What automobile dealers need to do during lockdown?
Updated: Dec 22, 2020
Most OEMs & dealers across the world have stepped up precautions and all offices and factories/workshops across the country are shut. Most have switched to a work from home policy for all employees, which brings its own challenges. The main focus here is to keep all employees engaged, to keep them feeling good and motivated
The global spread of COVID 19 virus is taking its toll on the economy across industry. Auto industry which was already experiencing declining sales for the last two years is further hit very hard after lockdown announced by GoI.
Dealers were already experiencing declining customers’ walk-ins and this lockdown has completely stopped walk-ins in their showrooms. It will take a long time to come out of this declining sales trend which will severely impact OEMs & dealers’.
Most OEMs & dealers across the world have stepped up precautions and all offices and factories / workshops across the country are shut. Most have switched to a work from home policy for all employees, which brings its own challenges. Main focus here is to keep all employees engaged, to keep them feeling good and motivated
While many companies have asked their staff to work from home, a lack of infrastructure poses challenges. For example, many employees don't have laptops or, in some areas, don't have access to high speed Internet at home.
“Dealers must gear up their online sales capabilities by hosting online workshops and webinars by dealership / OEM team on internal portals / video chats to keep the workforce motivated and engaged.”
When employees work from home, there's a sense of isolation that can set in. Managers are required to check in frequently with staff and to look out for their well-being and keep them connected. Communication with both inside ( employees) & outside ( Prospects & Customers) is most important in this situation of lockdown.
Last few years online activities have become an integral part of the customer purchase journey. Google Kantar report says that 68% customers start their purchase journey online and 39% are willing to consider booking cars online. Also in times of this lockdown I understand that leading online car sales portals are experiencing significant increase in visitors , time being spent by them on site, pages being viewed by them. This shows that potential customers are quite active now and have a lot of time in hand to do their research for their future purchases.
This is a big opportunity when dealers don’t have customers walking in and their sales & business development resources are under utilized. This is the time for dealers to work on their future customers & and help them finalize their future purchase. Dealers should use their database or also work with leading car portals who get millions of visitors on their website to connect to their prospects through phones , video chats.
Give these prospects all the information which can help them make decisions. Today all information is available online , for example, Product brochures, 360 product display, feature benefits, comparison within segments etc. In many countries car buying is mostly a family decision and there cannot be a better time than today when the whole family is together & have lots of time together.
This will keep dealers' sales teams not only kept engaged & motivated but will create a future pipeline of customers that dealerships will need when lockdown is lifted.
Dealers must gear up their online sales capabilities by hosting online workshops and webinars by dealership / OEM team on internal portals / video chats to keep the workforce motivated and engaged. These online workshops should share tips about how to collaborate with their customers and be productive in a remote environment.