Automotive dealerships spend considerable effort and money attracting shoppers to the lot – as they should. The lot is where the action is. But it’s not the only place that matters.

As we discuss in the newly published Cars.com Guide to The 4Ps of Automotive MarketingTM, consumers have redefined our notion of place in the digital age. By the time shoppers visit the lot, they will have navigated a complex journey from awareness to purchase, one that includes exposure to radio ads, display ads, OEM websites, content on automotive marketplaces such as Cars.com, and many other sources.

In fact, by the time they visit a lot, consumers will have visited up to 9 auto-related websites on average.[1] Unsurprisingly, more than half of automobile shoppers don’t contact dealers before they visit the lot.[2] Those shoppers are getting their information elsewhere during their digital journey.

The on-the-lot experience is stronger than ever. But the experience has changed, as a more informed shopper engages with dealers’ sales teams – and use their mobile devices to continue researching vehicles even while they’re looking at a dealer’s inventory on-the-lot.

In response, dealerships should:

  • Meet Shoppers Where They Are. Savvy dealers are thinking of place in context of the experience wherever a shopper finds a dealer – in a search result, on a review site, in an article, and on the lot. And they are allocating their marketing budgets accordingly.
  • Redefine the on-the-Lot Experience. Dealers should double down on one of their most precious assets in the digital age: the off-the-lot experience. Shoppers can research dealerships and salespeople on third-party sites, but the sale remains an offline experience. Savvy dealers are getting better at turning their lots into destinations that consumers will want to return to for service time and again.

Dealerships are competing at a time when The 4Ps of Automotive Marketing have changed forever. The new 4Ps of Automotive Marketing are price, product, place, and person, with promotion becoming an element of all 4Ps rather than standing apart on its own. Read The Cars.com Guide to The 4Ps of Automotive Marketing to learn more!

 

[1] JD Power New Auto Shopper Study, 2017.

 

[2] Cars.com, Mobile Influence on Car Shopping, January 2017.