The automotive industry is developing at a record pace, with dealerships having to adapt to meet demands from both the sector and customers. The digital revolution saw a shift in the techniques businesses used to engage with shoppers, while the lack of accessibility to essential car parts saw interest in used vehicles rocket – dealerships simply cannot afford to use the same strategy they had two years ago to ensure success in 2022.
We get it though, thinking outside the box and constantly conjuring up fresh ideas can be challenging. So, if you’re looking to grow your business, here are 10 tips for dealership success in 2022.
1. Speak to virtual shoppers
While traditional marketing like newspapers, leaflets, and brochures still play a key role in the way dealerships engage with customers, it’s crucial for those in the automotive industry to be speaking to virtual shoppers too. Ultimately, modern-day shoppers (in fact 95 percent of all automotive buyers today) will use the internet when purchasing their next vehicle.
Having an online presence is essential in a dealership’s bid for survival. And we’re talking about simply having an informative, engaging, and professional-looking website, carefully designed with your dealership in mind.
You’ll have heard it before and now you’ll hear it again: your website is your online shop. It’s a key touchpoint for virtual customers, and simply put, not having a website in this day and age could prove detrimental to your dealership. Especially because an efficient website gives potential customers round-the-clock access to your dealership.
2. Modernize the car buying experience
Interestingly, while car sales today start online, more than 90 percent of the final deals take place in person, in a dealership itself. Use this information to your advantage and create a modern-day car buying experience.
What is a modern-day car buying experience? Go hybrid. It seems that customers want the best of both worlds, so give them exactly that. A seamless blend of offline and online marketing to engage with shoppers is a must-do trend for any dealership wanting to succeed.
SnapCell allows dealerships to provide that in-person and online shopping experience package, thanks to its innovative features, such as SnapCell Messenger. SnapCell Messenger enables dealership professionals to hold one-to-one, instant chats with customers, quickly, easily, and effortlessly – promising the same level of communication (if not more, actually) as a shopper would receive physically in person, but from the comfort of their sofa. Or how about SnapCell Live, which gives your sales team the chance to host a two-way live video chat with buyers, providing that same exceptional level of in-person customer service but with both your employee and the shopper able to be anywhere in the globe.
3. Optimize your online presence
Did you know that searching online is the first thing customers will do if they need automotive maintenance information quickly? With that in mind, make sure your website is being seen on Google with Search Engine Optimization (SEO).
In short, SEO is the process in which your dealership will improve the amount of website traffic your dealership receives, via a search engine, like Google. From keywords to ensuring your website includes quality content and using Google My Business, there are plenty of factors that can impact SEO.
4. Consider alternative money-making strategies
Until now, the obvious moneymaker for dealerships is sales, sales, sales. However, that’s changed, and, with a lack of new vehicles being made due to the ongoing semiconductor shortage, dealerships need to shift their focus onto other profit generators.
With research revealing that vehicle owners are keeping their cars for a longer period, it’s worth considering turning your attention to your Fixed Ops department. Showcase what your service department has to offer and shine a light on their expertise and knowledge by creating professional-looking videos using the SnapCell app.
5. Start selling every service, part, and vehicle online
You’re likely to find that in the midst of considering alternative money-making strategies and wanting to speak to virtual shoppers, you will soon recognize the importance of selling everything your dealership offers, online.
Gone are the days of simply advertising your vehicles digitally. If you’ve not yet created a multichannel strategy for selling car parts, accessorizing, and service department appointments, then you’re missing a prime opportunity.
For forward-thinking dealerships, it’s impossible to solely focus on selling cars online anymore. And we’re not just talking about having an e-commerce site, you need to be reaching clients wherever possible – think Amazon, eBay, and Facebook Marketplace.
6. Connect with customers
This one sounds obvious, right? But the truth is, your staff shouldn’t be simply aiming to sell a product or service anymore. In fact, there needs to be more emphasis on connecting with your customers. Your team needs to be focusing on building strong relationships with shoppers, connecting with customers, and taking them on a never-ending journey. In short, your staff should be trying to make customers for life, not just for today.
Ultimately, it’s no secret that loyal customers are the reflection of a successful business strategy, and car dealerships are no exception. Retaining customers and shoppers coming back for more, whether they need a service or are looking to buy their next vehicle is proof of good business practice.
And, when it comes to connecting with customers, you can do this either in-person or virtually. Here are a few ways you can take your connection with customers to the next level:
- Showing empathy
- Listening to the customers’ needs and requirements
- Exceptional customer service
- Show you care by following up sales by sending customers a video thank you message using the SnapCell app
- Use SnapCell to seamlessly interact with customers via video rather than texting – after all, research indicates that around 80 percent of customers admit they can remember a video they saw a month ago.
7. Don’t stick to local, think national
To really thrive in 2022, it’s essential that your dealership is tapping into a national market, not just local. This means, once again, utilizing the opportunities that come with enhancing your digital presence, to reach customers from across America. Of course, features like SnapCell Messenger and SnapCell Live on the SnapCell app make it easier than ever for dealerships to engage with a nation full of potential shoppers.
8. Get your dealership on social media
If your dealership isn’t yet using social media in one way or another, you’re missing a prime opportunity. With more than 70 percent of Americans actively using a social media account, this is your chance to interact, engage, and ultimately sell to millions of people.
You might be struggling with content ideas. If that’s the case, then check these out:
- Upload a virtual test drive onto Youtube (with the watch time of test drives on YouTube increased by more than 65 percent over the past two years highlighting the popularity of virtual test drives in today’s digital age)
- Shine the light on your showroom and give social media users a sneak peek as to what you can offer via a video uploads on Facebook
- Easily showcase your stock by creating professional-looking videos on SnapCell, uploading across all platforms including the likes of Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter
- Interact with fellow dealerships and the local community through Twitter
- Position your dealership as industry experts by posting cleverly written content on LinkedIn
9. Focus on building your dealership’s brand
It might come as no surprise to hear there needs to be a real focus on building your dealership’s brand – and this doesn’t just mean online, it means in-person too. Every customer touchpoint should be speaking the same language and telling the same story. From posters and leaflets in your showroom to the business cards your sales team are handing out – and not forgetting the logo and color scheme used across your website and social media channels.
However big or small your business is, a strong, clear brand undoubtedly goes hand in hand with the success of your dealership, by enhancing trust, reliability, and familiarity from shoppers. If you haven’t already got one, it would be useful to create clear brand guidelines for you to share with your staff – after all, branding is as much about the language used across your dealership, as it is your business’s logo.
10. Make the most of the best industry tools on the market
We get it, time is precious and it might seem overwhelming to think you have so much to think about when it comes to running a successful dealership – especially when you’re having to consider both a digital and physical audience. But with so many fantastic industry-specific tools on the market, life doesn’t have to be so difficult.
SnapCell is an award-winning video creation tool, made by those in the automotive industry, especially for professionals in the automotive industry. Designed with a whole host of features to save you and your team time, while driving sales, customer engagement, and building brand loyalty thanks to professional-looking video. Schedule a demo of the app today.