In the last few years we’ve seen the automotive industry go through several phases. But what was once a relatively simple process now poses a bit of a challenge for automotive marketing teams as customers consider the various options available to them. This is thanks to a boom in technological advancements and societal demands, and the end result is that customers need simpler ways to buy vehicles - or else they may be tempted to hop in an Uber or join a car subscription service instead.
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We’ve all seen the road ahead, and it’s online. As lives get busier and various markets continue to introduce products and services to make everyday living more convenient, the automotive industry is seeing a shift in the way that people choose to buy cars. Perhaps it isn’t entirely practical to purchase something as involved as a vehicle on the web without human interaction, but many automotive retailers are taking steps to offer many of their services online. These contactless options include:
- Auto service pick up and drop off. Simply schedule your car in for service online and it will be picked up and delivered again once it’s ready to hit the road.
- At-home test drives. Many dealerships will deliver a vehicle to your home so that you can get a feel for the drive without the pressure of a salesperson sitting beside you.
- Digital paperwork. Some retailers even allow you to submit your paperwork online or hand it in during an at-home vehicle delivery appointment.
These options put the customer in control - which is right where they want to be these days. In order to stay ahead of these changes, car dealerships should be focused on producing online content that appeals to their target market. The number of YouTube videos of full, detailed vehicle walkarounds has skyrocketed in recent years, and that’s something every dealership should be taking advantage of.
Car shoppers are looking for deals now more than ever, which adds a level of responsibility for automotive marketing teams. The first quarter of 2020 saw an abundance of shoppers searching online to determine if the timing was right to purchase a new vehicle - even though all of the dealerships were closed. This means that marketers need to focus their energy on online initiatives and strategies such as paid search and targeted display ads through Google, Facebook, and Instagram that will attract the new breed of at-home buyers with offers too good to pass up.
YouTube vehicle walkthroughs aren’t the only way to attract buyers and close deals. While almost 20 percent of car buyers say that they’d purchase vehicles faster if they could do it all online, people still crave a level of personalization. Instead of showing a customer a vehicle in person, record a video of you showing them the car - just for them. Make it personal, and you’ll put yourself in another league altogether. Answer their specific questions in the video by speaking directly to them and their individual situation. That level of customer service is just unmatched!
The times they are a-changin’, and automotive marketers have some big, sink-or-swim decisions to make about the way they promote and sell their vehicles. Understanding the mindset shift is the first step, then it’s a matter of developing creative methods and thinking outside the dealership to offer a tailored buying experience for the new normal. At excelerate Digital, our team is focused on developing marketing strategies that can roll with the punches. Get in touch with us to find out how we can bring more e-customers to your automotive business.