Trending Now: New Car DealersThree Tips to Pull Ahead of the Competition
Fierce competition among new car dealerships has stagnated profit margins—leaving dealers working harder for the same profit. Here are three tips from our automotive experts that can help you get ahead of the competition.
1. Don’t neglect your online presence
You might think online review sites, such as Yelp or Google Businesses, are just for bars and restaurants, but there is an opportunity you may be overlooking. Sure, DealerRater is specific to the automotive industry, but the fact is Yelp and other popular review sites continue to drive the lion’s share of traffic from consumers, especially on mobile.
Furthermore, consumers are increasingly looking to conduct more of their car buying process online—from browsing inventory to completing paperwork to negotiating price. It may be nerve-racking to empower consumers though digital channels, but the fact is, if you’re not actively managing and investing in your digital presence, prospective customers will move on quickly and find your competitors who are. This shift in business practice takes coordination and a comprehensive strategy, complete with the need to make the process smoother through digital channels.
2. Invest in mobile
Mobile is a hazy, unwieldy, ever-expanding and evolving platform. But, that’s no reason to shy away from it. Navigating mobile is mandatory because consumers are connected every minute of their waking hours, and being absent from this always-on platform is a missed opportunity of epic proportions. Consider these facts from Google, Millward Brown, and Ipsos:
- One in four purchasers use mobile every day to research vehicles
- 27% of people do most of their vehicle research on a mobile device
- 45% of millennials and 41% of affluent buyers (HHI $200k+) are mobile-first auto researchers
What is the best way to invest in mobile? You might think of building a mobile app, but the fact is, building a mobile app or licensing a white-labeled one is costly, both from a financial and a time perspective. The most effective and efficient channels on mobile are PPC and a responsive website that is optimized for mobile. And, of course, managing your online presence across reputation sites (such as Yelp) is table-stakes.
3. Message all of your services
Everyone has a full suite of beautiful new cars—what do you offer that differentiates you from your competition? Do you have a top-notch service center with automatic loaner vehicles and extended hours on weeknights and weekends? Perhaps you have express lanes for daily maintenance or an online system that messages owners to help them track their service needs? Maybe your financing is in-house and outstanding. Whatever it may be, don’t shy away from messaging all of your services. Consumers are looking to do more of their automotive shopping online, but the fact is, vehicles are major purchases and tangible goods that benefit from an in-person touch and shopping experience. Investing in a car has many steps, some of which can be digitized, but others are prime to message and focus on to drive consideration for your dealership.
Auto marketing experts on call
If you’re finding your profits flat or if you’re looking for ways to amplify your marketing plans, we can help. We have dedicated automotive specialists and access to insights from across the country to inform optimal marketing strategy. Contact us or call 607.798.1325 for your free custom consultation today
Schultz, EJ. “Mobile Becomes Engine for Auto Marketing” Ad Age, 23 Feb 2016
Undercoffler, David. “California Toyota store tackles review site comments one by one.” AutoNews, 21 Mar 2016
Wilson, Amy. “Record profit, flat margin for stores.” AutoNews, 1 Apr 2016