Why Now is the Time to Embrace a Digital Strategy, from Speed Shift Media.
Though the auto dealership industry has undergone a renaissance of sorts in the past decade, many are still reluctant to introduce digital into their dealership marketing strategies. Even though some of these less evolved dealerships are still reporting healthy sales numbers, now is the time to embrace digital. If you or your superiors, are among those reluctant to go digital, we encourage you to take note. Those who are not adopting online strategies are quite literally on the verge of irrelevancy. So, why the sense of urgency?
The Death of the Test-Drive
For decades, the test drive has been one of the most important components of the car-buying experience. However, for many consumers, the test drive is no longer the decision-maker. In fact, many are shopping for, and even buying, their vehicles online. A recent study from DMEautomotive found that four out of five customers search for car deals online. Out of those surveyed, 68% visited two or fewer dealerships, while 40% visited a single dealership. Perhaps the most remarkable findings of the study: only 33% actually went to dealerships to test-drive their vehicles, while 16% simply preferred not to.
Therefore, securing ad space in the paper or handing out flyers is no longer enough. Rather than engaging the passive consumer through traditional advertising, digital marketing enables dealerships to engage consumers as they actively search for vehicles. Forget the test drive, now is your chance to drive sales via the web. Beyond advertising alone, keep a close eye on groups like Carvana and AutoNation who are moving the online experience to sales completion. In the case of Carvana you can complete the full transaction online AND have the vehicle delivered to your door on one of their flatbed trucks. In the case of AutoNation and the recent launch of SmartChoice Express, you can complete nearly the entire process online and have your vehicle waiting for you at the location of your choice. You can then complete the transaction in less than 30 minutes! Outside of these two forward thinking groups, we are hearing of many more dealer groups who are taking automotive eCommerce to new levels.