Dealer inventory is at unprecedented lows, and new and used car prices are at all-time highs. Shifting the marketing focus to pre-order vehicle sales can help dealerships weather the supply chain crisis.
Plugging into Pre-Order Sales to Relieve Industry Pressure
The COVID-19 pandemic hasn’t spared automakers, nor did it spare the 18,000 car dealerships across the United States.
Continuing parts shortages—particularly semiconductor chips—have kept automakers from returning to full production. Low inventory and sharply higher prices on new and used vehicles put extra pressure on dealerships to meet consumer demand without eating into their profit margins.
Despite the pandemic, automakers were moving forward with plans to add alternative-fuel models to their lineups. But with a stable full of electric SUVs, trucks, and sedans ready to debut and supply chain issues holding up production, automotive marketing departments had to get creative. Hyping a vehicle you don’t have the parts to build is, well, not ideal.
So, manufacturers offered buyers a way to spec out the vehicle they want. From exterior paint and interior upholstery colors to luxury and performance options, shoppers are getting their vehicles built to order. It’s a gamble that automakers could take with exciting new EV models like the Ford F-150 Lightning and GM’s Hummer EV pickup.
But how does that translate to older models? Will a truck buyer looking for a Chevy Silverado 1500 for sale be willing to wait weeks, even months, to get the truck they want? Americans are well known for their addiction to instant gratification.
It turns out there is a growing number of buyers who are willing (and able) to wait for their next vehicle if it means getting the exact truck, SUV, or car they want.
Tweak Digital Marketing Strategy to Drive Traffic to Dealerships
While it may not have been as obvious in the automobile industry, retail has been transforming over the past several years. Consumers demand a more personalized experience, and that extends to car buying.
Digital marketing, particularly organic and paid SEO, is key to helping automobile dealers take advantage of pre-order and custom sales to drive traffic to their showroom.
For instance, a paid campaign can point to an optimized landing page that details features and FAQs of new electric, hybrid, and hydrogen vehicles, plus the benefits of pre-ordering. And with established models, a landing page can highlight upgrades and encourage buyers to custom order one with the feature packages they want.
An embedded contact form on the landing pages delivers qualified leads to the sales team, who can invite shoppers to the showroom to reserve and customize their dream vehicle (or take the order information and a deposit over the phone).
Reinventing the Showroom
Industry experts predict showrooms will continue to evolve in the coming years. Dealerships may keep a smaller inventory of new cars on hand for demos and walk-in sales, while focus may shift to customized pre-order vehicle sales.
Pre-ordering is proving to be cost-effective for dealerships and automakers. And with targeted organic and paid SEO campaigns, dealers can show how custom ordering is a better deal for car buyers as well.
Dealerships who have already updated their organic and paid search strategy to emphasize pre-order vehicle sales are demonstrating their relevance in the marketplace and gaining a leg up on the competition.
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