3 Steps to Start Increasing Front-End Sales

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The automotive industry has finally shown the strongest signs of recovery yet from the COVID-19 pandemic, as reported in our April 2021 Automotive Industry Trends Guide. But as we’ve learned in the last year of uncertainty—there’s no room to get comfortable—as we already know there are still new challenges ahead. Front-end sales, or revenue from the sale of a vehicle, have been particularly challenging for dealerships over the past year and have required new tactics and competitive offers to help close sales. But in order to jump-start and sustain front-end sales, dealers must refocus their approach to improve upon lead generation and deliver a higher quality flow of traffic to the showroom.

  1. Drive High Quality Traffic with Digital Marketing

As mentioned in a previous blog, a recent study from eMarketer found that the average U.S. adult is spending an average of 3 hours and 43 minutes per day on their mobile devices. With consumers spending more time connected to screens, dealers must prioritize their digital marketing efforts and meet shoppers where they are. Surprisingly, there are still many dealers who are not taking advantage of the of the digital landscape and the swift and powerful capabilities it holds.

Digital marketing creates the opportunity to narrow your audience to capture the most relevant traffic. Facebook, Instagram and Google—some of the top social media and search platforms—all have custom list targeting capabilities, creating an immense opportunity to locate customers within their DMS and promote the latest offers that are especially relevant to them. Social Roots™ 1:1, a DMS-integrated and automated social advertising solution, helps deliver specified messages to individuals based on where they fall in their ownership lifecycle. A unique, cost-effective solution, Social Roots dynamically updates with the dealership’s DMS to ensure timely and accurate messages to those nearing lease expirations and beyond. To expand digital marketing efforts further, dealers should also target prospects outside of their DMS. With conquest targeting capabilities, dealers can capture new traffic with specially curated and compelling offers that move prospects to choose their dealership over another.

2. Develop Trust and Acquire Vehicles with Appraisal Technology

As we move into Q2 and beyond, consumer confidence has returned and is forecasted to continually improve, making it more crucial now than ever to deliver the best possible experience for vehicle shoppers, as they’ve become increasingly ready to purchase. With the good comes the bad—inventory supply levels are dropping due to another microchip shortage, and shoppers are increasingly citing lack of inventory as a reason for not purchasing.

In order to create a better user experience, dealers must first implement a vehicle acquisition strategy to ensure a wide selection is available for the various needs of the consumer. To maximize efficiency—and profitability—dealers can utilize a trade-in tool like Trade-in Valet that helps replenish used vehicle inventory and provides more opportunities for consumers to shop. Trade-in Valet is unique in that it offers a live appraisal desk, guaranteeing trade-in values and ultimately creating a win-win experience for both dealer and consumer. This fast, easy, and no-pressure process helps built trust with the shopper and helps drive showroom traffic.

3. Effectively Implement Equity Mining

Time is of the essence. Auto dealers need swift and efficient processes that can deliver the best outcomes, and when it comes to closing more vehicle sales, they should start at their own store. Selling from the service drive is a key way dealers can locate top-tier prospects. When customers are already at the dealership, know the brand and trust the store, they have confidence that they’re in the right place. Affinitiv Quote, an equity mining tool, sends notifications to salespeople when existing customers in a position of equity are getting service done. This easy-to-use tool does the heavy lifting for dealers by not just alerting them to an opportunity, but ensuring the opportunity is realistic. Dealerships can focus their efforts on owner-based customers in a position of equity and use AI-driven features like the trade prediction score to determine how likely a customer is to upgrade to a new vehicle.

Digging even deeper, Affinitiv Quote can be used to offer a dealership’s best prospects attention-grabbing, personalized equity offers at the store and through email or direct mail. With precise targeting of equity communications, dealers can easily discover clients nearing lease expiration, leverage data to project payoffs and payments for service-only customers, and leverage untapped data from the DMS to determine likely buyers. Based on data from 197 retailers using Quote in 2020, 8.8% of all new deals were attributed to Quote. 

While the outlook ahead is looking strong for the automotive industry, dealers must prepare to weather the storms that are going to surface in the coming year. By digitally delivering messages to prospects, sourcing more inventory to create an abundant selection to choose from, and driving compelling campaigns that utilize advanced technology to hyper-target the likeliest buyers, dealers will develop higher quality traffic, ultimately supporting the increase of front-end sales.

In the coming months, it’s crucial for dealers to remember that ultimately, the consumer is in the driver’s seat. It is vital to continue to engage leads at every turn, as they are constantly facing noise from the competition. Make it easy for them to choose you by delivering thoughtful messages—something that speaks directly to them—and creates a best-in-class experience.

Ready to learn more? Affinitiv has experts and solutions that drive premier outcomes across the automotive ecosystem. Contact us today.

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