It’s news to no one that these are anxious times. But despite what probably feels like all doom and gloom right now, there is actually plenty of opportunity for dealers to stay connected to customers, bring in new business, and even transform your 21st century sales and operational strategy for the better.
We’ve analyzed the most recent data on consumer and dealer sentiment as well as shopping behavior to create the following five key takeaways you can use to help inform your business strategy moving forward.
1) People Are Still Shopping
It may be more attention-grabbing to highlight that 28% of consumers have delayed their vehicle purchase as a result of COVID-19. But do the math and the other 72% might still be shopping. The bottom line is that despite the ups and downs of the stock market, the proximity of a recession, and consumer fears in general, people are likely still shopping for cars.
2) Shoppers Are Now Even Less Likely to Visit the Showroom In-Person
As social distancing becomes the refrain for our battle with the Coronavirus, it’s no wonder that 55% of shoppers now say they prefer NOT to visit the physical dealership. But it wasn’t this recent crisis that started this trend. With online shopping becoming the norm, consumers expect to be able to do more, if not most, of the car-buying process from the convenience of their own laptop or mobile device. Implement a digital retailing strategy to make the most of this growing demand and let shoppers know about this essential shopping experience.
3) Customers Are Putting Off Repairs
Right now, they’d usually be scheduling snow-to-summer tire changeovers in the northern parts of the country or getting their vehicles ready for the warmer months ahead. But, for many, that’s not the case this spring. In fact, 29% of consumers now plan to postpone service/repair work for fear of exposure to COVID-19. To overcome this challenge, exceed customer expectations and edge out the competition by offering at-home services like vehicle pick-ups and drop-offs. Learn more about Xtime and Clutch Technologies.
4) Dealers Are Taking Precautions; Customers Need to Know That
The health and safety of not only your customers but of your employees are priorities for you, and are top of mind for dealers everywhere across the country. At last check, 84% of dealers are taking proactive steps to address these concerns. You can assuage customer apprehensions of car dealership interaction by continuing to encourage them to do more online while communicating your dealership’s COVID-19 preventative measures on your website, in emails, or on social media.
5) Dealers See Light at the End of the Tunnel
While we’re all still very much in the throes of COVID-19, it’s worth pointing out that nearly 50% of dealers believe that they’ll resume business as normal by the end of June. Hopefully, Independence Day will take on a new meaning this 4th of July if this is the case!
Now is the time to turn up your efforts online, whether it’s sales, service, or both. Keep connected to your customers through these challenges and let them know you’re still very much open for business. It just might look a little differently than it used to.
*Sources: Cox Automotive COVID-19: Tracking U.S. Consumer and Automotive Dealer Sentiment Survey 3/24/20