In February, car sales plummeted in China. The COVID-19 outbreak kept buyers indoors and dealerships closed, leading to a 92 percent sales plunge in early February.
Your sales strategy should shift from traditional to trailblazing
Manufacturers like Tesla have suffered temporary plant and store closures, resulting in a significant drop in stock. CEO Elon Musk is creating lemonade out of lemons, though. Tesla’s latest announcement will shift most of their sales online.
With a seven-day, money-back guarantee, Musk is counting on consumers’ willingness to purchase a car without a test drive. Only time will tell whether or not this is successful, but this is a bold move from Musk that is sure to shake up the auto industry.
As the coronavirus threatens to spread, US dealerships might have to rely on online car sales as well to keep business moving. To set the foundation now, dealers should focus on online relationship building via acquisition and customer lifecycle management.
Doing this puts less pressure on the dealership during unanticipated incidents like a global pandemic or severe climate change. According to a 2018 survey by BCG, 40 percent of consumers would buy a car online.
Today, shoppers find it natural to buy almost anything from their phones. This challenges traditional car sales, but gives OEMs and auto dealers a chance to do some experimentation.
Discover different ways to acquire customers
Instead of looking at companies like Tesla and Carvana as threats, the auto industry can instead find inspiration in the way they do business. Every dealer has the opportunity to modernize the shopping journey for their customers.
The entire showroom process can be expedited to create a positive and meaningful experience for your customers and reduce your costs.
Artificial intelligence tools can help you manage the day-to-day in your dealership, especially in times of uncertainty. AI-based tools offer several benefits including:
- Lowering costs
- Increasing ROI of marketing and sales efforts
- Improving the buying experience for your customers
- Insights on your customers to reach them when they’re ready to buy
Most importantly, though, AI tools can save you time and money. Software like FunnelAI can find you customers in real-time. That means, you can almost instantly find prospects who are in the market for the product or services you provide. With a few clicks, you can start connecting with people all over the US.
Build online relationships to tap into new markets
The threat of coronavirus is on everyone’s mind. More people are staying at home, events and large gatherings are being cancelled, and businesses that rely on foot traffic to stay afloat are struggling.
Dealerships and OEMs must focus on building meaningful relationships with their customers online during this time. You can still find buyers if you shift your sales strategy to focus more on customer acquisition via online prospecting.
People are talking about your brand and your products online. The trouble is that it would take a whole social media team to go find relevant posts on sites like Reddit, Twitter, Craigslist, Facebook, and online forums. You could hire an outside agency to sift through social media for you, but we think it’s important for leaders to rely on their teams to get things done, not external parties.
Customer retention is more important now than ever
As much as it’s important to acquire new customers, you save time and money by retaining your existing customers. According to one Harvard Business Review study, acquiring a new customer is anywhere from five to 25 times more expensive than retaining an existing one.
Customer retention brings companies a lot of ROI. The key is to delight your customers throughout their entire journey, no matter how long or short that is. That means engaging them even after their initial purchase.
With the current world climate, less and less people are avoiding unnecessary outings. During this time especially, Customer Lifecycle Management is crucial. It encourages paying attention to your customers needs, even outside of the traditional nine to five.
It’s great when you make that first sale to a customer, but to keep them engaged, you must personalize your marketing and sales messaging.
What does that look like?
- Creating hyper-targeted campaigns that reach consumers who are most likely to buy
- Sending out email messages based on your customers’ interests
- Reaching out to your customers on birthdays, anniversaries, and other special occasions, like graduations
If you take steps now to build customer loyalty, your business can stay safe during uncertainty. Using digital retailing in a strategic way can help you form long-lasting relationships with loyal customers.
Using tools like FunnelAI can help you find and engage customers from online sources, build trust, and give you intelligent insights. Our real-time capabilities ensure you never miss an opportunity to connect with a prospect online. The more you put into your digital retailing strategy right now, the easier it will be for you to navigate things when times get rough.
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