In the automotive retail industry, we can’t know what tomorrow will bring. But we can prepare for it the best we can. Not knowing what turns are ahead for our industry doesn’t put us behind the 8-ball. Instead, it allows us to learn and thrive. Currently, we are nearing the end of Q4 in 2023. Are we where we thought we would be a year ago?
I’m sure some guesses have been long forgotten. Perhaps some strong voices made predictions that stuck. The truth is, however, that we are at a point where we have decisions to make about the future. Automotive retail is robust even in the face of disruptions. The question will remain as to how we can overcome struggles and move from surviving to thriving. To answer this, we need to uncover where value rests in the process for the modern consumer. Everything you do from sourcing, managing, and selling automobiles needs to be done in a proactive manner.
Start with how you acquire. For many dealerships, what you can’t see can hurt you. This applies to the appraisal process and how you source inventory. If you are operating with blinders on, deploying an inefficient trade-in process, or not breaking free from outdated practices, you are putting yourself at risk.
What does this mean?
Simply put, the survival of your lot and business depends on vehicles. Automobiles are the lifeblood of your operations. However, the used car market continues to ebb and flow. This means that the better your stock, the better your ability to provide options to your community. If you couple a strategic approach to consumer acquisition with a data-backed philosophy, you gain insights that tell you not only what and why to stock…but where to get it.
There are plenty of modern solutions available to help you remedy this situation. It’s up to you to pick one and move beyond a simple sandwich board out in front of your lot.
But, don’t stop there. Build value into how you manage your inventory with a next-generation system. Never before has there been such a glut of solutions for your dealership. With data as a component, you learn the best cadence for your daily, weekly, and monthly tasks. You’ll get the upper hand on merchandising and marketing, and discover new avenues to connect with consumers and improve the overall experience. This impacts customer satisfaction, retention, and brand loyalty.
Now, value will never go out of style. As it stands, there are different approaches and styles to how a dealership can sell vehicles to the public. But every shopper is different. Their story, their trade-in, their desire…it produces a unique method for how they want to engage with your dealership, find their automobile, and finally drive it home.
Never discount how much the brick-and-mortar or digital shopping experience can bring a smile to a consumer’s face. Your dealership needs to offer multiple touchpoints. And each of these touchpoints needs to provide value. Always be giving and thinking outside the box. What would you want if you were purchasing a vehicle for yourself?
While many consumers will view buying a car as simply a transaction, you need to build further value into the process in order to create repeat business, drive brand awareness, and manage your reputation. Specifically for the importance of your ratings, encourage customers to engage with you on multiple levels through social media or search engines. Google is your friend and brings many options to enhance your brand’s presence online.
However, not seeing the full picture can hurt you. Much like if you do not take the time to properly assess a vehicle or walk a customer through the appraisal process, ignoring the building or nurturing aspect of the transaction will leave a bad taste in the shopper’s mouth.
Value is valuable. It’s up to you to break down your operations into a series of spots where you can give more to the customer. Only then will you be able to integrate new technologies that streamline consumer acquisition, maximize inventory management, and bolster your ability to sell more vehicles at a higher gross. Modern consumers are looking for benefits. And modern dealerships are poised to deliver value more than ever before.