Car dealerships are some of the few businesses that have remained largely traditional despite the pressure to embrace e-commerce in the 21st century. And it’s car buyers who contributed to the status quo—the need for a physical test drive, in-person negotiations, and the many concerns only a physical dealership could solve.
However, the Covid-19 pandemic changed all that in a flash. Due to restrictions on mobility, car buyers only had one way to “walk into showrooms”—the internet! They went online to look for videos, social media posts, and websites that sold or advertised the cars they wanted. Smart auto retailers quickly moved their entire operations online to capture prospects. Here are five things successful dealerships did—and still do—differently.
- Focus on Digital Marketing
A few years ago, a car dealer would stand out from the competition through advertising. They would advertise on print media, billboards, TV, and even radio. While some of these advertising mediums still work today, some don’t. Digital marketing has taken over and delivers better results than traditional marketing.
According to Bankmycell, 6.3 billion people (80% of the world’s population) now own a smartphone. People do almost everything on their phones–from ordering groceries to responding to work emails. Car buyers are online, too–watching car demo videos, reading social media posts, and browsing websites to look for their dream car.
- Have Beautifully Designed Websites
A website’s design influences shopper behavior. According to the team at Longo Lexus, one of the keys to their success is having a beautifully designed website that makes it easy for car buyers to find what they are looking for–whether it’s car specifications or new models. They can examine as many cars as they want—by color, price, and features. If you want to attract and convert prospects into customers, take your showroom online.
- Offer Flexible Payment Plans
Not all car buyers can afford to buy cars in cash. Top dealerships offer flexible payment plans, increasing sales and retaining customers. They usually have relationships with different finance companies and can easily secure financing for customers. Provide flexible payment options on your website to sell more cars and boost your revenue. You can add an auto loan calculator to let car buyers calculate how much they’ll pay for their preferred car.
- Provide Great Customer Service
For a long time, the best salespeople were known by their smile, product knowledge, and confidence. In the digital era, customers still want knowledgeable salespeople, but they also look for different qualities–empathy, a friendly attitude, and great problem-solving skills.
The best dealerships respond swiftly to customer concerns and use different communication mediums, making it easy for customers to reach them. Great customer service is all about attitude, skill, passion, and knowing what the modern car buyer needs.
- After-Sales Service
According to the National Automobile Dealers Association, nearly 37% of a dealership’s profit comes from selling finance and Insurance (F&I) products and service contracts. The best dealerships understand that happy customers can give them more business. They don’t abandon a customer after they sign on the dotted line. They know satisfied customers will always refer their friends!