This week’s biggest impact on car sales in Georgia….No need for the rocket scientist to look it over. Georgia has been kicked in the gut by job losses. Nearly everyone knows someone, has a family member, friend or even themselves who has lost their job. We are unsure, uneasy and afraid. I am so amazed at how we have stood by and watched this change happen around us. Yes, it came over us quickly. We were mud bound. Frozen. Still operating the same way we were two months ago. Not a care in the world. That is what I see missing today. The care. The expressions of care. As I read the emails and listen to phone calls, I am struck by our numbness Like robots, stuck in a program. It’s all we know to do. We are still using old word tracks. Even canned emails. Templates used by the lazy. Never updated, read over or even considered. Frustrating. We in the car biz are going through our own dumb-ass apocalypse. They surround us. March alongside us.
Perhaps this is the cull happening.
Time for only the strong, smart and agile to survive.
Who will we be on the other side of this? Who will be counted among us?
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.
Every time you log into to @eleadcrm you get a pop up.
A pop up from Eleads telling you about all the wonderment that awaits you at NADA if you stop by their booth. Basically a nag screen that slows down those trying to do the real work and the majority not going to NADA. Just more bad choices since being acquired by CDK. Woo hoo ! A new look too? Nope. Same GUI from 12 years ago. So not impressed. At all. None.
Its time to tighten up top level navigation. Its time to bring it back to a state of prestige. For too long there has been mission creep. Adding frivolous “other services”. It has to be driven first and foremost by visitor behavoir on the wed site. Bottom line is we have to give them what they are looking for and do it quickly. I am going to begin kicking it in to place at our Toyota store in Macon. Which will be fun now with another layer added by TDS in our stores website. I have a negitive veiw of this layer, but will work within its boundries, I will play the freakin game. Again, thank you Ford Direct.
Top level is the stores most importantreal estate Home|New|SUVs&Trucks|Used|Schedule Service|Explore
Tom Thornton Digital Operations Director Butler Auto Group
Top Level can then be supported or augmentned through buttons or search widgets on the home page. But the Top level nav has to remain simplified.
HOME: really ? you know what HOME is. NEW: Everything NEW. SEARCH, SPECIALS, link to SERVICE NEW, ect and on. SUVS&TRUCKS: Bending to the horde of visitors. We must put the vehicles in front on them as early as possible. Until the data changes of course. USED: The whole USED package. Link to TRADE CENTER too. SCHEDULE SERVICE: A DIRECT link to SCHEDULE SERVICE page. An action link. Get the vistor directly to a page that they can shedule a Service Appointment online. EXPLORE: Ok this is the biggie. Why because this is where all the other links will go that did not make the cut of Top Level Nav. I know, I know. Who wants to be second place right ?
For this store in particular, they do have a sub set that is important to them. Their TRADE CENTER. And I do agree that it is an important piece to the store, but not Top Level Nav. There are other ways to bring it to the front. Buttons being the easiest. At the same time, TRADE CENTER needs thoughtful placement through out the website. A banner here ad link in sub navigation there.