car dealerships and coronavirus

What Should Car Dealerships Do During the Coronavirus Pandemic?

The Coronavirus Pandemic is here for the near future.  

That’s the reality.  

How quickly your dealership adapts will determine who is able to get through this stretch largely intact and who isn’t.  

Not to sound like a financial advisor, but the biggest thing to keep in mind is to not overreact to the situation. Yes, it’s serious. But people still need cars, whether they buy them now or when things get normalized in a few months.  

Coronavirus and Automotive Digital Spend 

We’ve had dealers already calling in to cut budgets on SEM and other ancillary tools. Sometimes, this is a natural budget necessity. As sales drop, so must expenses. But if there is room to retain advertising, the suggestion would be to do it, for a couple reasons.  

First, let’s look at the data. Traffic at this point has largely been retained, and universal data has shown consistency and even small increases month-over-month and year-over year. A likely conclusion here is that more people are home to search, and those individuals are also not comfortable coming to the dealership right now. The result is more people shopping online – your digital storefront is on display more than ever. 

analytics coronavirus screenshot

At the same time, conversions continue to trend steadily and even show increases in March. Traffic and leads being consistent, and even increased, prove that the shoppers are there.  

And given that many of your competitors may be decreasing or pausing their digital services, you can potentially capitalize on their territory while also getting friendlier cost-per-click figures.  

key performance metricsTo recap, sales are clearly down a bit in automotive right now, and we can expect that trend to continue. But like many things, there are opportunities to be found in this downtime. 

Coronavirus and Car Dealer Adaptation 

Properly adapting to the Coronavirus pandemic is more than just continuing with business as usual in the digital space, though.  

Like mentioned above, the shoppers are still present right now. But there are ways to better connect with them, from simple changes to the website, to adaptation of a slightly different model for your sales opportunities.  

An easy one is to make people feel better about coming into the dealership. Many dealerships are putting messaging on their sites that support what they are doing in terms of deep cleaning of the dealership and the vehicles – and sanitation methods that they offer consumers coming in the door.  

At DealerFire, homepage slide designs and messaging are always free. Many also have been utilizing our announcement bar, and creating custom messaging through their blog, landing pages or even press releases that our SEO content teams create.  

Delivery Test Drives and Digital Retail during COVID-19 

test drive at homeFor some, simply having a clean dealership isn’t enough, as many consumers will not be comfortable coming in like they were a month ago. This is when we get into offering a new convenience model for shoppers.  

An emerging piece of this is dealers offering delivery test drives to enable potential customers to have the car delivered to them for a test drive. DealerFire website and DealerSocket CRM customers are able to take advantage of a current free integration of Delivery Test Drives that provides a quick and easy process for consumers and integrates fully with CRM for easy scheduling and processing on the dealership’s side.  

If you aren’t a DealerSocket CRM customer, we can still create custom messaging and forms to allow you to offer this at-home test drive service through a lead form. Adapting to the customer at home, especially during this time, will set you apart from the pack.  

The final piece is full digital retail. This is the holy grail of automotive future retail and an instant complete answer to concerns around COVID-19 and social distancing. At DealerSocket, we have a fully integrated tool known as Precise Price

With a digital retailing solution like Precise Price, consumers can put their entire deal together, including financing and trade-in, and stop in to pick up their car or have it delivered to them with no hassle and no fear of violating the social distancing rules of the CDC.  

dealerfire precise price

No matter what route is best for your dealership, DealerFire can find a way to make sure you get through this difficult time with as little disruption as possible. Get in touch today to learn the many ways our cutting-edge websites are future-proofed for the changing automotive landscape, and unforeseen situations like COVID-19.