Take a peek under the hood of the automotive environment in late 2019 and you will find some distinctive challenges that dealerships have never faced before. Yet, those same challenges bring opportunities for change and innovative solutions. Below are a few challenges dealerships need to prepare for in the coming days.
- Fewer New Vehicle Sales
NADA tells us that we saw a 2.7% decline in new car sales from 2017 to 2018. While not large, it speaks of a downward trend in purchasing new cars in light of ride sharing services that make it possible for people to skip buying a car altogether.
Dealerships will need to pay attention to better segmentation to solve the trend in their area. They might have to start thinking outside the box and offer innovative services to meet the changing customer needs. For example, Cadillac has revisited the traditional leasing model and turned it upside down. With Book by Cadillac, a consumer pays a monthly fee to keep a Cadillac, but is free to swap out the car for another at any time. So, an individual might drive a sensible sedan during the week but switch over to a rough-and-ready SUV to hit the country roads on the weekend.
In today’s world, consumers can track their purchases as they travel to their doorstep and know exactly when they can expect the delivery. Same thing goes for their pizzas and electronics and home furnishings and… just about everything. The problem with buying a car is that the experience does not match all of the other modern buying experiences a consumer now has. Dealerships must start offering their customers a convenient-driven buying experience.
Take BMW, for example. They let customers immerse themselves into their brand and what it feels like to be part of a BMW family. It’s proving to be a much more effective way of selling rather than just pushing car sales. Other dealerships have created coffeeshop environments where customers can relax, watch tv, occupy their children with available electronic games, and enjoy a cup of coffee and pastry.
There are billboard ads that cleverly carry slogans like, “Boy I can hardly wait to put in my contacts this morning! Said no one ever.” That same slogan can apply to walking into a dealership with the need to buy a new car. Roadster recently did a survey with millennials and they named “car dealers” as one of the top three professionals they want to avoid at all costs. The other two are “tax collector” and “politician.” Despite its current condition, car buying can be fast and friendly. Buying a car is a big deal to consumers and it is an emotional decision. Dealerships must figure out how to make that experience fun. Dealers need to take a cue from CarMax, where customers are flocking to their no-haggle experience.
The rest of 2019 and the beginning of 2020 will not be without challenges. If you are willing to embrace those challenges and turn them into opportunities, you will be prepared for whatever comes your way.
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