It’s official, governments decided to shift into second gear with their social distancing policies in Ontario or Quebec. Other provinces might follow shortly (or already have by the time you are reading this). Dealerships’ doors are closed. That is the reality of the COVID-19 crisis and no-one can afford to ignore it by now. As dramatic as it sounds, there are some opportunities that should not be overlooked in these troubled times and digital marketing is key. Two main positions have clashed in recent days: resignation or opportunism. Here are some strategies we decided to present to those who will opt for the latter:

1- More people online than ever

Videotron removes data limits for its members. Amazon contracts more than 100,000 new employees to offset the increase in online orders in the United States. The most recent studies show that internet traffic is increasing by at least 20 to 30% since the beginning of the crisis in Europe. The same will happen here. The market has not disappeared: it is online.

2- Rethink your key performance indicators (KPI)

In terms of marketing, it is important to rethink your short and medium-term goals. The performance indicators used last spring (the amount of indoor visits and sales in the coming weeks, etc.) are to be reviewed. To ignore this is to give in to panic. Be smarter: the best strategy during this crisis will be to stay present and connected with your customers and to keep offering them quality content. You know your job and your customers. Do you happen to have some spare time? Invest it to define how you could reinvent the process of selling a car in your dealership!

3- Stay invested and dominate the internet in anticipation of a sales comeback

Directing efforts towards an eventual revival in sales is the solution. Marketing should be seen as an investment. Like on the stock market, many will think of withdrawing. Some players will do it and overdo it. What would be the outcome? An opportunity for those who will remain invested! Concretely, the cost per click is likely to decrease, the brand awareness space on the internet will be less occupied … And yet car enthusiasts and future buyers want to keep on dreaming of their next vehicle! Conquest and brand awareness campaigns could be your ticket to glory. Almost 9 buyers out of 10 will choose the dealership that appeared strong and consistent during an economical crisis or recession for their next buying move when ready.

4 – But specifically, what should I do?

  • Be 100% available on instant messaging and digitally.
  • Create meeting opportunities and launch lead generation campaigns from Facebook (Lead Ads).
  • Record test and demo videos of your latest car models.
  • Strengthen your presence on Google Ads Display for more brand awareness.
  • Increase your online presence through quality social media content.

5 – The essential: Reinventing the 100% online purchasing process

This is where creative and proactive concessions stand out. Continuing to make sales during this troubled period and without concession visits is possible, but a simple, intuitive and inviting process must be implemented for the buyer. This must be 100% online with courteous services. Establish a watch to see what your competition is doing. But you will have to be fast! Some solutions to consider:

  • Showcases and test drives at home.Of course, always apply strictly Public health recommendations, such as the 2 meters distance. You don’t want some picture of your employees posted on Facebook showing that they have inappropriate gestures.
  • Vehicle collection (and return) service for maintenance and service in general. When the rules allows it, of course!
  • Delivery of sold vehicles on a flatbed truck at home (make it a WOW event, film it and post it on your social media channels).
  • Follow every notice of your local or provincial dealer association to be compliant and proactive with laws update in order to sign electronically and finalize sales at your client’s domicile.
  • Above all: guarantee the safety of your practice and the health of your staff and customers. The key words of your new approach: united and responsible.

Take the initiative when it comes to this new online sales cycle and home shopping process and you will certainly get some of your sales back. Be bold and fast … and you will also win part of your competitors’ sales!

Lots of things to put in place, lots of changes… don’t forget that many experts are there to help you. What will your strategy be?

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