What Will the 2014-2015 Winter Season Mean for Your Dealership?

Quick tips to make it through the colder months

For most retailers, Thanksgiving marks the start of strong sales through the holiday season. Beginning with Black Friday, slashed prices and promotional offers can be seen everywhere, and frenzied shoppers will do just about anything to get the best deals they can.

Unfortunately, that’s not necessarily the case for the automotive industry. After all, shopping season isn’t the only thing that Thanksgiving is ushering in. As the winter months set in, we’ll also see adverse weather conditions take hold of the country. Winter is traditionally a tough season for the auto sector. People just don’t want to go out in the snow and brave the elements to walk around shopping for a car.

If last winter’s sales are any indication, the colder months are bound to slow business down some. January 2014 marked the first month over month decline in automotive sales since 2010, after all. According to forecasts from The Weather Channel, this winter should be milder than last year (tell that to Buffalo), but we can still expect cooler than average temperatures throughout a lot of the country. The jury is still out as to whether the recent pummeling that Buffalo saw is officially record breaking, but the Northeast can expect a very snowy season.  What we do know for sure is it’s going to be cold, it’s going to snow, and people will still prefer sitting at home with hot cocoa to going out car shopping.

So, the outlook may be cold, but it doesn’t have to be bleak. Just because shoppers aren’t as willing to leave the warmth of their homes in the winter doesn’t mean that they won’t still be shopping online and doing research to inform a future purchase. You can make the most out of a slow season and make up some lost ground by focusing your efforts on optimizing your website for conversion.

Here are some tips for optimizing your site for high conversion rates through the holiday and winter season:

  1. Create engaging and eye catching content – people will spend their money where they had the best experience, that includes the experience they have online.
  2. Differentiate – in the consumer’s mind, automotive dealers are all the same. If you can set yourself apart from the pack in a positive way, you’ll get a positive response from shoppers
  3. Make information accessible – people don’t want to fight their way through a jumble of words, in fact they won’t. If your site doesn’t communicate the value of the vehicle in 10 seconds, you’ve already lost most of your traffic.
  4. Measure EVERYTHING – Count online lead submissions as well as calls and walk-ins that were triggered by a visit to a VDP.
  5. If you have an idea, test it! – how else will you know what will work and what won’t? Once you start measuring your site’s performance in meaningful ways you can test different plans of action to see what works and what doesn’t before rolling it out on a larger scale.

By: Devin Daly, CEO

 

 

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