The COVID-19 pandemic brought many changes to the automotive industry. Dealers discovered new ways to manage associates, interact with customers, and conduct daily business. Today, Lissette Gole, Head of Automotive Retail for Google, joins CBT News to discuss how the pandemic changed specific areas of retail automotive and how dealers can manage those changes.
Gole begins the conversation by discussing four trends in which the industry experienced change due to the virus. The first trend is online retailing. Gole says that customers are ready for online retailing. Many car shoppers have already integrated online shopping into their lives with online marketplaces like Amazon. Customers are ready to embrace online car buying as new resources and digital tools enter the market to make the buying process easier.
The next trend is the new segment of vehicle shoppers that are entering the market. Gole says that these new customers are referred to as, “the new new vehicle shopper”. She says these shoppers are commuters that transition from public modes of transportation to personal vehicles. Personal vehicles make these shoppers feel safer than continuing to risk getting sick by using public transportation. Gole says these customers are flexible and don’t have brand loyalty because they are still learning about personal vehicles.
The next piece that is occurring is life events that are stimulating pent-up demand in auto shopping. Gole says this trend has paired with the new sector of car shoppers to drive vehicle sales over the last year.
The last trend Gole mentions is the uptick in Google searches and YouTube users specifically looking to buy a new vehicle. Google is seeing more searches per buyer, and there have been more YouTube visits than before the pandemic. Gole says that Google is seeing 21% more searches per vehicle car shopper than pre-COVID. YouTube views among car buyers increased by 40% in 2020.
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