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Marketing Incentives During COVID-19

Jul 18, 2020
2
0
First Name
Kaylin
Hi There,

I'm currently a student at UCLA and I'm doing a service design project on the automobile industry. We are looking at ways we can improve the customer experience/service experience during COVID-19 and I'm specifically interested in the marketing side of the industry.

- There has been some research done since the pandemic showing that promoting incentive based ads has led to an increase in ad engagement of about 25%, but research has also shown that marketing strategies need to be especially empathetic towards their users that are already feeling anxious and fearful. How have your marketing strategies shifted during COVID-19?

- How have your traffic numbers been since COVID-19? Which channels have you seen the biggest changes in? What softwares/programs do you utilize?

- What percentage of those leads have turned into sales? What does a normal quarter look like for your dealership vs COVID-19?

Any insight would be greatly appreciated! Even any feelings or frustrations you may be having currently would be helpful for my research project.

Thank you,

Kaylin H
 
Increase Test Drive Appointments!

Alex Snyder

President Skroob
May 1, 2006
2,952
1,639
First Name
Alex
:hello: Kaylin,

I'm always excited to see education interested in the retail side of the car business and further excited to see it asking here!!!

Saturdays are the busiest days of the month in the dealership and by the time 5:30 PM rolls around dealers are busy or spent. Let's see if we can get some focus on your questions now that Monday is here.

Also, please note dealers have fewer staff and are either selling the same amount of cars as they were this time last year or are experiencing an increase. Trying to get a few to comment might be tough right now. They're also behind on their usual reporting.

With those caveats... :bump: for education.
 
Jul 18, 2020
2
0
First Name
Kaylin
:hello: Kaylin,

I'm always excited to see education interested in the retail side of the car business and further excited to see it asking here!!!

Saturdays are the busiest days of the month in the dealership and by the time 5:30 PM rolls around dealers are busy or spent. Let's see if we can get some focus on your questions now that Monday is here.

Also, please note dealers have fewer staff and are either selling the same amount of cars as they were this time last year or are experiencing an increase. Trying to get a few to comment might be tough right now. They're also behind on their usual reporting.

With those caveats... :bump: for education.
Hi Alex!

Thank you so much for your reply! That’s interesting that there’s been an increase in sales; this has conflicted what I’ve researched. Would you say this is mostly in metropolitan cities?

Thank you for getting this thread started!:dance2:
Kaylin
 
Apr 13, 2012
129
89
First Name
George
Hey Kaylin, the dealers we work with saw traffic patterns decline around March 11, and then began to climb back in late April. Leads from the website also began to grow in late April. Conversion rates from the websites (that math is website leads divided by website sessions) are now double normal rates for most dealers. In addition, the type of conversions that are happening on website are increasingly chat, trade-in valuation tools, or other online retailing solutions. The website channels responsible for this growth are primarily organic search, and referral traffic from 3rd party sites like Cars.com or Autotrader, as well as from the OEM (Ford.com, RamTrucks.com, etc). Organic search traffic is leading the way in growth of traffic and leads, with most dealers we measure seeing an all-time website highs in June and/or July. Paid search has been far less efficient vs. paid Facebook, especially around new/used make/model related campaigns. Paid search campaigns for new make/model should be closely watched or paused especially for models in short supply. Paid FB campaigns became much cheaper in April as supply increased (more people on platform vs working) and decreased demand from hibernated businesses. Our best dealers are now driving more traffic and conversions from paid FB campaigns than any source. Retargeting especially important as time lag has increased, which is the number of days from first website visit to final lead conversion. Third-party sites like Cars.com and Autotrader were a huge bargain in April through July due to their deep discounting of 30-50% but now dealers will need to reset their tolerance for cost per lead, cost per vehicle view, etc. I hope this helps, good luck!
 

Alex Snyder

President Skroob
May 1, 2006
2,952
1,639
First Name
Alex
Thank you so much for your reply! That’s interesting that there’s been an increase in sales; this has conflicted what I’ve researched. Would you say this is mostly in metropolitan cities?
Pent-up demand poured into the market in late April and hit hard in June. Many dealers had the best sales month of the last two decades in terms of profit. Some had incredible volume months.

I can understand why you'd see something different because profits are not public data.
 

TaylorBerndt

Green Pea
Jul 28, 2020
4
2
First Name
Taylor
Hi Kaylin, Working in a rural-ish community here in Wisconsin we have seen our best profit and sales month between March-June. Vehicle sales have increased just shy of 25% over those three months. Service has stayed busy, however, our open repair order list is the longest I have ever seen due to lack of parts availability. Parts have seen a bit of a downturn due to a lack of availability but will still make their numbers for the year.


- How have your traffic numbers been since COVID-19? Which channels have you seen the biggest changes in? What softwares/programs do you utilize?
  • Instore traffic during March was down. Our service pick-up and delivery option became wildly popular and we had our sales consultants running cars and greeting their customers.
  • Facebook has become our best lead source since COVID. General Motors gives us a list of in-market customers that I can target with vehicles that interest them. They have the best ROI however we only see a few actual sales from this list. Otherwise targeted ads work great!
  • Shop-click-drive is GM's Online vehicle sales platform. We have had this program for over 5 years and they are the best leads we can get however we only sold 8 during 2019. March-June we sold 12.
  • New car inventory has completely been depleted. I only have 8 cars available on my lot currently whereas last year's snapshot I had 82 on the lot. This means less fresh nice trades and fewer sales from those forcing us to use the auction more.
- What percentage of those leads have turned into sales? What does a normal quarter look like for your dealership vs COVID-19?
  • It kills me that I don't have this exact number right now. During COVID our staff of around 50 was cut in half as we sent home our at-risk drivers (50 +) and many of our staff has young kids and asked to leave or created modified schedules meaning 6 core employee does the work of around 15. My CRM definitely needs to get cleaned up to get better numbers. I concentrated on marketing instead of checking the analytics. With almost a full staff back. I should have those numbers by the end of the week.
  • One other thing I should note is my store Does not have a BDC (Business Development Center/Call Center) that takes care of my leads. I have two salespeople that still sell on the floor however they are the ones that are the best of selling online. They have the leads come into there phone or online and between the three of us we look over them 24/7. Facebook leads were around 20% however since COVID we have received more leads however our customers are saying we saw it on Facebook then went to the website to learn more and either call in or message in. The number has remained the same.
If you have any other questions let me know!
 
  • 1
Reactions: georgenenni
Apr 13, 2012
129
89
First Name
George
Hi Kaylin, Working in a rural-ish community here in Wisconsin we have seen our best profit and sales month between March-June. Vehicle sales have increased just shy of 25% over those three months. Service has stayed busy, however, our open repair order list is the longest I have ever seen due to lack of parts availability. Parts have seen a bit of a downturn due to a lack of availability but will still make their numbers for the year.


- How have your traffic numbers been since COVID-19? Which channels have you seen the biggest changes in? What softwares/programs do you utilize?
  • Instore traffic during March was down. Our service pick-up and delivery option became wildly popular and we had our sales consultants running cars and greeting their customers.
  • Facebook has become our best lead source since COVID. General Motors gives us a list of in-market customers that I can target with vehicles that interest them. They have the best ROI however we only see a few actual sales from this list. Otherwise targeted ads work great!
  • Shop-click-drive is GM's Online vehicle sales platform. We have had this program for over 5 years and they are the best leads we can get however we only sold 8 during 2019. March-June we sold 12.
  • New car inventory has completely been depleted. I only have 8 cars available on my lot currently whereas last year's snapshot I had 82 on the lot. This means less fresh nice trades and fewer sales from those forcing us to use the auction more.
- What percentage of those leads have turned into sales? What does a normal quarter look like for your dealership vs COVID-19?
  • It kills me that I don't have this exact number right now. During COVID our staff of around 50 was cut in half as we sent home our at-risk drivers (50 +) and many of our staff has young kids and asked to leave or created modified schedules meaning 6 core employee does the work of around 15. My CRM definitely needs to get cleaned up to get better numbers. I concentrated on marketing instead of checking the analytics. With almost a full staff back. I should have those numbers by the end of the week.
  • One other thing I should note is my store Does not have a BDC (Business Development Center/Call Center) that takes care of my leads. I have two salespeople that still sell on the floor however they are the ones that are the best of selling online. They have the leads come into there phone or online and between the three of us we look over them 24/7. Facebook leads were around 20% however since COVID we have received more leads however our customers are saying we saw it on Facebook then went to the website to learn more and either call in or message in. The number has remained the same.
If you have any other questions let me know!
Great summary Taylor! Can you tell me more about the in-market audience GM
provides you? How can other GM dealers do the same? Thank you!
 

TaylorBerndt

Green Pea
Jul 28, 2020
4
2
First Name
Taylor
Great summary Taylor! Can you tell me more about the in-market audience GM
provides you? How can other GM dealers do the same? Thank you!
The Inmarket list is under the CSSR Section in Global Connect. It will be the same audience that GM mailers are based on. It takes a little bit to filter through all of the different parameters that GM gives you however proves to be a great list that can be uploaded to Facebook and helps you target those customers!