COVID-19 is an unprecedented situation - there is no play book for times like these. At AutoPlay we've offered our dealership customers a fee-free period and we've been heartened to see many of the other companies in the Automotive space in NZ make similar offers. Like AutoPlay the team at Driven.co.nz are committed to helping dealerships make it through this tough time. Below is a short message from the team at Driven NZ regarding their plans for April 2020.
Given the recent developments regarding Coronavirus (COVID-19), we at DRIVEN are adapting and reviewing how we can support our dealer network during this tough time. We are committed to working closely with you, to manage what is uncharted territory for us all.
As a result, we will be putting in place a charging holiday for our dealerships on all lead and/or subscription charges from midnight Wednesday 25 March until at least end of April 2020 at which point we will review based on the environment at this date.
Any leads received by dealerships during this time along with any monthly subscription charges for April will be completely free of charge. There is no need to activate this, the charging holiday will be automatically applied to all DRIVEN.co.nz lead generation customers.
Rest assured we will be doing everything we can to support the local automotive industry over the coming months, keeping New Zealanders informed, with access to news and information they can trust.
If you have any questions, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org and one of our DRIVEN specialists will be in touch to arrange a phone or video meeting to discuss further.
* Note - AutoPlay don't intend this advice to conflict with any advice from the government on COVID-19 and social distancing rules. This article is only intended to help dealerships get through the shutdown and come out the other end with the tools required to get back onto their feet. Please follow the governments current rules and be safe!
With the recent news that NZ is entering COVID-19 Level 4 it means that the sales departments of dealerships nationwide have been required to be closed down for 4 weeks. What the full picture means for kiwi dealerships will become more clear over the coming weeks, but what is clear is that with no face-to-face customer contact there will be fewer leads coming into the dealership - even considering the potential for the general public to continue pre-purchase research online.
At AutoPlay we are keen to ensure that when the Level 4 Restrictions are lifted that your dealership is well equipped to hit the ground running in a post COVID-19 world. This means not only implementing an effective process for tracking and keeping leads in a holding pattern over the next 4 weeks, but also ensuring the dealership is equipped to deal with the public that may still be gun-shy about face-to-face contact.
What should I be doing now?
With the news having just dropped this week that NZ is effectively closed this week there are a number of things your dealership should be doing to make sure that you are set up for the next phase. If you haven't done this it's not too late!
1. Utilising Social Channels
Make sure to update your customers with what is happening at your dealership. Announcing this on Facebook is a nice, non invasive way of ensuring customers can stay up to date. This is a free activity that a dealership can do to engage with their target audience without requiring a sales team actively working.
2. Review Lead Management Settings
3. Review your Automatic Response templates?
It's very likely that during the shutdown period you won't have anywhere near a full team working - however that doesn't mean all your listing are pulled from being online and nor does it mean that customers won't continue to send email enquiries (though how much this occurs remains to be seen).
What can AutoPlay help with during the Lv4 restrictions?
Whilst the Level 4 restrictions are in place it's a definite that customers won't be coming into the dealership to view, test drive and purchase vehicles. However whats less clear is whether customers will still email the dealership to register interest or ask questions. If this happens you need to ensure you have a mechanism to manage these leads.
1. Send personalised videos with AutoPlay's Email Response Tool
AutoPlay has a built in video Email Response tool. If you can't be face to face with your customers then recording a personalised voice-over video can be the next best thing.
2. Communicate via SMS
3. Ensure you can track customer enquiry via Brochureware and the Wishlist Form
For the vast majority of dealerships in NZ getting stock to our little corner of the world will be challenging - whether it's brand new stock, or used imports.
What can AutoPlay help with once the restrictions are eased?
In an ideal world in 4 weeks the restrictions will lift and everyone can return to normality. However there is going to be fall out even after this happens (whenever that might be). Not only will the dealership be facing stock challenges but your sales team also will not have the cumulative pool of leads to manage. However you are not starting from scratch!
1. Audit your existing leads in AutoPlay
2. Re-prospect with Live Leads
It's likely when normality resumes you'll have a lot of cold leads that will need warming up again. When it's appropriate it might be worth using AutoPlay Live Leads to re-target these potential customers
3. In Market Leads
With cold leads and appraisals it might be tricky to work out which leads are worth contacting again once you finally do get more stock. In Market Leads looks at new listings and will automatically connect them to customers that might potentially be interested in the new stock
What if I still need my Sales Team to sometimes work remotely once the restrictions are eased?
We don't know what the future will hold. It's possible that even with an easing of the rules, there still might be restrictions impacting how your sales team can operate.
1. Work From Home Preparedness
Should we find an increasing reliance on working remotely whether it be through government restrictions or simply if the general public remains concerned about visiting too many places, it might change how we sell cars for much longer than we anticipated. In that scenario there are a number of things you can do to streamline these efforts.
Sales Person Items
2. Ability to conduct offsite Test Drive and Appraisals
Should the market dictate it we may find more customers wanting service away from a traditional dealership environment.
AutoPlay are working throughout the restrictions to make sure we can be there when you need us. If you want any assistance with any of the services AutoPlay can offer please contact email@example.com and we'll get one of our awesome customer experience team to get in touch.
AutoPlay and our friends at Need A Car are pleased to be able to offer free listings on needacar.co.nz from 1st April, 2020 for any dealership currently a customer of AutoPlay.
With dealerships closing for 4 weeks from 25/03/20 due to COVID-19 it's going to be impossible to continue to do business the way that we are all used to. With no face-to-face contact it's more important than ever to get as many eyeballs on your vehicles as possible. The general public will shift to searching online to find vehicles in preparation for when the time is right for them to buy - making every electronic lead more valuable than ever.
As part of both AutoPlay and Need A Cars commitment to helping dealers minimise the impact of the COVID shutdown, AutoPlay will export your listings to, and Need A Car will display your listings for free on needacar.co.nz.
needacar.co.nz is a purpose built vehicle listing website with circa 50,000 unique visitors per month. Engagement of browsers on the site is great - with each visitor spending an average of 6 minutes browsing the site each session. AutoPlay will take care of all the on-boarding after we get dealer agreement so it is well worth the effort to list your vehicles on the site.
AutoPlay feels strongly about not sharing your listing data anywhere you don't want it, so we will NOT automatically opt you in to this initiative. As such please contact our Support team on firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll get it set up for you.
If you have any questions about this initiative please email email@example.com
By the time you read this article we will be well immersed in the COVID-19 restrictions implemented on 25/03/20 and remembering February fondly as the last month of relative normalcy in the market. (Watch this space over the coming weeks for more info on market conditions as we see them at AutoPlay)
After a strong month in January, we saw a slight drop in the qty of leads by 2.9%, however this was more a sign of the short month than any early COVID-19 effects on the market – the likes of which we didn’t start seeing until March 2020. February 2020 saw an increase of 6.7% in Test Drives and 3.3.% in sales as dealerships started working the large number of leads that came in during January.
After a massive increase in lead volume of 41% in January, leads from dealership websites (Web – Dealer) decreased by 23.1% in February. ‘Web – Classified’ also decreased by 4.1% but due to the significant decrease in dealer website leads was able to recapture the title as NZ’s most common source of leads. Although ‘Brand’ leads increased marginally by 0.7%, the significant drops in leads from websites resulted in the 2.9% decrease in lead volume experienced from January to February 2020.
Mainly due to the significant increase in leads from dealer websites in January, we saw Test Drives from these sources increase by 8.7% in February to become the most common source for Test Drives. Test Drives recorded as ‘Direct’ increased by 3.4% comparatively to fall to second place, and ‘Web Classified’ Test Drives fell slightly by 1.7% into third.
Overall Sales increased by 3.3% in February with a small increase of 0.7% for ‘Web – Classified’ sales and large increases of 15.4% for ‘Web – Dealer’ sales and an increase of 11.7% in sales attributed to ‘Repeat’ customers.
Make sure to check back next month to see the top sources of leads, test drives and sales in March 2020.
AutoPlay Sales Pipeline is a pre-sales lead management tool designed for dealerships, dealer groups and automakers