For anyone observing trends in the auto industry, it’s hard to ignore the steady trend of dealerships shutting their doors. Just recently, Cadillac presented nearly half of its dealerships throughout the United States with a buyout offer — which could lead to more than 400 dealerships closing their operations.
It’s hardly an isolated situation. For the past several decades, the number of franchised car dealerships throughout the nation has been on a steady decline — from 47,000 in 1950 to 16,532 in 2015, based on a report by the National Automobile Dealers Association.
That begs the question: “What are you doing to make sure your car dealership survives in 2017 and beyond?”
Take a look at the main three auto digital marketing trends that are driving success in the automotive dealership industry in the wake of changing consumer habits:
Understand the Importance of Personalization.
More than likely, fewer consumers are showing up at your doors to take their “first look” at the vehicles on your lot. Studies by Accenture show that 80 percent of drivers are going online to do the vast majority of their research, with 62 percent starting the buying process online.
What does that mean for you? Your website needs to be equipped to provide the “personal” touch as part of your dealership’s first impression with consumers. That’s because it still matters. A lot. According to statistics published in Adweek, consumers said that their purchases were influenced by personalization.
For the auto dealership industry, that means implementing strategies and tactics that allow you to deliver a customized experience for your users is essential. Your team needs to be constantly driven to find ways to be competitive in this area. It’s important to explore the latest in auto digital marketing to succeed in this area. Those who adapt quickly will be among the dealerships that survive.
One of the keys to providing personalization as well as real-time attention (another key strategy that’s key to increased sales) is to establish a sound automation marketing strategy.
According to Salesforce, businesses that have adopted marketing automation as a way to nurture their prospects are seeing gains of 451% in qualified leads.
Automation also allows you to quickly respond to prospective buyers, whether you’re at the dealership by the phone or not.
It’s important to integrate your auto digital marketing solutions.
For example, once a user fills out a pre-approved loan form or engages in an interactive form or responds to a CTA on your website, your solution should be equipped to respond immediately. Again, use the data that you’re gathering from your forms to make it personal and relevant.
Optimize for Mobile.
It can’t be repeated enough, but a significant number of businesses continue to neglect the user experience on mobile devices. Not only do you have to make sure that your website is responsive (automatically adjusting based on the device visitors are using); but you also need to take into consideration how prospective consumers will view and use forms, navigation, and other components of your website.
According to Business Insider, you could be missing out on some opportunities to further engage people who are using their mobile devices to navigate your site.
Consider this: In 2015, American adults were spending nearly 60 percent of their time on mobile devices and about 40 percent on desktops. Are you establishing a mobile experience that encourages users to take the next step with your dealership?
Be sure to examine your imagery as well. Another study by Google revealed that searches for photos of specific brands of vehicles was up 37% year-over-year.
As more consumers shift their focus to researching vehicles online, it’s critical that you set up your dealership to successfully capture leads — and sales.