Dealerships today face a constant struggle to sell in a digital marketplace that continues to grow. The vast majority of consumers research vehicles online before ever stepping foot inside a dealership. The average consumer conducts 14 hours of online research before they end up purchasing a used car (2016 Auto Trader Study). Is it possible they’re more informed than your salesperson who has 100 cars on the lot? You bet they are, especially since salesperson turnover rate for the automotive industry is a whopping 67 percent.
What does this mean for your sales? It means the second your team says something that doesn’t jive with what the customer “knows,” trust is out the window. That’s when you’re forced to drop price to save the sale. With customers becoming more and more knowledgeable, it is time to reevaluate and adapt your sales processes to make sure you win over today’s very knowledgeable consumer.
MAXDigital SVP of Strategy and Innovation, Patrick McMullen, will outline some very clear ways that you and your sales teams can level the playing field, focusing on three key areas:
- Embrace Technology: how to turn sales staff into the product experts they should be (hint: ditch the guess work)
- Make the Car the Star: how to implement a new selling strategy that focuses on quality and value behind the price
- Build Trust: how to build trust with consumers, so they’ll choose to come to your dealership over all others
It’s time to stop relying on price dropping just to make the sale. To hear more from Patrick about how to “Stop the Drop” and turn your team into product experts and increase profits, attend his Digital Dealer presentation:
Monday, September 18, 2017
1:30 – 2:20 p.m.
In today’s incredibly competitive and increasingly digital automotive market, dealerships need to do whatever they can to set themselves apart from their competition. Chances are there’s a dealership a short distance away that also sells the same vehicles you do, and at similar prices.
So, how can you make sure shoppers come to your dealership when it is time to buy? That is where having a strong automotive merchandising strategy comes in.
What is Automotive Merchandising?
The most simple definition of merchandising is any behavior taken to promote and sell a product. This includes more than you think, as every form of contact between your dealership and your customers, from ads and your website to speaking to your sales staff, fits under that umbrella.
A strong automotive merchandising strategy means optimizing as many of these interactions as possible.
Why is Strong Automotive Merchandising Important to Your Dealership?
Unfortunately, your cars don’t sell themselves, and others are trying to sell similar vehicles to your potential customers. Employing a strong automotive merchandising strategy helps you by:
- Helping your dealership be discovered by shoppers
- Convincing those shoppers to come into your dealership
- Converting prospective buyers into customers
- Encouraging those customers to return to your dealership
What You Need to Know to Have Strong Automotive Merchandising
As we’ve mentioned, strong automotive merchandising encompasses many aspects of your business, including:
- Marketing and ads
- Your website content
- Your website’s design
- Sales-customer interactions
- Customer interactions with any member of your staff
Keep these in mind as you learn some strategies for strengthening your own merchandising
Consumers Make Their Decisions Online
People used to shop around at multiple dealerships to find the cars they wanted. Now 46% of people only visit one dealership. They’re not doing any less shopping. They’re just changing the location. The average buyer spends more than 16 hours researching their automotive purchases online.
Consumers want transparency. Your online ads, VDPs, and other merchandising pages need to have thorough and detailed information on each vehicle. It is paramount that this content includes price justification, which lets customers know they’re getting a good deal.
Don’t expect this online shopping trend to slow down. If your dealership does not have an online component to your merchandising strategy, you will get left behind.
Trust is Important, Make Sure You’re Accurate
In past decades, auto salespeople have developed a reputation for being untrustworthy. Consumers just accepted dealing with this as an occasional part of life. With the increased emphasis on information and transparency, building trust has become a huge part of merchandising.
Customers can verify the information on your website, so make sure it is all accurate and up to date. They also expect similar accuracy and honestly from your sales team. If your facts are off, you run the risk of losing trust, and people will not buy from you if they do not trust you.
Visuals Can Be as Important as Content
It doesn’t matter how much online content you have, if your website looks unattractive or is difficult to read or navigate, potential customers will lose interest.
Web pages need to be well-designed and intuitive. The information should be organized in a way that is easy to digest and understand. Use of good photos and other visuals can also do a lot to enhance a page.
You Need to Make Each Vehicle Stand Out
Chances are, you’re not the only local dealership selling from your manufacturers, and you’re certainly not the only local dealership selling your class of vehicle. Give buyers a reason to choose your specific car.
People don’t shop based on price alone, and anyone can lower the price of a car. Shoppers want value, and by pointing out what makes your products unique, you demonstrate your value.
Mention unique attributes of the vehicles on your inventory. Maybe it has some luxury or tech package. Perhaps it has very low mileage. Include this information in your ads and website content. These details also help justify when a vehicle has a higher price than a competitor’s.
Make Your Automotive Merchandising Stronger with MAX
No one said strong automotive merchandising would be simple. Fortunately, MAX Digital can make it much easier. Our online auto merchandising platform helps you enhance your online content, create informative ads, and turns your sales team into experts on every vehicle on your lot. Sign up for a demo and learn how MAX can help your dealership.
Digital Dealer 2017 is upon us, and there are just a few days left to take advantage of the advanced registration rate. A meeting of many of the most influential thought leaders in the auto industry, Digital Dealer is a great place to find new strategies on growing your dealership.
See MAX Digital at the 2017 Digital Dealer Conference and Expo
The 23rd annual conference, 2017’s Digital Dealer conference is being held at the Paris Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada, from September 18-20. With 90 of the 100 top US dealership groups attending, Digital Dealer is a can’t-miss opportunity.
Digital Dealer also features an open exhibition hall of companies offering demos of all of the latest and most innovative tech advances for auto dealers, like MAX Digital’s platform.
Gain Insight from Industry Leaders
Guests can take part in over 100 educational sessions and panels, offering new ideas on how dealerships can thrive in the 21st century. This includes:
- A keynote address from Brian Benstock, General Manager and Vice President of Paragon Honda and Acura, the world’s top Honda and Acura certified dealers.
- A keynote panel on creating more friendly and fruitful relationships between dealerships and vendors.
- A keynote panel on utilizing the principles of disruptive growth to succeed in today’s highly competitive market.
Hear Patrick McMullen, MAX’s SVP of Strategy and Innovation
One of these education sessions is being led by MAX Digital’s Senior VP of Strategy and Innovation, Patrick McMullen. McMullen will be teaching dealerships how to turn their sales team into experts, and how doing so can build trust in customers and increase your sales.
Stop by the MAX Digital Booth for a Free Demo
You can also talk to us in person when you visit the MAX Digital at booth #713. There you will be able to experience our software platform first hand with a free demo. MAX Digital lets you enhance your online content to better merchandise your inventory.
Easy access to information through the internet has fundamentally changed the way people shop for cars. Ignoring these changes can mean massive losses in revenue for your dealership as you either fail to attract leads or need to drop your prices to sell your stock.
Fortunately, customers are looking for your products online right now. In a recent Driving Sales webinar Patrick McMullen, Senior VP of Strategy and Innovation at MAX Digital, and Chad Graves, Co-Founder and Director of Sales at Reunion Marketing, lay out strategies for increasing leads online and selling to the modern buyer.
Increase Leads and Sell More Inventory With MAX Digital
Auto dealerships are starting to see radical new competition from industry disruptors like Carvana. These changes come with an increase in used inventory to create a shift that can hurt dealerships who don’t adjust their strategies.
How Does the Modern Buyer Shop for Cars?
In the past, customers shopped with physical visits to multiple dealerships before making a decision. Now, a majority of customer decision making is done online. The average consumer spends as much as 16.75 hours on third-party and dealership websites choosing their next car.
After doing their research online, the average shopper only visits one or two dealerships in person. Success in increasing leads is dependant on having the online presence to bring those customers in. McMullen said, “It used to be that our… physical front line was the most important place. Now it’s our virtual front line. Our virtual front line is the first time we have to make an impression on that customer.”
Attracting the Now Buyer
The first key to attracting leads to your lot is being where they’re looking. Graves described how utilizing SEO and SEM strategies can help you appear near the top of the results when people search for your vehicles.
Consumers want transparency and information. Once they arrive on your website, you need to make sure that your content is optimized to give them the information they need to convert and choose your dealership.
Your website should have dedicated pages for vehicles that demonstrate their value clearly. Most customers don’t buy cars on price alone, instead choosing the car that offers the most value and quality. Your VDPs should mention specific package information and answer any questions a visitor may have about the car.
Selling to the Now Buyer
Your work isn’t over once you get customers into your store. With the massive amount of research they do before coming in, buyers are likely to know more about the car they’re after than even your sales team.
The MAX Digital Showroom app puts information about every car on your lot at the fingertips of your sales team. By having access to this information, they can have the expertise they need to build trust with your customers. It will also arm them with the information they need to fight price drops.
By adapting your strategy to the now buyer, you can increase leads, store visits, and profits for your dealership. Listen to the full webinar below for more insights, or schedule a demo to see how MAX Digital can help you.