Like many industries, the automobile sector has changed dramatically in the last 15 to 20 years due to the impact of digital. If you needed a new car in the early 1990s, most people would either check their local newspaper for car sales ads or head down to a local dealer.
Today, the first port of call for most people in the market for a new car will be to do a quick search online. This is advantageous for the consumer but has caused many car retailers to adapt in order to drive sales online through a number of methods.
Also known as remarketing, retargeting is a form of online advertising used by many online car dealerships, retailers, and general sellers. It is a cookies-based method, where if you visit a car retailer’s website the cookies can be used so that ads for that particular car seller appear again when you are browsing the Internet.
It is a highly effective method, since the people targeted are those who have already shown interest in buying a new car. It keeps the company’s name in the back of the customers mind and convinces them to return to that website to browse and (hopefully for the seller) make a purchase.
Social Media Campaigns
Every company has a number of social media accounts these days, and car retailers/dealerships are no different. Many have also launched a number of social media campaigns and PR stunts in order to gain exposure and increase sales.
From popular movie tie-ins, such as Nissan teaming up with Batman and creating a specially designed car to Autotrader dropping a car in the Thames, as long as a hashtag is involved they can prove incredibly popular. This creates a lot of interest around the stunt, often with links through to the seller’s website accompanying any video/images to drive traffic in their direction.
Online Only Deals
In order to compete with car dealers, many manufacturers are offering online only deals. This is similar to what hotels did many years ago. This means that when people turn to the Internet to research a new vehicle, they can be drawn in to purchase it online based on the cheaper price or additional features included.
The only thing slowing the growth for car manufacturers employing this strategy are rules and restrictions in certain states and countries where they are required by law to sell through a dealership.
The Effect for Car Dealers
Many dealers have made the decision to do all their trading online, reducing the costs of owning a property and employing more members of staff. Others still trade through a dealership, but have made great improvements to the online experience – such as this Skoda outlet – by integrating all aspects of their dealership into the website.
However, many use the Internet solely as a research tool heading online to see what’s available before going to a dealership. Few buyers want to make such an expensive purchase without taking the car they’re buying for a test drive. Plus, it helps draw in more business for dealers to their showrooms by having an online presence.
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