We’ve all heard the motto, “necessity is the mother of invention.” Auto dealers are especially taking this to heart as the industry grapples with ongoing hits from the COVID-19 (coronavirus disease), as well as new state and local mandates.
Despite so many increasing challenges, many dealers across the country are innovating their way through this crisis. From enhancing their online presence to expanding their menu of services, they are finding new methods to reach – and deliver vehicles to – customers.
So far, we’ve seen three significant ways in which dealers are diversifying or adding to their offerings to stabilize their businesses and navigate the current storm.
Expanding online business and home delivery
While online auto sales have certainly existed for some time, and more and more auto dealers have been venturing into this territory, the current reality has quickly spurred many more dealers into the digital realm.. Online traffic continues to grow, even as foot traffic drops off, and dealers are aware that these remote customers can serve as their lifeblood over the coming weeks and months.
Online vehicle purchases don’t have to be limited to intra-city customers either. More and more dealers are partnering with logistics-and-services companies to deliver vehicles across state lines. ACERTUS utilizes a hub-and-spoke model for last-mile delivery , where a vehicle is delivered to a distribution hub, washed, given the proper license plate and then delivered to its final destination at the customer’s front door.
Tom McParland, writer for The Drive, explains that online-shopping processes must be simplified, and communications should have quick turnaround: “…any store that is serious about moving units in the age of this pandemic and beyond has to have a trained staff that not only can respond to customers quickly, but also effectively.” Effectively, every car inquiry or online quote request deserves a timely and professional response.
In fact, GM has gotten a head start in helping its participating dealerships, kicking off a wide-reaching advertising campaign called “Shop Click Drive” that promotes its online sales program. Other automakers may soon follow suit.
Offering extra services
Services formerly considered VIP or white glove are now considered standard by many dealers trying to move vehicles on deserted lots. Knowing most customers don’t want to leave their homes, some dealers are offering services like at-home test drives and at-home appraisals, as well as complimentary transportation of vehicles receiving maintenance or repairs.
Ford even recently announced it has a new “vehicle disinfection process” for all its cars, at all dealerships across the country. Dealerships across the world are paying attention to customers’ growing concerns regarding cleanliness and safety – the company MG Motors in India has even launched a service called “Disinfect and Deliver.” This sanitize-first approach could be a wise one for all US dealerships to follow, regardless of whether they’re mandated to do so by an official order or carmaker strategy. Customers are clearly, and understandably, looking for high hygiene standards.
Both out of great service and necessity, last-mile delivery of vehicles is quickly becoming the new standard. While it is up to individual dealerships on what all this delivery will entail – and what partners they’ll choose to help them with this venture – it’s becoming clear that home delivery has to be a standard offering for the foreseeable future.
Adding financial incentives
Of course, layering great deals on top of all these service offerings sweetens the deal for prospective customers. This is exactly what many carmakers are doing, in hopes of helping dealerships to move cars during this uncertain time.
Many automakers have launched deferred-payment programs, and with Ford’s “Built to Lend a Hand program,” consumers can get up to six months without a car payment. FCA, Hyundai, Genesis and Nissan have quickly followed suit with their own deferred-payment programs.
Low-financing-rate offers are also popping up everywhere, with GM even offering customers zero percent interest for up to 84 months.
Dealers across the country are coming up with their own offers, too – for example, a California dealer recently offered a 2020 Chevy Trax for $61 a month on a two-year lease with $999 down.
Automakers are offering dealerships quite a lot of available incentives to help move vehicles during this unprecedented time, and coupled with online ordering, home delivery and other services, it may be just enough to convince social-distanced and sheltered-in-place consumers to take the auto-investment plunge.
How ACERTUS can help
Technology-enabled auto logistics-and-services provider, ACERTUS specializes in solutions like drive away services, personal vehicle shipping, last-mile delivery, vehicle storage, quick title-and-registration, and more. Whether a vehicle needs to be delivered 50 miles or five-hundred miles away, ACERTUS has auto-delivery options. A flexible and ever-adapting business, we commit ourselves to partnership and coming up with solutions that match our customers’ unique needs.
Through our network of 6,600 carefully vetted carriers and more than 1,000 driveaway drivers, ACERTUS can accommodate any move from any location across the country. ACERTUS’ last-mile delivery guarantees a safe and premium vehicle transport by one of, or a combination of, our vehicle transport services – offering a full suite of services and proper cleaning before final delivery. Additionally, ACERTUS offers title-and-registration services through a team that is familiar with the complexities of all 50 states’ rules and regulations, as well as all temporary state-mandated requirements.
While the industry is currently navigating unchartered waters with the COVID-19 crisis, there are many ways a logistics provider can simplify processes and improve visibility. Through its transportation management system, VINlocity, ACERTUS provides customers with quick click to quote and order capabilities. VINlocity also includes robust analytics and reporting, all in one centralized location. Additionally, customers receive regular tracking updates and nightly reports on all vehicles, including those in storage so vehicle status and location is never in question.
ACERTUS is versed in out-of-the-box thinking and strategizing. The team is regularly familiarizing themselves with COVID-19-related policies by state and locality, as they develop or change. The company remains fully operational at this time, and has a business continuity plan in place to minimize any potential operational disruptions.
Learn more about ACERTUS’ complete solutions for auto logistics and services, visit https://www.acertusdelivers.com. To connect with one of our team members, contact us here or call us at 855-ACERTUS (855-223-7887).