The Citroën Ami looks like something out of an early ‘70s sci-fi movie, a tiny motorized box that transports our protagonist from one side of a futuristic city to meet with the supercomputer that runs their civilization. Released in the spring to the European market, the Ami is a shade below eight feet long, seats two, and gets around with an efficient electric motor with a top speed of 28mph and a range of 46 miles and can be charged from a standard home outlet. In other words, it’s a car perfectly engineered for city living: easy to park, cheap to drive, and with enough kick to handle traffic. It’s already a hit in the infamously gridlocked Paris. Continue Reading
When customers’ transportation needs and income take a nosedive at the same time, you don’t need to be a marketing guru to know it’s not good news for car dealerships. I’m not here to pile on more gloom and doom. On the contrary; while the market is not in the best shape, the news isn’t universally bad. So keep in mind that while certain numbers are down in many cases, what we’re seeing is not the death of an industry, but rather a call for deeper change. A simple signal to adapt to the changing terrain.
When the pandemic first landed on us in late March, we all knew it would have an effect on the automotive retailing industry. Prognostications were everywhere, and they were uniformly bleak. As with most things, the truth ended up being far more complex and unexpected. Continue Reading
When you leave the house to buy groceries, chances are you’re picking the closest market. You might go to the next-closest if you need something specific and the place nearest to you tends to run out of things. You’re not going any farther than that. While groceries are a significant part of any household’s budget, they’re on a different scale than, say, rent or car payments.
Purchasing a car is in the big three of life expenses, and it’s the one people do most often throughout their lives. The location of a car is also less important than the location of a home or an education, as it’s by far the most mobile of the three. So the question remains, how far will someone travel for a car?
There’s been surprisingly little research on the phenomenon. Two studies, one done in 2010 and the other in 2013, gave the figures as 22 miles and 55 miles respectively. A third study didn’t give precise numbers, but did find that the more expensive the car, the farther a customer would be willing to drive. This is not an endorsement of higher prices, but should be read as how important discounts are on big ticket items. 5% off a car is more actual money the higher the ultimate price of the vehicle.
Anecdotally, the data tells much the same story. Message board posts tell story after story of customers traveling for two to three hundred miles. I asked a number of people the same question, and received answers from one hundred to six hundred miles. And that’s all one way. With increasing economic uncertainty, it’s likely that customers are willing to travel a good distance for a substantial discount on their dream car.
Your dealership can take advantage of this tendency. DealerOn’s Mobile Lead Driver comes equipped with geo-fencing technology that can generate location-based offers. When a customer comes to your website you can target them with an offer unique to where they are standing or sitting. Maybe they’re sitting on a college campus and you fire off an ad with a college student discount, or maybe they’re outside that 55-mile radius and you want to make coming in that much more attractive. All they have to do is click on a banner, and get a coupon instantly. It’s a little extra nudge over the finish line that can turn a no into a yes.
With the pandemic pushing more and more shopping into the digital realm, you have the opportunity to reach customers farther afield than ever before. They’re shopping for the perfect vehicle first and the perfect location second. As long as you’re in driving range and you offer an incentive to get them through your doors, you’ll have the opportunity to put a customer behind the wheel of their dream car.
Due to the continuing pandemic, your car is probably seeing a lot less use. You might not have started it in weeks, maybe even months depending on where you live. Problem is, cars are designed to be used, and leaving them to gather dust can permanently damage the complex machinery that makes them function. If you plan on an extended period of not driving your car, there are a number of steps you need to take to ensure that when you want to drive it again, it will work. Continue Reading