How do you find the perfect balance between your Retail and Digital offering?
September 21, 2020
While we are in the midst of the most challenging time in our industry’s history, it’s easy to get caught up in the doom and gloom. But what if this is the boost that we all needed to recognise that there has never been a better time to modernise our businesses and reflect on what our customers want when it comes to customer service and a more effortless buying experience online?
Many dealerships have been operating in the very same way for the last 20 years. But how much has society changed? And how much has technology impacted the way a customer wants to experience the buying journey?
You might say “Well, I have a website so isn’t that enough for the modern buyer?” Yes, it’s great, and a good start, but so does every other dealership that you are competing with, and some of them are mandated to be exactly the same as yours.
I’m sure everyone’s read articles throughout COVID lockdown that say the old cliche “time to work in the business rather than in it”. And as much as I hate to say it, they are all absolutely right.
So while we consider our reopening plans and how to start bringing customers back into the dealership, the best place to start is Digital.
Our customers are so adept at online research, purchases and providing feedback that if we don’t capitalise on this right now, we are never going to catch up to our competitors. Studies show that throughout COVID, online purchases have doubled and we are spending around four hours a day online. The question for modern dealerships is – How do you find the perfect balance between your retail and digital offering?
I see dealers who have been running online and virtual yards successfully for many years. However, the vast majority are still unsure of what exactly drives success and profit in their online business and how best to target new in-market buyers to their websites.
So here is a list of essential points to consider when building or improving your digital footprint for your dealership:
Understand that while you might have to follow OEM guidelines on the look and feel or your site, you can work with your website provider in individualising your site and improving the customer experience. The content, features and functionality can be entirely up to you. Consider how easy it is for a customer to locate and enquire on your stock. Can they quickly book a service and apply for finance? What about finding out the value of their trade-in and leaving a deposit to secure the vehicle? Have you considered new model launches, run-outs or finance offerings and created landing pages specific to those? Do you show your Google rating and feedback and provide an easy click to call functionality? And on top of all this, is your website Mobile First? With an average of 60% of your traffic coming from mobiles it must be!
Digital Marketing Mix
So after all of these considerations in building out your website, how do you get people there? Digital Marketing must be a critical consideration in your marketing mix. Let me use one more cliche ‘Fish where the fish are’. While many dealers still play in the print and radio space (and don’t get me wrong I’d never tell you to stop doing this), the majority of your marketing dollars need to be directed toward digital. After all, that’s where your customers are, and that’s where they need you to be.
Yes you should hit your database with an EDM or SMS blast every so often, but what else should you be considering and how much do you need to spend to get the best results? I would always look at a strategy that drives new in-market customers in your local area to your website; however, you also want to follow them when they leave your site. A combination of Google Search, Display, SEO and YouTube is a must for any successful digital campaign and then add in highly targeted Facebook and Instagram posts and Inventory Ads. The result, your complete strategy will drive vast numbers of impressions of your Ads – I’m talking millions – and push thousands of new users to your website every month to engage in YOUR brand, YOUR stock and YOUR message.
Stand out with Digital Creative
We must consider the creative and ‘the offer’ with every strategy. Without a hook, there is little to entice a potential customer to click on your ad so make sure you work closely with an industry-specific Digital Strategist to guide you on what is going to give you the best results.
Reporting is key to your entire digital marketing strategy. If you do not review campaign reports, or don’t know how to, then how do you know it’s working? Impressions, user sessions, new users, click-through rates, bounce rates, most clicked pages, session times etc. can be daunting to understand but, by working with a digital partner, they will educate and advise you on reports regularly.
Now is the best time to start thinking about the next steps for your business, how to reopen the doors successfully and how to increase sales and service opportunities immediately without breaking the bank.
Our team of Digital Performance Advisors and Digital Strategist at Digipurple are here to help you create a successful strategy regardless of your budget, location or size of dealership. And if you are working with another agency or provider ensure that you are meeting regularly, reviewing reports and maximising campaigns to provide you with the best possible return on your digital marketing investment.
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E-mail the team at Digipurple on email@example.com or send us your enquiry using this form
About the author – Kylie Brewer
With over 20 years experience in the Automotive Industry, Kylie Brewer has a unique understanding of current market trends having worked in various leadership positions within Dealerships, Groups and Automotive classifieds. She has a strong knowledge of Digital Marketing specific to dealership needs as well as a good understanding of the used car market and how to retain and build gross across all dealership departments.