The Edmunds 2020 Automotive Industry Trends Report predicted a sixth straight year of sales over $17 million in the United States.
Then came COVID-19, causing automobile manufacturing and car sales to come to a screeching halt. Several new realities immediately hit the automobile industry:
- With factories shut down, there would soon be a new car shortage.
- People impacted by the shelter-at-home orders would not be able to buy new cars or sell their used cars, creating a shortage of used vehicles.
- The tried-and-true model of connecting with customers on the lot and through a test drive was suddenly impossible. Car dealerships required an immediate shift in how sales were pursued.
In a follow-up report, Edmunds predicted that April would be reported as the worst month in 30 years, with 53% less in sales than in April 2019. In addition, annual sales for 2020, rather than being another banner year, would finish 26% lower than 2019.
In order to slow the losses, as well as help customers connect with the right vehicles, dealerships are implementing some new strategies:
Help Customers Shop Safely
From cleaning programs that fully wipe down frequently-used surfaces to contactless test drives, shopping, and car delivery, dealerships that have embraced flexibility have often fared the best. Some dealerships had already fully implemented online shopping, making the transition easier than for dealerships that relied heavily on the in-person sales experience.
Make Cars Affordable
Due to job losses or employer reorganizations, many drivers are finding that their current car doesn’t fit their budget. New special financing programs are encouraging cash-strapped consumers to get in touch with the dealer to trade in their current car for one that fits their current budget.
Dealerships have an important chance to solve real problems for their customers and strengthen loyalties and relationships. The ability to help a customer remove some daily stress by lowering their car payment will provide opportunities long after the coronavirus is gone.
Find New Ways to Connect
Across all industries, digital marketing is proving invaluable for connections during a time when people are staying home. Through a coordinated virtual Facebook event through DirectMail.io, you can significantly increase the number of leads for your dealership. DirectMail.io offers trained automotive consultants ready to assist leads and funnel them to your dealership. It’s a turnkey solution that includes strategy and design of the event, contact center support, and follow-up analytics.
For more information about a Facebook event, or to discuss automated marketing solutions in the era of COVID-19, contact us at DirectMail.io.