Perfect Opportunity To Optimize Your Dealership
As a result of the coronavirus most dealers are reporting reduced sales. The industry estimates that car sales will be down almost 50% nationally for the month of March this year. That is certainly quite an alarming figure and understandably, cause for dealers to be concerned. It's important not to lose focus though; the world will return back to normal soon and when it does dealers need to be ready to meet the needs of their customers once again.
The reduced floor traffic is a great opportunity to focus on the tasks that are often overlooked or neglected as dealers are primarily occupied with selling vehicles and providing the service customers expect.
This could be an advantageous time to stock up on inventory if you can afford to. The current uncertainty in the marketplace will result in a lot of dealers sitting on the sidelines in the coming weeks while they try to make sense of the situation so there will be fewer competitors at the auctions. Most auctions have also temporarily switched over to online-only sales, and there are still plenty of dealers that refuse to buy without actually physically inspecting vehicles which will result in yet fewer competing bids.
If you use a floorplan to finance your auction acquisitions, speak to your floorplanner to see if you can negotiate an extension of your terms so that you are free to take advantage of sourcing opportunities without being concerned about incurring fees if units sit on the lot until things return to normal. While every dealer should always pay attention to price trends, it is currently of particular importance to buy vehicles whose depreciation trends are relatively flat so that you can better safegaurd your margins while you wait for the market to recover.
Review Your Retail Prices
Staying on top of retail prices can be quite the task. The market fluctuates constantly and dealers adjust their prices up and down regularly in a bid to lure buyers into the store. If you get busy and neglect to assess the prices of your inventory relative to the market you can quickly fall out of sync, costing you sales and / or margin.
A day spent without interruption from customers is ideal for a detailed analysis of your local retail market to make sure that your prices are aligned to maximize both opportunity and profit. Carbly's offers an indepth look at your current local retail market, making it simple to establish asking price ranges. gives you all the necessary context to asking prices by showing you historical retail sale transaction data from other dealers, allowing you to accurately predict your margins and negotiate effectively.
Most consumers start their buying process online these days but websites can be the last thing on an indie dealer's mind; now is an ideal time to dedicate a few hours to making sure your site is up to date and appealing. Make sure that all your contact details and staff pages are current which will make it easier for your customers to find the department and staff that they need. Go through each of your listings to ensure they are accurate and have photos. If you have special sales or protocols in place for the coronavirus, consider putting that information in a banner on each of your photos so that customers will always see it.
Facility and lot maintenance can be difficult to perform when customers and staff are in and out all day. First impressions can be a determining factor for whether a customer choses to buy a vehicle from a specific dealership; make use of these quieter days to reorganize the lot or perform larger maintenance so that you are ready to receive customers once social distancing has ended.
As an indie dealer it's difficult to know how to best navigate the current situation, especially as a lot of it is outside our immediate control. Utilizing the time to improve and optimize your dealership is a great way to take back the reigns. Your efforts will not go unnoticed by customers either who will draw confidence from your ongoing efforts and improvements to your business despite the current unknowns.