While the holiday season might not be at the forefront of every customer’s mind, dealerships and automotive businesses across the country are already in the peak of planning. And, with a noticeable shift in the way people shop – accelerated by the coronavirus pandemic – businesses within the automatic industry have spent the past 18 months rapidly adapting their marketing techniques in hope of attracting both returning and new consumers. After all, it’s been a period of unpredictability for most industries and the automotive is no exception. And, while the holiday season looks brighter than that expected in 2020, we anticipate it will still be one like no other and businesses need to prepare as best we can. Dealerships and businesses of all sizes will be challenged to keep up with demands from buyers this holiday season and will have to continue to adapt their sales techniques if they want to reach new customers.
To help your dealership prepare, the team at SnapCell has created this straightforward guide full of handy hints and tips to secure those all-important sales this holiday season.
Extend Seasonal Offers
We all know that Thanks Giving and Black Friday will undoubtedly see dealerships countrywide launching their seasonal deals. Our advice? Bring those offers forward. Did you know that as of June, 31 percent of US shoppers have already started their Christmas shopping? That’s a third of the nation that you might miss out on connecting with.
Looking back, things aren’t too dissimilar to last year when it comes to the automotive industry. In-store, supply chain, and uncertainties prompted automotive businesses to introduce their holiday offers earlier than ever in 2020, with promotions starting in October. Yes, having suffered at the hands of Covid-19, the car industry seemed to start making a comeback last fall, however, what soon became apparent was, the automakers couldn’t get enough chips. Nothing’s changed, they still can’t, with the global chip shortage continuing to devastate the automotive industry. It was predicted at the start of the year that the shortage would cost carmakers more than $100 billion. With this in mind, it’s never been a more important time for dealerships to be boosting sales and bringing in as much new custom through clever and creative marketing this holiday season.
Despite the chip shortage, we’ve said it once and we will say it again: bring those offers forward. Create a seasonal strategy for your dealership, by giving both current and new consumers an attractive offer that they can’t ignore, to entice them to spend with you. From digital offers to in-store discounts, create promotions with your aims and goals in mind. And do it sooner rather than later – especially because the chip shortage is likely to add lead time onto each sale, which means customers are going to have to wait longer to get their hands on their purchase.
Create An Instore Experience, But Online
Consumers are heading online more frequently, that’s a fact. It’s essential to bring the dealership experience online, and the digital experience into your dealership. Shoppers seek this convenience. Don’t just take our word for it, the numbers say it all, with research showing that in the fourth quarter of 2020, retail searches were three times higher than that of 2019. Shopping trends are changing and so are the expectations of shoppers. Modern-day consumers want to gain the same experience they would if they were stepping into your dealership – on their smart device, from the comfort of their own home. So, give them what they want by creating a virtual showroom, an online dealership.
Plus, with easy-to-use video tools readily available, giving shoppers the experience they’re after couldn’t be easier. Designed specifically with automotive businesses in mind, the SnapCell app enables users to stitch together professional-looking clips at the touch of a button. Whether it’s a virtual tour of your dealership, a 360-degree video of a vehicle, or a first-look walk round of the latest car model, SnapCell can bring your brand to life, online. Plus, with the ability to seamlessly create face-to-camera videos of your staff, SnapCell helps you deliver a personal service to customers, engage with shoppers, and provide that human connection, all via the internet.
Furthermore, you need to make sure the online customer experience is as smooth and fault-free as possible. With research showing that a website being even 0.1 seconds faster can boost a website’s conversion rate by five percent, every second really does count – and that means ensuring your website is working efficiently, and quickly.
Connect With New Customers Via Video
The reasons for people watching videos on YouTube have evolved and this became even more apparent during the coronavirus pandemic. Gone are the days where it was simply a source of entertainment. Today, YouTube has become a place for learning, streaming, and inspiring audiences, while engaging with customers and selling products.
Last year, more than 200 million people across America watched a video on YouTube, and that number is only going to get bigger. When it comes to the automotive industry specifically, research shows that the watch time of a ‘test drive’ video on YouTube has grown by more than 65 percent in the past two years. It’s a no-brainer, dealerships need to take advantage of this platform and use it to drive sales and win new customers.
Engage With Researching Customers
Customers these days are using digital platforms, like Google, as a source of information, to find the answers to questions before they buy a product. In fact, 95 percent of vehicle shoppers do just that, plus car buyers spend an average of nearly 14 hours online during their search before they spend. Furthermore, two times as many automotive customers start their research online versus at a physical dealership. This means that many automotive consumers have a foundation of knowledge about a particular vehicle before they even make contact with a dealership.
Shoppers are finding themselves turning to the internet to find out more about products, compare prices, look for sales and view testimonials. Ideally, you want your dealership to be up on that list when people search. The trick is clearly to get one step ahead of the customer by engaging with them during the research stage.
To do this, tools like Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Google Ads need to be weaved into your marketing strategy. Better still, utilize features available on Google Ads, like Affinity audience, which will help you engage with new customers, by choosing the right audience solution for your ad campaigns. Google Ads also allows you to drive sales with both existing and new audiences, by using tools like Customer Match, which helps you cross-sell or react to researching customers with special offers and messaging.
Engage With Mobile Shoppers
Not only have consumers started shopping online but more automotive customers than ever are now using smartphones to research and make a purchase. With the average automotive shopper spends around 33 percent of their research time on a mobile device, it’s more essential than ever for brands to be connecting with both current and new customers via smartphones.
Budget permitted and depending on the size of your dealership, you might want to consider launching an app for your dealership. If budget doesn’t allow, then remember you can now showcase your products for free on Google, which provides a cost-effective way to boost your brand to a wide audience.
Inspire Gift Buyers
More frequently, shoppers are looking for gift inspiration and this holiday season is set to be no different. It’s crucial for dealerships to capture these shoppers and make the most of those who are actively looking to spend money and buy presents for loved ones. Be clever when it comes to your marketing, target specific audiences, and provide them with content that will inspire them.
And don’t be afraid to get creative and think beyond vehicles here. What about service offers, vehicle parts or vouchers for your dealership? Customers want their shopping experience – especially when it comes to present buying over the holidays – to be as seamlessly easy as possible, so make shopping with your dealership the easy option.
A tip from us is to make sure your dealership is visible during the shopper’s journey by utilizing platforms like Google and YouTube, by showcasing clear information on what you offer, including product details, offers, and availability.
Embrace The Change
If you’re still fighting the changes in shopping trends, then it’s time to stop and embrace it. Embrace today’s online world and furthermore, create a strategy that reaches new customers and virtual shoppers. To make sure you keep one step ahead of the competition this holiday season, get in touch with SnapCell. The team of experts at SnapCell will help drive sales, reach new audiences and keep one step ahead of the competition by seamlessly slotting video into your strategy while supporting staff across your dealership in creating professional-looking clips.