Translating Uncertainty into Market Advantage
The savvy forward-looking dealer will be prepared for the possible supply disruption related to the Stand-Up Strike. Ford has tentatively reached an agreement with the UAW, but at this point, production of many of the major market share models across the big three are potentially impacted. Higher interest rates will also present headwinds, but that too could change.
Some dealers will see this as an opportunity to create advantage. Looking forward, after the Stand-Up-Strike is over and inventory levels are restored, the market will return to its path of higher sales volumes and increased competition for the in-market buyer. We will likely see a return to the mid- and higher-funnel blend of tactics and strategies required to capture and convert shoppers, not just a “low-funnel” in-market buyer focus.
So how can dealers best position their online presence and digital strategies given all of this uncertainty?
1) Double down on the content and strategies required to increase organic rankings and subsequent traffic for both new and pre-owned vehicles.
2) Increase the proportion of lower priced pre-owned vehicles in inventory to bring more traffic into the store.
3) Ensure parts and service related keywords and campaigns are included in organic and paid tactics. There will always be more vehicle owners in the market for parts and service than vehicle replacement, and higher interest rates prolong the replacement decision for owners and lessees with the ability to wait.
4) Groups should leverage their scale and brand by increasing traffic and improving conversion on their group sites.
5) Each rooftop should use this time to improve the customer experience on their websites, seeing if they can be faster and easier for shoppers to find what they are looking for and to convert.
6) Improve website design to stand out from the crowd by giving sites an entirely new and different look and feel.
7) Refocus on strategies not only to close those shoppers that convert, but the large segment of website visitors that do not convert. Dealers should be asking how they can engage more of these non-converting visitors. Even moving the needle a little in this area can have a huge impact on the numbers of vehicles delivered every month.
These strategies position the dealer well, regardless of how these market uncertainties play out. On- and off-brand rivals in their local market who are not as well positioned will not do as well as come to the end of 2023 and move into 2024.