Waiting on “Dealing with it mode”

The search volume for automotive terms has seen a dramatic
drop over the past week in Georgia.
And that trend will continue.
We are being replaced by searches for toilet paper
and things for kids to do at home, crafts, and learning.

Fast approaching is that first positive in mid-ga when
we will really feel like we are shut out.

That should occur in the next 8 days.
So yes, we are taking it day by day.
But I look at it week by week.
We are ok this week.
A bit slow…
This time next week is when we will have
to make some decisions on advertising.

By then our dealerships should have a way
to sanitize cars. Before delivery, after
test drives.
We also will have with the stores good communication
around our staff’s health and how they are dealing
with school being out and possible sick family members.

Then the bottom will drop out on demand.
How many days in a row can a store go with
a vehicle sale?
What is our tolerance level?

The time we are waiting on is what I call
“Dealing with it mode”.
When all of us are settled in and we are doing
the day to day care of each other.
We are watching the numbers climb.
When we are looking at another set of metrics
entirely. Infection rates, quarantine, lockdowns
become very real to us.
Up close and personal.
We will be dealing with it.

It will be during this time that our websites
will be crawled with casual visitors time and time
again. On desktops from homes.
I expect time on-site to increase.
VDPs to go up.
Shopping. Considering. Dreaming. Planning.

Because there will be a time when we have peaked
and start to come down.
And down, and down.
When June finally comes… we will see people return
to buying cars in small numbers.
July will bring the lions share back into the market.
Back into our showrooms.

We must maintain our websites.
We must maintain our communication with the homebound.

When the bounce up happens we can reap the benefit.

My initial COVID action notes


Here are my initial notes I am bringing into our action plan meeting.
Will be interesting to see what comes out on the other side

ANTICIPATED SCENARIO 
-Severe reduction in demand and supply chain disruption. 
-Local Governments decisions will have the greatest impact. 
-Employee health and family situations. 
BE READY TO COMMUNICATE TO CUSTOMERS AND EMPLOYEES 
- What  is your dealerships services status. (open / closed – hours) 
- Any special instructions for parking or changes in the service areas 
- In store signage (directional, notices) 
- Show / demonstrate what steps are being taking to protect/mitigate 
- Google My Business page is first to update. (I have control of all except CDJR)  
then website, followed by Social outlets. 
-Informational eblast thru Eleads / Autopoint 
SUSPEND LEAD PROVIDERS (30 Day notice that can be extended if needed) 
- Go ahead and submit 30-day outs 
- Same for OEM lead programs – if unable, then shrink the radius 
REDUCE WEBSITE TO BASIC FUNCTIONALITY (reducing overall cost) 
-Strip out all third party (paid) widgets 
-Unless managed in-house remove chat (prefer we keep chat if can) 
DIGITAL ADVERTISING 
-SEM should be reduced to core model keywords along with fixed ops.  
-SEO can be suspended until on the other side. 
-Display can be suspend until on the other side. 
-Online video, OTT, PVOD should continue or even increase. 
-Social advertising should continue or even increase 
TRADITIONAL ADVERTISING 
Scaling back TV and Radio vs Going Dark 
-Public will likely be in homes consuming media, keeping a limited top of mind TV/Radio presence will benefit us as we start to ease out of this COVID event. 
-Going dark will make it difficult to "ramp back up". And more expensive in the long run. 
OTHER SERVICES 
-Reputation management can be suspended until the event is over  
-*Vehicle pictures/merchandising/ window stickers will present a problem.  Some do in-house.  Others depend on a third party that cannot be relied on to provide that service. 
-Newsletter providers like DSplus, Outsell, ?BMW's can be suspended until after the event. 
-Data mining like AutoLoop, Mastermind, 
IN DEALERSHIP CONSIDERATIONS 
-We use a bare bones cleaning service.  We are going to HAVE TO SHOW that we are upping the cleanliness of our facilities. 
- In store signage. 
-Social distancing.  Most Service advisors are too close and in a small space with customers. 
-At what point do we mask up?-See something, say something.  If someone in store appears sick, we need a mechanism to report and a chain of authority to act. 
DEALERSHIP LEADERSHIP VULNERABILITIES
- We have GM's that travel a good distance.  Their local situation may prevent them from being at the store.  Need to define/designate a chain of succession. 
CAN WE DO OFFSITE DELIVERY / SALES TO CUSTOMER HOMES ?? 
-We would have to show/prove our employee doing the delivery has tested negative. 
-We would have to protect our employees from being exposed to customers in their homes. 
SECURITY 
-Expect less law enforcement as they will be strained by this event as well as their own personnel will be affected. 
MISC. 
-We should ask all vendors for a reduced rate until July 2020. 
LEAD PROVIDERS ON 30 DAY OUT 
Autotrader 
Cars.com 
Cargurus 
KBB 
Carfax 
Edmunds 
Truecar 
AutoApr 
Tidewater