conveniences, they are expected to demand them even during the waning days of the pandemic and beyond.
Whether or not you offer this option could mean the difference between having potential customers shop at your dealership or somewhere else. To bring more value to customers and increase conversion, have your dedicated sales staff drop off vehicles to customers so they can educate them about features and answer questions.
4. Reduce Inquiry Response Times
Like many dealers, you’ve probably had to rely more heavily on your Internet sales department since the onset of the pandemic due to the increase in online inquiries. If you’re not properly staffed to respond within the hour to customer inquiries, consider beefing up your sales team, or you may end up losing out on business — as consumer expectations for speedy service have only increased over the past couple of years. It’s a good idea to add chat capabilities to your website as well during business hours. The more car and pricing details your sales staff can handle online with minimal personal or phone contact, the better.
5. Build Your Email List
One of the tried-and-true marketing tools — maintaining an email list — has become even more effective since the onset of the pandemic. According to Omnisend, there’s been a 31% increase in year-over-year open rates and a 22% increase in conversion rates during the “post-COVID” period.
Make email at the forefront of your lead-nurturing strategy in 2022, which will be especially important as you generate leads with your online retail platform. Aim to stay in contact once a week with helpful, relevant information and when your subscribers are ready to buy, you’re much more likely to be top of mind.
Ready to take your sales to the next level in 2022? Learn more about Carzato’s online retailing experience and how it can help you grow your business.