3 Silver Linings for Dealership Digital Marketers

Thanks to an environment of social distancing and ever-changing ordinances, your dealership undoubtedly looks different than you expected it to at the beginning of the year. While there have been many barriers to success in the car business this year, several silver linings have emerged as well.  

The rapid shifts in the automotive retail industry – and the world in general – have created opportunities for your dealership to leverage technology to ensure business continuity and prepare for a more digital future.  

Challenge yourself and your team to see the silver linings of this challenging time, including these three for your dealership digital marketing department.  

1. Customers Are Providing Better Data – and More of It  

Digital marketing becomes more effective the more accurate data you have, and your customers are giving you more and better data as they shop and buy online. According to the 2020 Cox Automotive COVID-19 Consumer Impact Study, 71% of shoppers want to do more of the purchase steps online compared to the last time they purchased a vehicle.   

Customers have long wanted a personalized car-shopping experience, and that experience starts with targeted, relevant marketing. With more of the buying process now taking place online, customers are giving you more details digitally about what they are shopping for in their browsing behavior, including alternative vehicles of interest and payment options. With that new abundance of rich data, your dealership can personalize emails, website experiences, and more – quickly, efficiently, and at scale.  

2. Technology Translates Data into Value  

While increased online shopping and purchasing helps your dealership collect more data, it is efficient, integrated tools that help translate that data into bottom-line value for your business. Many valuable dealership marketing solutions, including video advertising and automated website experience optimization, already exist and are delivering results for digitally forward dealerships.  

Over the last eight weeks, dealers using video to present additional service recommendations to customers earned an average of more than $4.4 million in incremental fixed ops revenue, according to an analysis performed using 1,700 Xtime Spectrum Inspect dealerships. In addition, the number of shoppers submitting digital deals increased 108% from January 2020 to May 2020, according to Internal Consumer Use Data from Cox Automotive Product Analytics.  

3. Efficiency and Experience Will Set You Apart from the Competition  

We’ve seen that customer data and technology have proven to boost dealership results. Despite this, there are dealerships that still aren’t ready to make a long-term commitment to digital-first operations. Cox Automotive’s 2020 COVID-19 Impact Study indicates that half of dealers are considering going back to their old, non-digital methods once their communities “go back to normal,” despite overwhelming consumer preference and increasing gross profits associated with a more digital process. 

This means that your dealership has an opportunity to be set apart from the competition. Now is the time to quickly and intentionally implement the digital tools that will improve efficiency and customer experience. The truth is there is no “normal” to return to. Consumers now expect a faster, more convenient, digital experience when they buy or service a vehicle, and dealerships that recognize that now will be the ones who win long-term.  

Transforming an industry is hard, but you can do this! From the rise of the internet in 1999, to the Great Recession of 2008, to the crippling recalls of 2016, this industry has proven its resilience before. With a focus on these silver linings, you’ll continue to succeed by adapting to meet car buyers and service customers wherever and however they want to engage you.  

To learn more about how to move your dealership forward, download the Digital Marketing Playbook or contact your team of Cox Automotive Performance Managers.