Did you know there are more than 18,250 new car dealerships in the U.S. alone? That doesn't include used car dealerships or private lots. That means that if you're going to compete with all those other dealerships -- and make a profit -- you need to think out of the box.
In general, car dealerships focus on three traditional ways of marketing. TV, radio, and direct mail. With digital marketing taking flight across all industries, car dealerships are doing quite well in that aspect too.
So, you have your website. You have your social media accounts. You're sharing great content to boost your SEO. But, what are you doing in-house? Just because you get a potential buyer through your door, that's all they are: a potential customer. In fact, 63% of car buyers are actively "showrooming" while they're at a dealership!
If a better deal on the same model comes along at a dealer across town -- out the door they go. And with it, goes your commission. So how do you keep your potential customers engaged? What can you do to close the deal? We've got the answers: digital sign boards.
Take a look at 15 ways you can use digital signage at your dealership.
What Is a Digital Sign Board?
Before we get started on ideas for digital sign boards that will help you close the deal, let's go over what digital signage is. Digital signage is a very broad term. In essence, it's a screen that uses LED, LCD, or projection to display text, images, or video. It can be live-action video or animated. It can display information or provide entertainment. Digital signage can be stationary or mobile. We told you it was a pretty broad definition!
You've seen digital signage in restaurants for several years. They're the digital menu boards at fast-food joints and local diners that let you know what you can order. So, how does that translate to selling cars? Pretty well, actually. We're going to give you 15 ideas on how to use digital signage on your showroom floor.
We're going to break it up into sections since you likely have a showroom and a service department. Yes, you can use digital signage content in your service department too!
If you've wowed your potential client with great site content and engaging social media posts, they'll be standing in your showroom in no time. Now what? Getting them in the door was half the battle. Now, you need to get them to sign on the dotted line.
Adding a showroom display won't magically make that happen. But, it could influence them enough to put down their smartphone and focus on what you have to offer.
1. New Car Features
But, you get the customers in the door with new vehicles. No one can resist the new car smell!
If someone has their heart set on one model, featuring the latest and greatest to hit your showroom floor may sway them a bit. Put a video displaying the interior and some of the state-of-the-art features on your digital sign board.
Even if they don't get swayed to the brand-new model, some of the optional features may interest them.
2. New Car Promotions
Likewise, displaying your dealerships' latest promotions can also affect their buying decision. Most manufacturers offer cash back incentives to new car buyers. These incentives are enticing to a buyer who may not have a large down payment.
Passing on dealer incentives to the customer is another way they can save money. Of course, you're under no obligation to do so and customers usually know this. This is why it can increase a customer's faith in your dealership.
If your dealership is offering a bonus this month -- like a cruise or free maintenance for two years -- that's another promotion to display. Incentives are in place to entice a customer to buy a car. So, entice them!
3. Scrolling Ticker of Information
The scrolling info ticker isn't the most exciting part of a newscast or sporting event. So, make it exciting.
In-between the weather and local sports scores, add in funny anecdotes or jokes. You can slip in a silly word of the day. Add anything you can think of to shake it up a bit and get your customers feeling comfortable.
4. Customer Testimonials
Remember when we told you that 63% of shoppers showroom while they're at the dealership? Guess what else they're doing? Reading reviews.
Sites like Google, Yelp!, and Edmunds allow car buyers to read about what other people liked and didn't like about your dealership. These reviews can often make or break a car business.
You can have your salespeople offer incentives to people who leave reviews -- good or bad -- like a free car wash. You can make a contest out of it with your sales staff. The salesperson who gets the most customers to leave reviews wins a gift certificate to a local restaurant.
The more reviews you get, the more of an authority you are in the eyes of the public. It's a win-win for everyone.
Now, take those reviews and testimonials and put them on display in the showroom. If a salesperson's name comes up a few times and a customer happens to be working with them sees it, it may evoke more confidence in the sale.
Choose reviews from aggregate sites instead of having customers write one as your hand them their keys. It won't come across as authentic. But, pulling reviews from a couple sites and featuring them can increase a customer's willingness to do business with you.
5. "Meet the Team"
This is a great way to get your customers to feel comfortable in the always-awkward new car showroom. Showing a short clip of each of your sales staff introducing themselves. They can even share a little bit about who they are. You can event feature events where your employees having fun. Customers love to do business with people who having fun and enjoying their work.
Are they local? Did they recently move here? This information may seem trivial, but it could form a connection with a customer.
For example, if your newest salesperson is from Canada, a customer may find that interesting. They'll ask questions or share that they've vacationed there before. You've just increased your salesperson's chance of sealing the deal.
But, don't stop at the sales team! Include the finance and service departments too. Make you feature your managers and include their contact info in case a customer needs it.
Sales is all about making connections. With your digital signage, you increased your chances of doing exactly that. Not to mention this could be a very good ways to motivate your employees.
6. Dealership Commercials
There's a good chance you run TV ads in some form on your local television. But, have you ever filmed a 30-second spot and wished you had more time? Now's your chance! You can run minute-long or longer ads about your dealership. Instead of stock footage, you can shoot your own.
70% of car buyers say they're influenced by videos they see on YouTube. Give them what they want!
7. New Finance Rates
Most people understand that the price on the sticker isn't what they'll finance. People are aware that they'll pay interest on the car loan which can make a big difference when it comes to affordability.
Look at it this way: How many times were you convinced you had a deal done only to pass it to the finance department and it fell through? The finance team didn't do anything wrong. The customer wasn't prepared for the final monthly payment. Putting the latest finance rates on a display board takes away the shock value when the customer gets to the finance department.
It also calms customers' nerves. It can be pretty nerve-wracking to sit and wait for the final paperwork to come through. Ease their anxiety by listing the different rates available from the start.
You can even simplify it by showing the going rate for fair, good, and excellent credit. Make sure you add a disclaimer as you can't promise everyone gets locked in for those rates.
8. Used Car Super Sales
With all those used car sales, you must have a lot of them on your lot. Depending on what time of year it is, you may need to move them out to make room for the new model year.
When you cycle through these cars, do you offer super sales? If so, do any potential customers know about them?
More than likely, you send out direct mailers and drop a radio spot. But if you have a digital sign board in your showroom, you'll attract people who are already trying to buy a car.
And if Tip #1 revved their engine enough to buy that brand-new model, they may know someone else looking to buy a car. Word of mouth is a powerful thing. Especially when it comes to car dealerships.
9. Community Information
If you want your potential customers to feel connected to your dealership, let them know that you're connected in the community.
If there's a 5K you're sponsoring or if you're involved in a local charity's toy drive, put it on your digital board! Customers will see you care about the community and that can help increase their trust.
10. Dealership History
Don't be afraid to share your story in a video. Not only will it help your customers pass the time, but they'll learn a little more about you.
How long have you been in business? Did you get the car bug from your dad? Why do you love selling cars in your town?
If you plan on expanding your dealership or adding another location, talk about that too. It can be anything about you that generates engaging content that will make people feel great about buying a car from you.
Service Department Displays
Most people only think of the showroom aspect of a dealership. But the service department plays a huge role in your success. A recent study found 50% of car buyers said their service department experience "greatly influenced" their decision to buy from that dealer again.
Sadly, only 41% of people surveyed said they met the service department team during their buying process. But, 53% of them said that interaction influenced them to take their car to the dealer for service.
So, as you can see, you don't want to forget about your service department! This is actually bonus time you get to solidify your relationship with your customer.
What's better than converting a potential customer into a paying one? Getting them to repeat their business with you.
11. Digital Menu of Prices and Services
Dealer service departments get a bad rap when it comes to pricing. Depending on where you live, this may not necessarily be the case. Dealer prices can be competitive with independents for simple maintenance like oil changes and new tires. Do your customers know that?
Most new cars come with warranties and some dealers offer free maintenance contracts for a period of time. These guarantee new car owners return to your dealership for service. Eventually, something needs to get done that isn't covered under warranty. Or, they could go to the 10-minute oil change shop down the street not knowing your prices are comparable.
Putting your prices on a digital display in the service center waiting room will make people realize you're not as expensive as they think.
12. Service Program Information
We've mentioned maintenance contracts a couple of times. These aren't only add-ons for new buyers. Many dealerships allow people to buy into these programs.
If your dealership is one of them, share the information about it on your digital sign board.
13. Waiting Queue
This one's nice and easy -- and a no-brainer! Display the waiting queue on a display in the waiting room.
This does two things. First, the customers won't ask your staff what the status of their car is, only to get angry at their response. Second, it's a pretty cool customer service feature to have!
14. Featured Specials and Promotions
If you have any special offers like 50% oil changes or $50 off a tune-up, putting the promotion on your display is a great way to up-sell without being pushy.
The customer may also want to schedule future service while they're there, which guarantees a service sale.
15. Maintenance Tips
Your service department is in the business of making money. But, they're also in the business of making customers happy. Offering simple maintenance tips -- like listing a recommended service schedule -- does both.
Don't the discount the "well, I'm already here crowd." These are folks who may not have realized it was time for a fluid flush or tire rotation. Or, they didn't know about it at all.
Most people would rather get something handled while they're already there or at least schedule something while it's on their mind. Putting maintenance tips on your digital sign board can actually bring in more sales.
Are Your Ready to Put Digital Sign Boards in Your Showroom?
Putting a digital sign board in your showroom, service area, and even the finance department is a simple move that can go a long way. Competition in the automotive industry is fierce. You need every edge you can get to close the deal -- whether it's at the point of sale or in your service department.
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