Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, NetSource’s RV classified site, www.RVUSA.com, is experiencing record highs with both traffic and leads. Clearly recreational customers are here, interested, and shopping. But, during these times are shoppers behaving and thinking differently? What if your expectations and methods aren’t aligned to your customers’ behaviors as shoppers? What if your approach to marketing and selling is not as efficient as it could be? What can be done to turn dealership shoppers into buyers?
Let’s take a look at how to turn dealership shoppers into buyers in a COVID-19 world.
Are Shoppers Buying?
We’ve all heard the term “tire kicker” to describe someone wasting a businesses time with no intention to buy. However, just because they aren’t ready to buy right now doesn’t mean they won’t ever buy. In fact, during unpredictable times, many shoppers lengthen their buying cycle. They are more thoughtful and cautious. This actually provides a big opportunity for those that known how to market and message. It allows your dealership to develop trust with a potential customer by being there for them every step of the way. The key is creating digital engagement.
How’d We Get Here?
As dealerships moved from print to digital marketing, most merely continued doing business the same way, but on new platforms. The primary objective of digital marketing was the same as print – get shoppers into the dealership.
The mindset was that marketing was designed to get shoppers onto the lot so that sales could show inventory and close deals. However, Internet marketing just doesn’t operate the same way in today’s day and age. As time has advanced, more effective information delivery has developed. Now shoppers can watch videos, get unit tours, examine and consider models, understand features and options, and even see the factories where units are made. Not only that, they can access this content anywhere at any time.
In general, dealerships have not adapted to these comprehensive changes in shopping behavior. Yet, one thing is clear: shoppers no longer need dealerships the way they used to. It is the Internet that’s informing pre-sales decisions, and if your dealership does not have a robust digital presence (beyond just inventory) then you can be left out of the conversation.
What are they Seeking?
Think about the questions you have received as buyers have moved through their purchasing process on the lot. These same questions are being sought by shoppers as they explore the Internet. When a dealership’s website is able to address these questions and engage with a shopper, it can build rapport with the prospect.
The Impact of Covid-19
Covid-19 has accelerated the upward trend in the use of web and digital technologies because everyone, regardless of age, has retreated to the Internet. In quarantine, Zoom use skyrocketed. Applications like Nextdoor and Google Duo have seen increases in daily traffic by as much as 70%. There’s been a massive advancement in the comfort and convenience of the Internet.
This is translating to “distance shopping”. Think of it as social distancing, but with shopping. Michelle Krebs, an analyst for Cox Automotive, said during a May 1st interview on PBS that customers want more digital shopping. This news comes from the automotive sector which already provides an extremely high level of touch-free shopping and has highly commoditized products.
Opportunity for More Revenue
The few dealerships that have addressed shoppers’ thirst for information have established themselves as authorities on “controlling” the sale. These innovative dealerships capture prospects with strong digital engagement at every stage of their shopping process.
The Top Performers
Top performers also have shifted their attention from trying to identify prospects that are ready to purchase right now to those who are at an earlier stage in the buying process. They are using marketing to get email addresses and engage earlier and more often, and even reach shoppers with mild or potential interest. This is a massive shift.
How To Adjust
Fortunately, tuning your approach really is totally doable. With some minor adjustments, your dealership can actually be more efficient in your sales process and prosper. The biggest gain is thinking in terms of a longer pipeline that has a continual flow, rather than just hoping you cross paths with ready-to-purchase shoppers. This approach actually provides your dealership with more stability.
Things to Consider
- Shoppers are engaging more virtually and less physically
- Dealerships, can and should, provide more pre-purchase value (information/content)
- Leverage digital engagement tools to advance overall marketing efforts
- Form a digital rapport/relationship with shoppers
- Stay ‘top of mind’ to become the preferred dealership
- Address shoppers’ questions and concerns throughout their buying process
- Increase focus and attention on growing your sales and marketing pipelines
How To Make It Happen
Only by examining the entire buying process can you effectively improve your digital engagement. We work to assist our clients in doing just that. While other dealership marketing agencies are providing a standard set of robotic services, NetSource has been advancing dealership messaging, engagement, content creation, and delivery. We are highly successful in designing opt-in content delivery campaigns. Our email nurture programs build rapport, address shoppers’ concerns, and establish dealership credibility.
NetSource Media’s Unique Role
Our goal is to assist you in using digital marketing technologies to your advantage – especially during these challenging times. Dealerships need to utilize technologies that are affordable, effective, proven and that deliver positive ROI. This is why NetSource Media continually tests and analyzes marketing innovations to know what’s working best right now. We do not recommend marketing solutions that are unproven or ineffective. We use tried and true methods that deliver real results to your business.
Build a Much Better Dealership Marketing Solution: Contact Us!