Every year we run events, but they can always be better, run a bit more smoothly and bring in more money. Incorporating the technology everyone is using into your events will draw more people to your events and keep the buzz going long after you take down the last balloon.
Archives for August 2015
A few weekends ago I found myself in an empty house. Kids were gone with grandma and grandpa, husband on a guys-only weekend and, let me tell you, it was nothing short of incredible.
At some point I thought I would put together a bookshelf despite my strong dislike for directions. After trying to figure out the directions, the tools and various whatevers – the bookshelf found its way to being returned.
Too many directions.
Much like my bookshelf, but way more expensive automotive makers are feeling the hurt with the technology built into vehicles today. J.D. Power’s first 2015 Driver Interactive Vehicle Experience Report is telling us that the average vehicle has 33 features, however only about 20 percent of those are being utilized. Ouch.
According to the report, owners who don’t begin using the technology within 30 days are not likely to use it at all. Of those surveyed, many reported the technology within their vehicles was something they wouldn’t use, didn’t want or simply came in a package. Makes sense – but, this begs the question: If the consumer knew how to use it, wouldn’t they? Lack of education around using technology in vehicles is no reason to shy away from having it.
I know I would need a week to learn how to use our long-time DealerRefresher Kelly Wilson’s car. That thing told us the weather.
At your dealership you can decide to have dedicated technology specialists or train your sales staff to do it. Either way, you win. When customers are more interested in leaving the dealership than learning about Park Assist think of creative ways to get them back in to learn more. Do you offer a first free oil change? You can teach them more about it while they wait. Can you email them short how-to videos? Post the videos on your website?
Despite the report’s numbers revealing low adoption, I think technology in vehicles will get better and only grow from here. It’s education and process that is a little bumpy. Like, my relationship with directions.
I ended my long weekend alone by ordering a fully assembled shelf from Amazon and that was nothing short of incredible either.
Considering a new website for your dealership?
Before taking the plunge, you may want to consider downloading the latest PCG Research report on the current state of automotive dealership websites here in the States.
Be prepared, the report is 30 pages deep. Thirty pages of valuable information that will help steer you down a more educated path of decision making while comparing some of the top selling website platforms that are offered to dealers.
The report that Brian and the PCG Research team have put together this year outlines a new set of standards, a constructive checklist for dealers to utilize.
Here is one of the summary tables included in the report which compares key features between some of the largest website providers:
Dealers who are researching the latest features and innovations in website platforms will be well served by reading this report. Based on PCG research and knowledge of the website marketplace, here are several conclusions highlighted in the report: [Read more…]
Jeff Kershner Founder
- First Name:
Of course there’s some degree of science behind an effective used car pricing strategy. BUT could there be one overlooked element that when used, could have an impact on opportunities and sales?
According to our friends at CarStory/Vast, that overlooked element is the number “99”. Vast looked at over 3.5 million vehicle listings and found that most dealers don’t end their prices with a “9.” In fact, only 7% of them ended in “99,” while 18% ended in “95” and 14% ended in “00.”
So what effect does ending a price in 9 have on consumer interest and conversion? Apparently quite a bit.
- Prices that end in “99” vs. “00” showed a 16% lift in SRP-to-VDP conversion.
- Prices that end in “999” performed 9% better than those ending in “000.”
Do me a favor, jump over on the blog and give this article a quick run through for even more statistics (It’s a short, to the point article, might take ya 1 minute to read. There’s even a link to download their latest white-paper in it’s entirety.)
What science are you using when pricing your used cars, other than utilizing current market conditions or a pricing tool?
What number(s) are you ending your pricing with?
Comment over in the dealer forums (over 20 comments so far)
Ninety Nine – “99”. It’s true – consumers really are drawn to prices that end in “99.”
We recently conducted some research that analyzed just how much more used car shoppers gravitated to used car listings ending in “99” and the results were conclusive: there was a significant lift in clicks from vehicle search results to the all-important and high-converting Vehicle Detail Pages when a vehicle’s price ended in “99” compared to those that didn’t.
So how do dealers typically price their used vehicles? We looked at over 3.5 million listings and found that most don’t end their prices in “9.” In fact, only 7% of them ended in “99,” while 18% ended in “95” and 14% ended in “00.”
The Oldest Trick in the Book
To figure out how dealers could price vehicles to improve consumer interest, we started with an obvious question: what effect does ending a price in 9 have on consumer interest and conversion?
In 2014, auto dealers on average produced used vehicle department net profit of about $120,000. That number includes F&I. The average dealer sold 621 used vehicles retail (with another 435 sold wholesale).
In 2014, the average auto dealer made $193 net profit per used vehicle retailed.
That number is down from $254 in 2013 and about the same as in 2012.
Anyone can access NADA Data and see these simple facts. If I added all the man hours it took to produce that kind of net profit and compared that to any other industry I would bet that auto dealers return on hourly investment is one of the lowest per hour rates of any industry.
However, consumers perceive auto dealers much differently. Dealers made 2.2% net profit in 2014, a number which has been constant for each of the last 5 years. In comparison, Apple’s net profit margin is 10x that. Even Wal-mart has 54% higher net margins than the average auto dealer. Hmmm.
So, I ran a simple Google Consumer Insight Survey to find the actual perceptions of consumers. The results even surprised me. I laid out 5 options randomly for consumers to select and asked them how much net profit they thought dealers made per used car they sell.
Check out the actual Google Consumer Insight chart below…
90% of respondents thought dealers made over $254. 76% of respondents thought dealers made over $1,000. And incredibly, over 50% of respondents thought dealers made over $2,000.
In our industry I’ve heard the increased use of the word transparency. I think transparency and education are fundamental elements of trust and when considering a car may be one of the largest purchases of anyone’s life, how do we instill trust now and in the future.
So what do you think?
How can dealers educate customers to the realities of their business? Is it wrong to disclose how the automotive market works? And if transparency is advantageous, how can auto dealers use transparent processes in the future? Comment over on the forums.
Nick Spolec Noob
- First Name:
- Schimmer Auto Group
SEO 101 question here:
How important are all the various online directories (yellowpages, smartpages, insiderpages, ect, ect, ect) to your dealership (in terms of Google/Bing), and have you used a vendor or internal resource to get all the correct information out to those directories?
As dealers, it seems we often find ourselves so busy evaluating the performance of our third-party lead providers that we neglect to really examine how we handle those leads once they’ve entered our CRM, specifically the automated email follow-up (often referred to as the “lifecycle” or “action plan”).
That’s extremely unfortunate, as a carefully crafted lifecycle/action plan with great emails will help you gain the car shopper’s trust and differentiate your dealership from the competition. The combination of the two will help persuade that car shopper to buy from you.
Too often when we secret shop a dealership’s lifecycle, we are sent emails that ask “How can I help?” rather than answer with a “Here’s how I can help!”
Follow these steps to a successful action plan:
Promote Why Buy Message
As I was listening to a recorded call on behalf of one of our clients, I ran into an exchange that’s still happening every day at dealerships.
A customer called in and asked for the dealership’s “best price” on a new vehicle. Not surprising, the salesperson responded with exactly what the dealership’s management team had trained him to say: “We don’t discuss price over the phone. You need to come in and speak to a sales manager” or something more simplistic like these 4 words.
That was it. Conversation ended…
Thanks to everyone that reached out to me directly over the last few days to offer support, ideas and resources on how to handle the recent cyber attacks on DealerRefresh. It was extremely appreciated.
This isn’t the first time but definitely the worst attack we’ve experienced through-out the last 10 years. From what we were able to track, we still believe the attacks were set forth here within the walls of the U.S. but I’m hoping this wasn’t something set up to attack DealerRefresh and only DealerRefresh on purpose. I can’t imagine it was.
The 2 main attacks we were experiencing were Brute Force and DDOS.
Brute Force is when bots and scripts try different password combinations to get control of a website.
DDOS stands for Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS). This attack is an attempt to take out your website and/or server by overwhelming it with sudden traffic from multiple sources.
We spent quite a bit of time and resources over the last several days to keep the attacks from effecting DealerRefresh too much but if you were on either the blog or forums during a heavy traffic/attack period, you no doubt experienced some extremely slow load times or complete time outs. For that, I apologize. I know it’s very frustrating when you’re in the middle of commenting or posting a new thread, and the website times out.
On the positive side, as of right now we have been 100% stable over the last 48+ hours with zero attacks or heavy load times. We’ve been 90% over the last several days. The attacks (Brute Force) never made their way past our line of security. Not that we house any highly personal or sensitive information, but ever since introducing the forums I have had security measures in place to prevent the possibility of being hacked and having our members (your) information placed in a vulnerable situation.
When I started DealerRefresh 10 years ago, I would have NEVER anticipated the time, money and resources that go into keeping a resource and community secure from attacks and hacks. Especially the money portion. For that, PLEASE take a moment and check out our sponsors.
Much of our traffic are community refreshers re-visiting the blog and forums several times a week to several times a day. For you, I’m sure the banner ads often fade into the background after awhile, until the vendor changes up their design. Our sponsors are extremely relevant to 90% of our reader base, that most likely being you. You never know what new services or features our sponsors provide. We often overlook particular services because we think we already know what services they offer. But you may be surprised.
So again, take a moment and click a link(s) above or the banner(s) of our Sponsors to review what current feature and services each of them provide. They’re Sponsorships is what keeps DealerRefresh alive and moving forward during times like last week, when someone decides they’re going to have some fun and take out a valuable industry resource.
Thanks again to everyone that showed your support.