While used car sales boomed as a result of the chip shortage and high prices of new vehicles in the initial stages of the pandemic, reports show that used car demand is now decreasing.
According to CNBC, the average time consumers spend looking for a used car has jumped 93% to 171 days from 89 days from March 2021.
What can dealerships do to increase their used car sales despite this? Here are five tips to help your team nurture your used car prospects more effectively during these unprecedented times.
Embrace Digital Retail
With the boom in eCommerce across the globe, it’s no surprise that online shopping has increased in the automotive market as well. The transition to digital retail was already underway — the pandemic has only accelerated this trend.
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.”
If you haven’t yet adopted an online retailing experience, adding this functionality is a must for dealers and OEMs this year. 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. Build and Nurture Your Email List
The solid backbone of any marketing initiative is maintaining an email list. And since the pandemic, email has become even more effective. 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.
Email should be the core of your lead nurturing strategy in 2022, especially as you utilize an online retail platform to generate leads. Your goal should be to reach out once a week with helpful information. The more personalized your content, the better. This ensures that when your subscribers are ready to finally buy their used car, you’re much more likely to be top of mind.
3. Utilize Multiple Channels
While email should be the foundational channel of your marketing efforts, you should make sure to use as many channels as possible in order to ensure you’re maximizing your exposure to your leads. Aim to follow up with your leads via social media, direct mail, SMS, online banner advertising, and phone, in addition to email. Just make sure to utilize different content on each channel to reduce the risk of message fatigue, which can result in unsubscribes or unfollows.
4. Increase Touches
Traditionally marketers aim to make six to ten “touches” during the nurturing process, but in the used car market where consumers are spending nearly three months on average to search for a vehicle, shoot for weekly contact for a three-month period.
5. Make Personal Contact
The sooner you’re able to make personal contact the better, as relationship building can truly begin at this point. On landing pages aim to collect phone numbers in addition to the standard email address so your sales team can reach out via text message and phone to prospective used car shoppers. When your sales team fields email inquiries, the ultimate aim should be to get the customer on the phone to truly find out what they’re looking for. Of course, answer everyone’s questions, but throw in an offer to chat on the phone at the close of every email.
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 dealership business.