In today’s marketplace, customers are equipped with digital tools to do most of their shopping from smartphones, which includes vehicles. But since the onset of the pandemic, dealers have had to reshape their existing marketing strategies to keep up with this digital landscape. Alex Vetter joined CBT News to talk more about this digital shift and dealer marketing. Vetter is the President and CEO of Cars.com
Vetter begins the conversation by discussing the continuous impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. While dealers were worried at first, retail automotive made a strong push during the pandemic to reach new all-time sales records. Vetter said that 57% of consumers said they purchased a vehicle as a result of the pandemic, according to a survey conducted by cars.com. Many new car buyers are entering the market to avoid using public transportation and ride-sharing.
Vetter then speaks on how advertising has changed for dealers over the last few months. Vetter said that most dealers, before the pandemic, were mostly investing most of their ad budgets on Google and traditional television. Despite many dealers cutting their marketing budgets to historic lows, they were still able to reach car buyers. Vetter said that Cars.com experienced the same trend as the company cuts its marketing budget but still experienced high traffic levels.
Vetter said the pandemic has accelerated the integration of digital retailing for dealers. Dealers are starting to embrace aspects of the digital space such as online trade-ins. Many dealers see the success of online retailers such as Carvana or Vroom and have made the commitment to meet customers where they are.
Looking ahead, Vetter believes the current success of the industry can be sustainable, however, he says he could also see things leveling out. According to dealers, he’s been in contact with, Vetter says that dealers are experiencing a soft month in November. Despite this, Vetter believes the industry will have a healthy year in 2021, as long as dealers stay committed to these new digital trends that have come to the forefront this year.
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