Recently I shared an article titled “10 Steps to Digital Retailing Success” highlighting key strategies automotive dealerships should focus on if they wish to be successful with online retailing. One of the most important steps that need to have a high priority by leadership is branding the process, and then marketing it in the dealership itself.
There are two reasons this is necessary: Continuity and Conversation.
As a dealership’s marketing messages are shared throughout their target geographic area around the dealership, certain messages should be highlighting the new branded process, promising a new and faster way to buy or lease the customer’s next vehicle.
The dealership will likely use a combination of traditional means (TV, OTT, Radio, Direct Mail) and digital marketing (SEM, Display, Remarketing, YouTube, social media ads) to provide consistent messaging and imagery.
The messaging should inspire the consumer to visit the dealership’s website, where they should see a consistent branding message front and center when they arrive. If they do not see this continuity, it may cause some concern or create doubt that they are looking at the same dealership.
For example, the image above is one of the first images the consumer sees on the homepage of this dealership’s website. If the customer chooses to click on the image, they are taken to a specific landing page where the Express Lane process is explained both in written and video format.
The branding messaging and imagery should continue throughout the website, on various pages, to provide continuity with visual reminders for the customer. Banners highlighting the process should be visible on inventory search pages and individual vehicle detail pages. These banners should explain what steps of the process are available to the customer to perform if they choose to.
The images below represent variations of these informational banners and could be used on non-transactional pages such as “About Us” or “Hours and Directions.”
The final step in creating continuity is to merchandise the actual dealership. This step addresses the second point in this discussion: Conversation.
Any consumer who is currently in the market for a vehicle last purchased/leased their vehicle 3-5 years ago, which means the technology did not exist where consumers could do part of their purchase process online. This applies to customers who are servicing their vehicle as well. Being exposed to in-store merchandising helps create conversations regarding the process, so when these customers are ready for their next vehicle, they see the value.
In this example below, the dealership created a separate check-in for appointments made using their Fast Pass process. Utilizing pop up banners and signs, they were able to place these in highly trafficked areas of the dealership. These assets stimulated the desired conversations between customers and staff.
In this next example, the dealership created branded rugs placed in customer waiting areas, or service counters, as well as entrances to the dealership. They also created tags to hang from the mirrors in each vehicle, and decals were created for customers used to enter the dealership.
Other examples from dealerships in our 60 Day Digital Retailing Consulting Program include designated parking spots for customer appointments, decals on the windows of loaner cars, staff shirts with the program logo, or pins salespeople wear.
POINT OF SALE IDEAS
All of these ideas help to create the continuity of the marketing message and to create conversations with in-store customers. Without the anchor of merchandising the actual dealership, all the marketing exposure will not generate the success promised to consumers.
Email me directly to help connect your online marketing to your showroom floor and generate more sales!
-Glenn Pasch, CEO