Preparing your forecourt for winter

Examining how dealers can boost sales during the winter months

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Seasonal trends, such as the registration plate changes in March and September and poor weather deterring footfall in the winter months, have long posed a challenge for motor dealers. December can be a particularly quiet time for dealerships, as consumers focus their spending on year-end events such as Christmas and New Year.

Faced with this challenge, dealers seeking to minimise the impact of peaks and troughs in demand can take a number of measures to maintain car sales volumes. First and foremost is vehicle inventory. According to automotive CRM specialist, AutoRaptor, having the right stock of used and nearly-new cars is key to securing winter car sales.

AutoRaptor comments: “Smaller cars with fewer safety features and less-than-ideal handling won’t leave the forecourt very quickly when snow covers the streets. SUVs and other four-wheel drive vehicles are much more likely to get the attention of potential buyers.”

LifeShine provides an effective solution that enables the customer to protect and maintain the appearance of the new or used vehicle they are purchasing.

Unsurprisingly, SUVs, which now account for around a third of the total market share, take centre stage when it comes to the used market thanks to their growing popularity with motorists. Mark Bulmer, consumer specialist and SUV analyst for HPI, explains: “The SUV market has continued to boom. The huge choice of available models and all year round lifestyle appeal all serves to make the sector appealing to motorists and ensure that manufacturers are innovating to fuel demand. SUVs have become the vehicle of choice for families, meeting the demands of everyday life.”

With SUVs now covering all market segments from entry level to high performance and luxury with a continuing expansion of models and derivatives to meet demand, it is clear that dealers need to ensure SUVs are prominent in their winter vehicle offering.

As well as being vigilant on the forecourt, maintaining a strong customer experience is equally important during the winter months, compared to any other time of year. This is reinforced by research from Deloitte, which found that 71% of consumers that bought their car via a dealer rated their experience as being a somewhat or very important factor in choosing where to buy a vehicle. The survey also highlighted the significance of customer loyalty, revealing that 60% of consumers visited the dealer where they made their purchase more than once.

As a result, creating a warm and welcoming environment in the showroom has become an important consideration for manufacturers and dealers seeking to enhance the customer experience. For example, BMW has introduced ‘Isetta’ coffee bars, named after its iconic Bubble Car as part of its showroom corporate identity, while Audi Centres now feature an ‘Audi Lounge.’ Both facilities provide the opportunity for sales and aftersales customers alike to relax in a brand and product-focused environment.

Covering the basics, such as ensuring demonstrators and cars on the forecourt and in the showroom are well prepared and immaculately presented, is equally important in the winter months as it is throughout the year. After all, a customer is unlikely to be attracted to driving a demonstrator covered in grime and this could also have a negative impact on their purchasing decision.

Winter also provides a strong opportunity to boost incremental revenue through the sales of related accessories such as floor mats and boot liners and in the case of Land-Rover, even a portable shower which the manufacturer describes as being “ideal for washing your pet or rinsing off wetsuits or muddy bikes.”

Other products such as Autoglym’s LifeShine Vehicle Protection System (VPS) also provide dealers with the opportunity to boost incremental revenue at the point of sale by providing an effective solution that enables the customer to protect and maintain the appearance of the new or used vehicle they are purchasing.

As market leaders in paint protection, Autoglym is well placed to support dealers regardless of the season. LifeShine’s formulation features colour enhancement technology that provides superior depth of colour, helping to return used cars closer to their brand new paint finish. Tests carried out with four competitor products showed that the improved LifeShine product had a superior depth of colour difference of up to 31%.

To find out more about how LifeShine can boost your business, please get in touch.

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