New Car is Back! Is Your Dealership Ready?


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  • Also joining me today is Lauren Beaubien, a member of our Dealer Solutions team, who will be joining me for the Q&A after my prepared remarks.
  • Talk-track point only: “We see 1 in 3 new-car shoppers on our site”
  • Let’s think about what was happening in 2007.E-mail was how you reached your customers, both incoming and outgoing communications.The iPhone wasn’t even introduced until mid-2007 – and more iPhones were sold in the months of October, November and December of last year than in the first two and a half years of its existence!
  • July 2007 – iPhone launched (Mobile)September 2008 – Android OS launched with the G1March 2009 – Nielsen reports that social networks had become more popular than email (Social) February 2010 – Foursquare launches (Local) April 2010 – iPad launched (Mobile)July 2010 – Facebook membership climbs to 500 million (Social) July 2011 – 20 millionth review posted to Yelp (Local)
  • SOCIAL: power of the internet to improve the shopping experience because consumers hear from each other – not just about social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter, although those are important, but also consumer reviews sites like Yelp and shopping sites like Amazon or that makes reviews a central component of the process.LOCAL: Your businesses have always been local – the good news is the power of the internet and the transparency it’s provided means price is fairly consistent across the board, putting the focus back on customer service and your brand’s ability to deliver. MOBILE: (talking points tbd – easy)
  • Facebook stat - stat – brightlocal (see reviews infographic) Mobile stat –
  • So what does all that mean in terms of car shopping? So-Lo-MoMore engagedOver-index on reviews (they read more reviews – use stat about reviews?)Over-index on MobilePrice matters – but it’s not a race to the bottom. Your dealership brand matters, and meeting their needs matters.Can we use used-car shopper data here to compare?
  • Need different data speaking to cross-shopping
  • Can we cut this graph down and combine some categories?
  • When price is not a factor, reliability and body style are most important features when considering which vehicle to buy.
  • Tips for Online Vehicle Merchandising:Clarify multiple price points, such as MSRP and OEM or dealer incentivesProvide detail about options that impact price, such as GPS navigation or interior upgradesPlay up hot models, colors or packages with video, extra photos and detailed seller’s notes.When you can differentiate your inventory, take advantage of the opportunity.  Merchandise new vehicles by focusing on the things new car shoppers are interested in and what may set a vehicle apart.  Be crystal clear about price by sharing multiple price points, showing savings off of MSRP offered by OEM or dealer incentives, and provide detail in the seller’s notes about any options that impact price.  Put extra effort into vehicles that may be difficult to find by playing up hot packages, colors and options with extra photos and detailed vehicle descriptions.
  • I will need to have nielse n cut this data for new shoppers specificallyViewing photos & specs, finding dealerships and comparing prices among top activitiesReviews: Read Consumer Vehicle ReviewsRead Expert Vehicle ReviewsRead Consumer Dealership ReviewsContact (To/from Dealer/Manufacturer):Contact Dealer via EmailContact Dealer via phone/click-to-callContact Dealer via Text MessageContact Dealer via Mobile ChatFinancing:Evaluate how much a car is worth/trade-in value (e.g. KBB value)Calculate monthly payments/determine how much I can afford to spendGet financing/car loan informationResearch:View photos of vehicles I am consideringView Videos of vehicles I am consideringFind a vehicle’s specifications/optionsCompare Compare different makes/models of vehiclesPricing Look-up or compare prices of vehiclesLook-up or locate vehicles:Find dealership information (location, direction, hours)ListingsSearch for/look at listings of new or used vehiclesIncentivesReceive instant offers from dealerships/manufacturers while on the App/Website
  • Here’s how’s wired site, on the left, looks compared to our mobile site. Both look pretty, of course, but the one on the right has been optimized for the mobile consumer.Wired site: difficult to read on a small screen, “click” areas are too small for fingers, etc.Mobile site: very easy to read on a small screen, “click” areas big enough to tap on, menu options correspond with how we’ve learned mobile consumers want to shop for a carGoMo: GoMo was launched by Google in November to help businesses optimize their website for mobile.  Take a look at how your site looks currently on a mobile device using the GoMoMeter, get recommendations for improving it and check out great examples from other businesses.Service application:Some dealers offer an app giving customers the ability to schedule an appointment, then drop the car off at the designated time, avoiding a wait in the service lanes.When the shop wants to share the repair-order estimate with the customer, the app pushes a notification to the customer’s home screen. If OK with the quote, the customer pings back approval.Customers can often pay their bill through the app as well – all they have to do is pick up their keys.Apps can also notify a customer of recalls and expiring factory warranties, offer service and sales specials and display full vehicle inventories.
  • Confirm with TextSend a picture of the vehicle with “We both look forward to seeing you soon.”
  • Set (realistic) goals and develop a strategy to attain them.  Automotive retail is among most ROI-focused industries out there, so it’s important to understand this point from the start – social media will help you sell and service more cars, but it’s unlikely you will be able to quantify its true impact upon your bottom line immediately.  Set your goals accordingly.  Social media can promote better brand awareness, foster customer loyalty and generate word-of-mouth advertising, among other perks.  Determine what you want to accomplish, and then put a plan in place that assigns accountability within your staff, sets guidelines for developing content and establishes how the success of your social media program will be measured. Set guidelines. Put into place policies and best practices for your staff – check out the work of Charlene Li, a social media expert with experience helping corporate leaders foster an enterprise that supports social media. “controlled openness” – creating the structure, policies and procedures to create an environment that supports social media while maintain brand integrity and other considerations.Have a plan to build your audience.  Creating a Facebook page or Twitter feed won’t do your dealership much good without an audience of fans and followers.  Include links to your social media pages in your e-mail campaigns, and invite visitors to your web site to “like” or “follow” you.  Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and most other social media platforms provide widgets that can be placed on your web site to make this process easy.  Also consider running a promotion to build your audience, such as offering a free oil change or entering new followers for a chance to win a prize (be sure to check your state’s legal requirements for such promotions beforehand).   Content is King!  Chances are you’re already using social media on a personal level – take what engages you as a user into account as you develop content for your dealership.  Communicating with your customers through social media should be more than marketing copy.  Engage them with news, promotions, maintenance tips, new product information and news about what you’re doing for your community, and make them feel valued by posting service coupons and other “perks” just for Facebook friends or Twitter followers. Tip: Don’t recreate the wheel. Repurpose information published on the social media pages of your OEMs, automotive enthusiast publications like’sKicking Tires and other consumer content providers.Participate in your own conversation!  Social media isn’t just another way to push information out to your customers – they expect the experience to be interactive.  Respond to wall posts, comments and tweets to drive the conversation and open it up to others.  If you see a customer post something positive about you on their own page, thank them!  And on the off chance they have something negative to say, reach out to them privately to make it right – they’re likely to share the story’s happy ending as well, putting you in a good light.
  • New Car shoppers who view dealer review pages consume over 2.5X more page views per visitSpend 2.5x more time on siteConsumers are 5x more likely to contact a dealer with reviews (can we cut this by New Car?)XX% of new-car shoppers found their dealer online – higher than “previous purchase” and “recommendation from a friend or family member”On…New-car shoppers are 2.5x more likely to select “Group By Dealer” in inventory search resultsThose who grouped by dealer were 3x more likely to contact a dealerNew-car shoppers are nearly 2x more likely than used-car shoppers to filter by Dealer Reviews.
  • Consistently? (is the way you’re showing up consistent with your promise? i.e. e-mail addresses that go nowhere, incorrect info on business directory pages, etc.)Sound familiar? These are some of the most widely recognized brand promises. What do your customers want?What are you saying that makes them believe you can deliver on it? do you meet their needs better than your competitors? (saying that you do isn’t good enough)handising, make your website easy to navigate. optimized presence for mobile)Opportunity for audience participation: what do you tell customers they can expect from you?
  • Consistently? (is the way you’re showing up consistent with your promise? i.e. e-mail addresses that go nowhere, incorrect info on business directory pages, etc.)In a way that communicates value?? (is your brand value showing through in everything you do online? Complete and accurate vehicle merchandising, make your website easy to navigate. optimized presence for mobile)
  • Q. Does your staff deliver a consumer experience that is consistent with your brand once a consumer has connected with you? This is crazy – look at how much you have going on! Look at all of your customer touchpoints – how are you making sure you’re telling your value story in all of these places?
  • Tip: Do a search for your business on, which scores how well your business shows up in common search engines, business directories and review sites.
  • Speak to differentiation Speak to rating AND volume Volume matters – even if you rank a little lower, research has shown that a) consumers are influenced by higher volumes and b) negative reviews actually help you come across as credible – “everybody’s human!”
  • Four step-process to five-star reviews
  • Give customers specific reasons to believe you deserve their time.Tell them why they should care. You’ve been in business for 85 years? Awesome! What are you going to do for me today?What makes your store and your customer service different?Convenience shuttle?Extended hours?In-store amenities for professionals and families? Connect with customers their way.Apply best practices for customer service, online reputation management and relationship-building across departments.Mobile: be open to text and apps, and optimizeyour online presence for mobile and utilize text, location-based services, third-party apps and other features to deliver a better shopping experience.Don’t assume car shoppers have access to a computer!Hire, train and motivate for success with today’s shopper. Are your staff’s phone, e-mail and chat conversations all about getting a customer’s name, rank and serial number and setting the appointment, or is your staff delivering something of value first to earn that privilege? Don’t underestimate the potential of your service department to drive value for your brand.
  • Again – you have a lot going on! Are you measuring all of it?
  • What are you trying to accomplish? Your metrics should help you get there.Reviews metrics – use them to drive more volume, assess customer service performance, etc.Advertising performance – change messaging/creative, landing page or alter your marketing mixSocial media – track likes, engagement and shares to lock in what gets customers talkingLead process performance – how are individuals contributing to the larger whole? Room for improvement?E-mail, SRP/VDP shouldn’t be the only metrics
  • Get management buy-inPerformance improvement starts at the top -- make sure your store’s leadership is as committed to your goals as you are.Get the most visibility for your key performance metrics as possiblePost charts in common areasGo over the numbers at every meetingSet incentives in areas affected by individuals (example: review volume, review rating, chat, phone, lead process)Long-term: compensation based on individual performance metrics Short-term: contests and spiffsSet goals and celebrate successesSet realistic goals as a team – collaboration drives more accountabilityRecognize and celebrate both incremental milestones and end goals
  • Do an audit.What’s your brand value? Are you communicating that value consistently? Take a comprehensive look at all of your customer touch points and take stock of whether or not you’re communicating your value everywhere.What about your lead response process? Don’t be McDonald’s!Begin thinking about strategy and processThinking bigHow can you better reach consumers the way they want to shop?SoLoMoStarting smallAt your next meeting, remind your staff why it’s so important to deliver a great customer experience – show them the Big Mac picture! Claim your listings online, including social media profiles and search engine listingsBegin asking customers if they would be interested in receiving text messages from you, and add that as one of your contact methods.Decide which review sites you want to focus on, and begin asking the customers you know had a great experience to write a review for your dealership by asking at the point of sale and including links to your review sites in follow-up e-mail communicationsMeasure your performance and do something with those metricsSet goals as a teamChoose metrics that have an impact on your success in reaching those goals – don’t track numbers that don’t mean anythingKnow where your data lives and set up a spreadsheet or other way to collect and consolidate it so you can make sense of it.Incentivize for success – stips are great, but also consider tying compensation plans to a more holistic set of performance metrics that incorporate reviews and mobile.“let’s not forget the Lifetime Value of our New Car customers. These customers revisit us the most for Sales, Trades, Service, Parts and Collision Center for many years beyond their first visit. Your efforts to improve will pay you back over and over again as these folks can quickly become your most loyal customers ad best  unpaid brand advocates”
  • New Car is Back! Is Your Dealership Ready?

    1. 1. Is your dealership set up for success with today’s new-car shopper?
    2. 2. Laurie Foster • Dealer Training Manager, • Over 15 years of automotive industry experienceConnect with Me: Laurie Foster on LinkedIn
    3. 3. Understanding Meeting New- Building and Measuring Today’s Car Shopper Differentiating to Drive Landscape Needs Your Brand Performance
    4. 4. “Auto Sales to Hit 13.9 Million This Year” The Wall Street Journal “Visits to New-Car Content February 4, 2012 Up 34% Year-Over-Year”“4 reasons why F&I will fly in 2012” March 2012 Automotive News February 29, 2012 “Auto Sales expected to continue: The trend is Pick Up Pace Despite Rising Gas Prices” 16.3 million units inTimes The New York 2016 March 1, 2012 Source: Internal Reporting; Polk Global Automotive Forecast, 2012
    5. 5. Total U.S. New Vehicle Unit Sales (in millions)18 In 2007…16141210 8 6 4 2 0 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 Year (proj.) (proj) • E-mail was king • Social media was for kids • Reviews were for restaurants • “Mobile” was for phone calls 5 Sources: Bureau Of Transportation Statistics; Polk, Automotive News, J.D. Power & Associates
    6. 6. Total U.S. New Vehicle Unit Sales (in millions)181614121086420 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 (proj.) 2013 (proj) 6
    7. 7. Today…Nearly half of readConsumersmobile online 83% of want car as many as 10own a shoppers reviewsadults follow a retailer via before choosing a localsmartphone, and 28% own Facebook, Twitter business or a blog a tablet. Sources: Social Commerce Study, BrightLocal Annual Consumer Review Study, Mobile Web & App Usage for Automotive Shoppers, Nielsen 8
    8. 8. Understanding Meeting New- Building and Measuring Today’s Car Shopper Differentiating to Drive Landscape Needs Your Brand Performance
    9. 9. The information they want…Delivered the way they want it… From a dealer they can trust to deliver a great experience 10
    10. 10. shoppers researching new vehicles view more pagesand spend more time on site than used-car shoppers by 40%.Comparison ToolsVisitors to who access new-vehicle contentcross-shop an average of four makes, and are twice as likely to filterresults by Dealer Reviews.Info About the Dealer, Not Just the users searching for new vehicles are 2.5 times more likely togroup inventory search results by dealer vs. used-car shoppers...thenare 3 times as likely to connect with a dealer! 11 Source: Internal Reporting
    11. 11. 68% of consumers considering purchasing a newvehicle are mostly orexclusively shopping brand-new 12 Source: Online New Car Shopper Study, 2010
    12. 12. Photos / Price / Safety / Comparisons / Reviews Source: Online New Car Shopper Study, 2010
    13. 13. Top 5 Features in the New-Vehicle Consideration When Price is Not a FactorRank Feature1 Reliability of Vehicle2 Body Style3 Vehicle Safety4 Brand/Make5 Fuel Efficiency 14 Source: Online New Car Shopper Study, 2010
    14. 14. Tips for Online VehicleMerchandising:▸ Clarify multiple price points▸ Provide detail about options▸ Play up hot models, colors or packages using video, extra photos and extra detail in seller’s notes.
    15. 15. Nearly Nearly 40% of’s total new-vehicle searches40% comes from mobile devices. 20% of online new-car shoppers don’t plan to send a lead through a vehicle website; about 2 in 3 of them1 in 5 cited concerns over receiving a phone call or e-mail from a dealership. 28% of car shoppers who used Facebook during the Nearly automotive purchase process added a dealer to their1 in 3 consideration list based on information received via a social media source. Source: Internal Reporting;, 2010 16 THE RISE OF LOYALTY, ADVOCACY & INFLUENCE, 2011
    16. 16. Auto shopping activities performed by new-car shoppers on mobile devices Research Locate Dealers Research / Price / Reviews / Compare / Contact Info 17 Mobile Web and App Usage for Automotive Shoppers (Source: Nielsen)
    17. 17.  Provide the info mobile users want Make sure it can be seen on all devices Tip: Don’t forget service! Wired Site Mobile Site
    18. 18. 5 Tips for Social Media Greatness1. Set (realistic!) goals and develop a strategy to attain them.2. Set guidelines for your staff.  Check out www.charleneli.com3. Have a plan to build your audience.4. Content is king!  Tip: Don’t recreate the wheel.5. Participate in your own conversation. 20
    19. 19. Understanding Meeting New- Building and Measuring Today’s Car Shopper Differentiating to Drive Landscape Needs Your Brand Performance
    20. 20. Building Visibility A dealership having an online presence is as important as the dealership’s proximity to an online new-car shopper when deciding where to buy.Building users searching for anew vehicle are 7x more likelyto contact a dealer withreviews. Source: Online New Car Shopper Study, 2010; Internal Reporting
    21. 21. Brand (n. ˈbrand The set of ):expectations, memories, storiesand relationships that, takentogether, account for aconsumer’s decision to chooseone product or service overanother. – Seth Godin, entrepreneur and marketing guru
    22. 22. Source:
    23. 23. 18.2: number of sources used by the typical automotive shopper Source: Google/Shopper Sciences, Zero Moment of Truth Industry Studies, U.S., April 2011
    24. 24. Other Places toClaim Your Listing:• Facebook Places• Foursquare• Google+•• Angie’s List
    25. 25. 91% of new-car shoppers say they want to read service reviews prior to selecting a dealership. > Source: DriverSide/Kelton Research Study, April 2011
    26. 26. Gather feedback Share feedbackMonitor from all sources, Web and with your entire dealership beyond Correct anyRespond Reply to ALL feedback potential issues at the store Every team member Ask to deliver a great customer Every customer for their feedback experience Share all reviews Reward your teamPromote with prospects and past customers for their progress and success
    27. 27. Differentiate your store online and off:1. Give customers specific reasons to believe you deserve their time.2. Connect with consumers their way.3. Hire, train and motivate for success with today’s shopper. ▸ Bottom line: people don’t like to be sold to, they like to BUY.
    28. 28. Understanding Meeting New- Building and Measuring Today’s Car Shopper Differentiating to Drive Landscape Needs Your Brand Performance
    29. 29. 1998 2000 2008 2009 2011
    30. 30. Beyond sales, what are you Metricstrying to accomplish?▸ Drive more ROI?▸ Increase contacts? Strategy▸ Grow walk-in traffic?▸ Heighten staff performance? Goal▸ Improve service efficiency?▸ Increase customer satisfaction? Align your metrics with your store’s objectives and your strategies for reaching them
    31. 31. Get Buy-In Raise Visibility Change starts Knowing is half at the top the battle Motivate Celebrate Incentivize for Set goals and celebrateindividual improvement milestones
    32. 32. • Do an audit. • Marketing channels • Lead process & training• Begin adapting your strategy and processes. • Think big, but start small• Define your metrics. • Set goals collaboratively • Choose to collect metrics that matter • Incentivize for success
    33. 33. Thank You!