How to turn downtime into productivity at your dealership

Midway through the pandemic, we started hearing something from dealers that we haven’t experienced before: “We want to do more with digital retailing, but we have no inventory.”

It varied by OEM and region, but our conversations with dealers increasingly sounded like a chat with the miner who showed up too late to the California Gold Rush; the supply has dried up.

This was particularly frustrating in a time when sales among key demographics were on the rise despite downward market pressures. People were willing to buy, but there weren’t enough cars to go around. What could be done?

The automotive inventory shortages taught us some key lessons that can be applied anytime you have some downtime at your dealership. Let’s look at what you can do to turn that into productivity.

What trends has your dealership fallen behind on?

If you aren’t able to sell cars right now, then you have an unusual opportunity to redirect your efforts elsewhere. This could be as simple as showroom improvements or even a deep-cleaning of the staff room. But there’s more you could be doing.

A prolonged period of light workloads is the ideal time to introduce new training to your staff on new technologies, particularly those technologies that you might have fallen behind on.

Frost & Sullivan identified digital retail as the key trend that would define the entire automotive industry post-COVID

Let’s look at what MotoCommerce dealers have been doing

At Motoinsight, we introduced a weekly training webinar to help our clients brush up on their digital retailing skills in their downtime so that they could hit the ground sprinting when inventory returned. If you hit a lull in business and you don’t yet have digital retailing at all, this is a great first step to take while things are slow.

What was the rest of the industry up to?

As a result of the pandemic, hundreds of dealerships in North America have jumped headfirst into digital retailing so that they could continue selling cars even when showrooms were closed. While the instinct was good, this mad rush to the internet meant that a lot of dealers ended up with subpar digital retailing tools, or haphazard implementations of otherwise solid platforms.

Not all digital retailing is created equal. Click to see the different approaches to online tools

Slow periods at your dealership are great opportunities to reevaluate your digital tools. Do you have the functionality you need? Are they true omnichannel platforms? We have some great info on choosing the perfect automotive digital retailing solution here.

Why is digital retailing so important, anyway?

Back in very beginning of the pandemic, Frost & Sullivan released their COVID Auto Assessment Briefing, a comprehensive report outlining the impacts and remedies of the global pandemic upon the automotive industry. Even back then, they accurately predicted the supply limitations that would hit us a year later.

Even as Frost & Sullivan accurately projected severe inventory shortages, they also identified the key driver of growth that would repair the industry: digital retailing.

Revenues generated by online vehicle sales and aftermarket to grow from 120Bn to about 605Bn by 2025

According to this report, digital retailing was ideally positioned to aid the recovery of the automotive industry in the months to come. But digital retailing, like any sales process, requires training and commitment.

What this all means for you

This is why your downtime is a great opportunity to look critically at your digital presence, and assess your needs based on these priorities:

  • Do you have digital retailing in place? If not, finding the right platform is your immediate priority.
  • Is your digital retailing platform good enough? We go into more detail in this article about what separates a good platform from a substandard one.
  • Is your digital retailing platform properly implemented? Read more here to see how you can fine-tune your implementation and training.

Knock off as many of these items as you can while things are slow, and you’ll have a stronger platform for success when business picks up! Click below to see how we can help make great digital performance a reality at your dealership.

Ready to sell more cars? See how your dealership can thrive online today.

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