Why Your Dealership Needs to Use Specials, and 5 Tips to Create Them Effectively.


Everyone likes to save money. And doing so at the dealership is no exception. Whether a customer is researching the purchase of a new or used car or is looking for routine oil change service, saving money is, of course, a top consideration. There are myriad reasons for financial considerations, obviously, but it must be said that there is simply a strong sense of satisfaction that comes from getting a good deal.

One of the most effective strategies for promoting “good deals” is by offering dealership specials – a win-win for both dealer and customer. For the dealer, specials are essentially an advertisement, and are one of the most effective strategies for generating business for your dealership. And for customers, specials help save them money. Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, specials help create and solidify a long-term relationship between dealer and customer.

Using specials, you can:

-Separate yourself from those competitors with similar vehicles or services.
When deciding between two similar products or services, more often than not a customer will choose the option that has a coupon or special offer tied to it.

-Create happy customers who are excited to share their savings with friends and family.
Customers who feel like they’ve gotten a great deal on a product or service are more likely to share that with family and friends, increasing the visibility for your dealership and your offers.

-Increase shopper website engagement.
An Autotrader study showed new vehicles connected to a special had 116 percent more vehicle details page views than those without.1  Use vehicle specials to encourage vehicle engagement, and parts and service specials to drum up business at your service and parts centers.

-Influence shopper behavior based on your goals.
Are you trying to generate new car sales for a specific model? Perhaps you have a few specific vehicles that have been on your lot longer than you would like. Does your fixed operations team have goals they’re trying to hit for the month? Strategically crafted specials can help your customers see the value in your products and services.


Creating Effective Specials

Now that we’ve explored the reasons why employing a specials strategy is beneficial to your business, let’s take a look at five tips to keep in mind as you’re creating the offers:


1. Be strategic yet transparent.
If  everything is special, nothing is special. Adding too many specials degrades the value of all of the strategy overall. At the same time, having an offer available at the dealership that wasn’t listed on the site is detrimental to customer sentiment as well. For service, consider adding a service menu to the site with a list of all services and prices. Use specials to highlight your best 3-5 offers. For vehicle sales, use your website solution’s incentives program (link to Incentives Manager) to show all offers but build specials to highlight the 3-5 model or vehicle-specific offers.

2. Build specials for your brand and your market.
As a luxury dealer your specials should have a different look and feel than a dealer selling economy vehicles. They should be more refined and aesthetically in line with your brand’s image. Be sure to make the look and feel of your coupons consistent across your brand to ensure you’re best resonating with your target customers.

3. Plan ahead and schedule your specials.
Scheduling specials ahead of time ensures you always have an offer posted. Customers are less likely to return to a page that consistently displays a “specials unavailable” message. Be sure to include end dates to add an increased sense of urgency and encourage customers to act quickly.

4. Make sure your offers are seasonally relevant.
Choose vehicles and services that are seasonally appropriate for your region. In the summer, consider featuring an air conditioning performance check special when temperatures start to heat up. Think about posting specials about SUVs and trucks when colder months are on the horizon.

5. Include the savings percentage or dollar amount in the title of your special.
Whether you’re offering $500 off a new vehicle or 15 percent off a customer’s next service bill, be sure to include this in the title. Offers that begin with the amount of savings capture attention.

At the end of the day, take a look at your specials from the point of view of the customer. Imagine you’re in-market for a new or used car or trying to find the best deal on an oil change for your current vehicle. If you would choose your dealership based on the specials and offers you’re posting, customers are likely to do the same.

Jessica Lunau is a lead Digital Advisor at Dealer.com

1  AutoTrader Site Data, March 2015. https://dealerlearningcenter.com/insights/view/influence-shopper-decisions-with-special-offers