How the COVID-19 Pandemic Changed Customer-Dealership Interactions?
The US auto industry was slated to sell as many as 16.5 million vehicles throughout 2020. This was the forecast during the early days of the year when the COVID-19 was still not a pandemic and the virus did not reach US shores. As time went by, both morbidity and mortality numbers started climbing and businesses all around the world had to be shut down to bring the spread in control. That initial estimate plunged to 12 million in a matter of days and the economy took a nosedive to make the real sales numbers even grimmer. COVID-19 changed the auto industry, like others, fast. Along with the ecosystem and nature of doing business, the pandemic also changed the very relationship that the customers and dealers previously shared. Advertisements became more about awareness and queries became increasingly about health. While the world is still reeling, we take a peek here into the modified customer-dealer relationship and what it did to buying used cars in Greer, SC
Why dealerships had to modify their messages?
Two reasons stand out almost instantly when we think back to the time when dealerships started to modify their messages which they sent out both to their current and prospective customers.
- One, confusing government regulations during stay-at-home or shelter-in-place orders.
- And two, public fear surrounding COVID-19 and its capacity to take lives.
When the state governments started imposing shelter-in-place orders all throughout the United States, they missed out specifying precisely what all could remain open under the umbrella of essential services. A few governors allowed car servicing to continue but ordered car sales to shut down. Others categorized both sales and services in the essential list. This confusion prompted many dealers with buy here pay here in Greer, SC to just send out messages stating they are open and functioning so that their customers are clear about what was going on.
Also, dealerships had the responsibility of bringing back public confidence to buying used cars in Greer, SC as many warning bells were constantly being tolled by many experts. Epidemiologists warned about going out of the house. Economists warned about a coming crisis. A sentiment of fear rose among people where they started questioning buying cars from two angles – going to the dealership and investing the money. After proclaiming that they are open, dealers sent out messages saying the safety precautions they are taking to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and offering incentives to finance used cars cheap
What are the messages now?
On the brink of entering August 2020, the United States is fairly open. Businesses are gradually coming back to life and the economy is recovering. Now, dealers do not have to keep proclaiming that they are open. That is well known. But they still have to send out awareness messages regarding the steps they are taking to maintain social distancing, their sanitizing routine, the staff and customer safety, and so on. People have become more health-conscious now. And they will not visit a dealer if its safety guidelines are not properly propagated. Another message that used car dealerships are sending out is regarding their migration to the digital world. The top dealer is trying to complete as many transactions as possible online. The range of services now includes virtual tours of the car lot to receiving the necessary papers at home to in-house financing in Greer, SC. This is a change that most car buyers are not accustomed to. Vehicles have seldom been bought online. Here again, dealers have to create that confidence among the public to get them to use the online services.
These new messages are here to stay
Dealerships will have to continue with these messages for at least till the end of 2021. The interactions will have to be awareness-heavy rather than being advertisement-heavy as people will take time to get accustomed to this new way of buying used cars. With that being said, advertisement messages cannot vanish completely. People will still want to know why a dealer is the best and what all offers are available but the new normal will diminish sales in context and focus on information in the ongoing dealer-customer relationship. Dealerships who were quick to adapt their messages and interactions have seen steady sales figures of used cars in Greer, SC throughout the pandemic. This shows why adaptability is so important in business