The Automotive industry, and indeed the country, has changed at a vast and dramatic rate over the last few weeks, and with the advice from the government to stay home and close all non-essential businesses; it seems we’re in it for the long haul.
We wanted to compile a list of the regular questions our Account Managers are facing, along with comments and replies from our social media channels.
Below you will find some food for thought about what you may wish to focus on during this time. We will update the advice as the industry continues to learn and adapt to its new found ‘norm’.
Does your showroom being closed mean your business is closed?
The answer should be NO! There are a lot of ways to engage with buyers even though your showrooms aren’t open. If you are a more traditional outfit which has limited online presence, now is a great time to look to the technologies to see how you can capitalise.
What to do now your showroom doors are shut for the time being?
Well now is a great opportunity for dealers to do some general housekeeping, the stuff that gets overlooked when you’re in the busy day to day cycle; and something you just can’t do when you have a room full of prospective buyers.
Here’s some suggestions of the maintenance you should be looking at:
Check stock and feeds are up to date?
Check all descriptions to make sure that they best represent your stock (spec,history,condition) check prices and finance offers available on your stock.
Are your images high quality?
Look at each and every image and make sure it is as good as it can be, obviously we aren’t condoning ignoring the government’s advice and open again but if you have the opportunity to edit brightness and contrast etc. then why not? People are browsing on their mobile devices now, and image quality is going to be vital in the absence of them coming to see your car in person.
Are your reviews up to date?
This is a great way to communicate with your customers, check to make sure that reviews that have been left for you have been replied to and contact recent customers to leave a review. Would you book a holiday at a hotel with a 1 star review or a 5 star review?
Do you have a ‘reserve now’ function?
Some customers will still buy a car from you even when they can’t go out. In recent years the consumer confidence for online vehicle purchasing has been growing at an impressive rate. Do you have the option to completely transact a sale on your website or at the very least allow the customer to leave a deposit?
Are your communication channels correctly diverted?
This is very important in maintaining regular and consistent communication with your customers. Make sure that your teams working from home have the main lines diverted to mobile or a personal voicemail, and all staff have access to social channels so you can stay in regular contact.
Website optimisation and why it’s more important now more than ever
Right now is a great time to start dedicating time to your website, and digital environment. When dealerships are open, you might be forgiven for assuming that your online versus offline contact with customers is 50:50, but that certainly isn’t the case now!
It’s time to look at the functions available on your website and ensure that they are working to the best possible level. For dealers which already focus on your website as a highly optimised sales funnel are expected to do better than those which ignore their online potential during this time.
In automotive land, showroom ‘walk ins’ generally have the highest conversion rate, due to their contact with a sales person, and the personalised sale approach that comes with it. However now, this is obviously not an option for the foreseeable future, so what do you do?
Click + Reserve, Live Chat, Text, Email, Telephone or even social media; any method if communicating with the people browsing your stock. Make them aware you are a) real people, not automation on a website, and b) knowledgeable about your vehicles (just like the personal service you would give a walking. These have all been proven online techniques to drive sales and enquiries.
Are you tracking your web analytics correctly?
Customers will now be far more active online, so it’s vitally important to make sure that your Google Analytics is working correctly and tracking all users on your website. Many CMS providers give you access to a bespoke metrics dashboard for understanding the performance of your website, but we favour Google Analytics for its all round visibility and reporting functionality. Monitoring the activity and understanding how users are engaging with your website enables you to adapt your sales technique.
Check back here periodically as we update the advice based on what our clients are asking.
Carsnip is the UK’s largest used car search engine, with over 500,000 dealers sold used cars across the UK. We operate a natural language search engine, to help you find your perfect used car, and narrow down the choice by what’s most important to you.