The ever-evolving automotive industry has undergone yet another transformative shift in recent years, this time with a significant focus on electric vehicles (EVs). Sustainable and eco-friendly, electric vehicles serve as a suitable alternative to traditional vehicles, particularly during an era where global warming is top of mind. Marketing for electric cars presents a unique challenge and also plenty of opportunity for car dealerships hoping to capitalize on the EV revolution.
The EV Revolution
As one of the U.S. government’s foremost solutions for battling climate change and reducing the country’s carbon footprint, electric vehicles continue to gain traction among the public. Driven by advancements in battery technology, increasing environmental awareness, and government incentives to promote cleaner transportation, major automotive players have embraced EVs, developing compelling models to cater to the increasingly diverse needs of customers¹.
With the demand for electric cars continuing to rise, automobile manufacturers would do well to adopt smart, effective car merchandising strategies that aim to improve the customer experience. From strategic vehicle merchandising to social media and other digital marketing campaigns, marketing for electric cars is a necessary skill for automobile dealers and organizations specializing in car merchandising.
Enhancing the Customer Experience
Potential buyers often have numerous questions and concerns before making the switch to a new type of vehicle. Answering customer questions through engaging content is one of the best things dealerships can do when it comes to marketing electric cars. From quelling customer doubts to promoting exciting features, paying close attention to customer concerns enables you to merchandise vehicles more effectively.
First-time EV customers might have questions or concerns about range, charging infrastructure, battery life and replacement costs, and overall EV performance and driving experience. While some of these concerns have fluctuated over time², they still exist and need to be addressed to help the customer feel confident about their purchase. You can address these inquiries through detailed online resources, interactive tools, smart vehicle merchandising, and personalized customer support.
There are a variety of resources available to help dealerships provide accurate information to potential EV buyers. One reputable source is the International Energy Agency (IEA), which offers valuable insights into the benefits of EVs, including reduced greenhouse gas emissions³. Leveraging this type of data, along with car merchandising, can help manufacturers effectively communicate electric vehicles’ positive environmental impact.
EV vs. Traditional Car Merchandising Strategies
While marketing strategies for electric cars share similarities with those for traditional vehicles, there are some key differences between the two. For EVs, the environmental benefits are the top selling points. By sharing these, including their potential to reduce emissions and promote sustainability, dealerships can resonate strongly with environmentally conscious consumers.
Another strong selling point for EVs is cost. According to the IEA, the vast majority of car markets offer some form of subsidy or tax reduction for the purchase of an individual or company electric car³. Between cost savings on fuel to lower operational costs and tax incentives, the cost of EVs is more affordable than ever—an attractive perk to the budget-conscious consumer.
Here are some common marketing strategies when it comes to car merchandising and promoting EVs among new customer bases.
Social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok are changing the game when it comes to automobile marketing⁴. These platforms are free to join, making social media a budget-friendly marketing tool. By highlighting vehicle features, specials and promotions, and other aspects of car ownership, dealerships can stay top-of-mind among consumers during times of steep competition.
Building a strong email list of consumers is a wonderful marketing tactic for automobile dealerships. Using this email list to share specials, new products, or pertinent information about current models, such as tutorials or vehicle tours, can all be used to engage audiences and drive traffic to your website.
Customer Reviews and Testimonials
Real customer testimonials are powerful tools dealerships can use to promote their offerings and quell customer concerns regarding EV use. From highlighting customer reviews on social media to populating your dealership website with positive testimonials, sharing the personal experiences of previous customers can leave a lasting impression on new ones.
Partnerships with social media influencers allow dealerships and other businesses to tap into an audience greater than their own. By involving popular social media influencers in your marketing efforts, you build trust with audiences and elevate brand awareness to new, uncharted heights.
Targeting and Retargeting
Paid social media advertising is an effective way to gain new customers and promote inventory. However, without a clear strategy, paid traffic may prove to be a waste. This is because the “spray and pray” method of digital marketing does little for businesses hoping to increase sales.
Instead, a targeted approach to paid advertising in which dealerships leverage personal data for targeting and retargeting purposes can be much more effective. Who has searched your dealership’s website before? Who has visited and looked at EVs in person? Being able to gauge customer activity and interest can help you identify prime candidates for retargeting².
As the electric vehicle industry continues to gain momentum, effective marketing strategies are crucial to promoting the adoption of electric cars. Through smart vehicle merchandising, addressing customer questions, providing a seamless customer experience, and showcasing the unique benefits of EVs, automobile manufacturers can successfully navigate this dynamic market and leverage it to their advantage.
- 7 Electric Car Companies to Watch in 2023. EnergySage. Retrieved August 2, 2023, from https://www.energysage.com/electric-vehicles/buyers-guide/top-ev-companies/
- How to Maximize Electric Vehicle Sales with a Customer-First Approach. Automotive Mastermind. Retrieved August 2, 2023, from https://www.automotivemastermind.com/blog/uncategorized/how-to-maximize-sales-of-your-dealerships-electric-vehicle-inventory-with-a-customer-first-approach/
- Global EV Outlook 2020. International Energy Agency (IEA). Retrieved August 2, 2023, from https://www.iea.org/reports/global-ev-outlook-2020
- Winning Strategies for EV marketing and Sales. Amura. Retrieved August 2, 2023, from https://www.amuratech.com/blog/winning-strategies-for-marketing-electric-vehicles