6 Ways Dealerships Can Finish 2021 Strong & Kickstart Growth in 2022

All | September 10, 2021

Author: Allen Ewing, VP of Dealer Direct Sales

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While headlines earlier this year forecasted car sales dropping due to low inventory, many auto dealers are now noting record-breaking profit due to the historically high sale prices on both new and used vehicles. But as anyone in the industry already knows, there’s no room for complacency. As more manufacturers recently announced halting vehicle production, we can expect the competition to dial up even further as the inventory shortage is likely to negatively impact sales in early 2022.  

With Q4 on the horizon, now is the time to reevaluate revenue opportunities for both front and back ends of the dealership. Here are six ways auto dealers can end the year strong and leapfrog the competition in 2022.  

3 Ways to Streamline Front-End Sales

 

Whether today’s car shopper decides to keep and maintain their vehicle, trade in their vehicle, consider a different model, or wait to make a purchase entirely, it’s important for dealerships to offer and promote flexible choices that attract the attention of various prospective customers. Here are three ways dealers can streamline efforts to increase front-end sales: 

1) Build New Audiences & Convert Lost Leads 

Even with all the right measures taken to increase a dealership’s site traffic, only 2% of those visitors will convert into a lead. That means 98% of those lost shoppers—who are some of the most viable opportunities—have left your website to resume their shopping journey elsewhere. Instead of spending more money on new traffic, dealers should implement a lead recovery strategyAnonymous Shopper, a unique advertising solution from Affinitiv Advertising, uses a three-pronged method to not only capture this lost traffic but deliver actual data sets to dealers. This powerful yet budget-friendly approach is so carefully curated, dealers only pay for data that meets their expectations as it’s filtered to meet certain criteria.  

2) Increase Inventory Acquisition Lead Flow 

Dealers often don’t realize their website’s valuating tool can actually work against their marketing efforts. Many third-party valuation tools will redirect customers off the dealer’s site and onto the vendor’s own site. Trade-in Valet, Affinitiv’s customizable valuation tool, adds multiple, easy-to-access locations on a dealership’s website, allowing the lead to move through a fast and simple valuation experience while staying on the site. Backed by a live bidding team and guaranteed values, the customer can trust their valuation won’t change when they arrive at the dealership, and the dealership can rely on improved profitability—up to 20% higher gross per deal. 

3) Identify Inventory Opportunities in the Service Drive 

A great source for acquiring inventory that is often overlooked—as dealers don’t have the right tools to easily make it happen—is equity mining in the service drive. When a customer arrives for their service appointment, dealers can use a tool like Affinitiv Quote, which uses our proprietary and AI-driven Trade Prediction Score, to help identify customers who might be in an equity position or where they can trade with little or no increase in their payment. From there, a personalized, appealing offer will be generated based on DMS, Black Book®, Edmunds®, and Affinitiv proprietary data to maximize the opportunity.  

3 Ways to Streamline Fixed Operations 

With the chip shortage in full swing and more pressure on the Service Department to drive more than their usual share of revenue, improving service lane productivity is a must. Here are three ways dealers can streamline efforts to maximize service lane opportunities: 

1) Optimize the Service Department Experience 

Recently uncovered in Affinitiv’s August Industry Trends Guide, daily drive miles have increased to pre-pandemic levels. This trend points to more opportunities for RO growth, and with that, the need for dealerships to prepare their service lanes for an influx of appointments. Using the Skill Groups feature inside Affinitiv Book, ROs are effortlessly routed to the teams and technicians best matched for every job. Book users can also see the week’s availability for airbag repairs, allowing specialty repairs to complete when promised, increasing overall shop productivity and customer satisfaction.  

2) Build Trust and Loyalty Through Better Service Updates 

Customers today expect fast, efficient, and technology-driven experiences wherever they do business, and the service lane is no exception. To help move appointments along and maximize opportunities for repairs, a text-messaging service is vital to Service Department operations. From automated appointment reminders to videos sent mid-inspection with recommended services, customers are given a greater sense of comfort and trust throughout the entire experience. And to gauge immediate customer satisfaction, customers will receive a post-repair thank you communication with a dealer-customizable survey to ensure their return.   

3) Promote Faster, Easier Transactions 

To improve communication and clarity and create a faster service experience that benefits both the dealership and the customer, online bill payments are essential. Using a service like BillPay, service advisors can professionally interact, engage, and complete transactions via text for customers to pay online, receive status updates, and preview their service order prior to vehicle pickup. They can even pay their bill securely via their mobile device to avoid lines at checkout. All this can be accomplished with their text messaging platform, and it is proven to increase customer satisfaction and advisor productivity. 

According to Qualtrics XM Institute research, consumer satisfaction has the largest effect on their likelihood of recommending a business and makes repurchase 3.5x more likely. More important than ever, dealerships and dealer groups must create a positive, memorable experience that drives repeat business and loyalty. In order to close this year strong and prepare for uncertainty in 2022, the customer experience should be the driving force behind every communication and interaction with the dealership, especially with competition soaring to new heights.  


Let’s get started. The experts at Affinitiv are ready to help. Contact us today for a consultation.

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