Chances are even the best preparedness efforts by world-class companies didn't include a plan for this level of uncertainty we're all experiencing with COVID-19. It has, in many ways, been a level-setting moment that has put the auto industry on its heels.
The situation isn't pretty. But we will recover and this pandemic will end. So what can dealers do now to prepare?
Get your online house in order.
1. Create a valuable virtual sales experience that goes beyond being a bandage during COVID-19 closures. The main objective needs to evolve from simply getting a shopper in the store — the face-to-face exchange is no longer the brass ring. Revisit and refresh your processes — sales, F&I, service — and optimize them for online efficiency and accuracy.
2. The digital shopping experience isn't just for a tech-savvy audience anymore.
Everyone across multiple generations has adapted to doing everything online, so the target online audience is everyone on your radar. Revisit how well you are representing your target customer in your branding and messaging.
3. Consumers are getting accustomed to retailers' flexibility and they aren't going to want to let go of that. Just because the pandemic subsides, the demands for the continuation of these at-home delivery and online services will strengthen. Optimize your business to meet the evolving needs of your customers. Because if you don't ...
4. ... your competitor will. The expansion of goods and services is a fresh competitive edge and is going to be leveraged drastically. In fact, those offerings, or lack thereof, likely will make or break companies going forward.
5. Watch out for impostors. Other businesses lure online customers by mimicking branding, so it is critical your site pops up as the first destination in the search journey. Keep your SEO strategy fresh and sharp, your domain name consistent and straightforward and get creative with your offerings.