Give your automotive campaigns a fuel injection

For the first time in over two months, June saw car retailers in England, Wales and Scotland open their doors post COVID-19 lockdown. Although click and collect services have been officially available since May, showrooms are now once again the place where the majority of your customers will be making their final purchasing decisions. So not only do you have the opportunity to prioritise face-to-face customer service to influence conversions (at a safe distance) but you also have the opportunity to promote your wider services and new products with clever communication campaigns. This will all help to influence your bottom line.

As has been the case in most industries, we know that 2020 has been a complicated year for many car retailers. UK car registrations were down by 89% in May 2020 in comparison to 2019, with just 20,247 new car registered in comparison to 183,724 in the previous year. However, these stats have demonstrated consumer trends that you may want to take note of, including the surge in demand for electric vehicle (21.5% increase) with pre-ordered premium cars including the Tesla Model 3 and Jaguar I-Pace being delivered to customers throughout the pandemic. This may also be an initial insight into consumer priorities post-lockdown, and this research may prove useful when planning your upcoming campaigns.

So, what’s the solution?

Communication and differentiation are key, especially when looking to positively impact your sales targets. After all, the way that consumers make their purchasing decisions is evolving – many may argue that COVID-19 has accelerated that change with the growth of digital across all sectors. Some trends you might want to consider include:

  • Bringing the showroom to the customer – instead of simply focusing on the showroom environment, you could bring the showroom to the customer at traditional shopping spaces. After all, the consideration stage will likely take place long before your customers step into your showroom. Some brands are already doing this well. For example, Rockar opened a shopping centre store with Jaguar Land Rover in 2016 in Westfield Stratford City with test drives available and ‘Rockar Angels’ available to assist you. Venue decorating print campaigns and refurbishments can transform any space, so this may be a move to consider as many consumers flock towards to the retail setting post-lockdown.
  • Focus on customer education – we know that you’re selling more than just a car, you’re sharing a way of life and a way to connect with loved ones and evolving automotive technology may help further this message. Volkswagen We is currently looking to educate customers about mobility, tech and cars of the future and recently opened a ‘community hub’ in Berlin with in-store events, presentations and more. This has been designed with the purpose of starting conversations whilst getting customer buy-in for new services. It has created a futuristic space that makes an impact, taking the initial focus away from sales to encourage customers to step through the door.
  • Simplify the customer journey – you may have already heard about US-based online sales platform, Carvana, which sells, buys or finances used cars. With quick next day delivery options, customers can have their new wheels delivered to them at the click of a button. However, if customers want to pick up their purchase, Carvana uses multi-storey car vending machines, using a code or special coin to retrieve their vehicle, simplifying the customer journey. We know that UK retailers are following suit. So, for any pickup operations, you may want to consider outdoor banners or floor graphics to help seamlessly guide your audience through the process, particularly if there is not a customer service agent involved in the exchange.
  • Transform your strategy – this can help you to consistently meet customer needs and transform your strategy, which will also mean adapting your messaging. Research shows that now, 20% of UK consumers are willing to buy a car online and brands like Jaguar, Land Rover and Hyundai have already started to note this trend and incorporate this into their strategy (and dealerships) accordingly. The brands have cars on display with the newest models promoted via banner advertising particularly at the point of sale to showcase what’s available, but they are also inviting customers to buy online should they want to. Given that customers are buying into the click and collect option, it makes business sense to incorporate this into operations and communications campaigns.

 

Competition in the automotive retail sector will likely remain high over the next few months, particularly as the industry moves on from its lockdown figures. So, to stand out and to encourage customer conversions, it’s time to take your print campaigns out of ‘cruise control’, instead opting for big, bold and beautiful campaigns that make an impact, reaching customers where they are looking and listening. We can help with that. Speak to our team today to discuss your print campaign requirements: hello@gardners.co.uk