Don't worry about the footfall when your showroom is back open
Whether you’re opening your showroom or not based on the government's announcement that car showrooms are allowed to open on the 1st June, you can still carry on selling vehicles. It might not be the right time for you to open and that’s OK. It might be that you are happy to open but you may not see the footfall you hoped for a while. It might be that everything just goes swimmingly! It doesn’t matter if customers visit your showroom or not, they can still buy your vehicles - through your website and that’s the way they may prefer to buy going forward.
As Theo Paphitis mentioned the other day, retail ‘will never be the same’ after coronavirus. Mr Paphitis believes the shift to online buying has been accelerated by five years, as he's experienced in his own house. We’ve seen it in our own household. We do buy a lot online anyway but items that we didn’t used to we now do. An example of this is even though garden centres are now open again and we’ve needed gardening stuff, we’ve still bought all this stuff online as we'd got used to it when restrictions were tighter. We’ve ordered stuff like grass seed, a hose pipe spray gun, vegetable seeds, you name it, we bought it for the garden (we are pretty useless normally when it comes to maintaining the garden but now think we are professional gardeners!). The pandemic has changed consumers’ buying habits and behaviour and we are yet to see how this will impact the automotive industry for the foreseeable future.
Yes, the items I’ve given you an example of are low cost but the way people are searching for high end items is changing too. During lockdown my sister and her boyfriend decided they would like to buy a house together. They know the area they want to relocate to, their budget and they have a set criteria for the house they would like. They found a house they loved on Rightmove and enquired straight away. They were offered a virtual tour initially which they thought would be a little pointless and they wouldn’t get much out of it but they were pleasantly surprised! They managed to look at everything they wanted to during the tour and got a real feel for the house.
It was a win win for everyone as the sellers didn’t have to put themselves at risk letting someone into their house that wasn’t fully interested and my sister didn’t need to spend time travelling to the house and putting herself at risk too. They’ve had a viewing of the house since but it meant it wasn’t a waste of time for anyone as they were serious about the house. This could be the same with your showroom, only people who are serious and really need to see the car before buying it will visit your showroom.
What we would advise is to give your customers the showroom experience wherever they are in the world. Whether by cash, or finance, you will be surprised how many customers are willing to complete their vehicle purchases online, or the number that would reserve it and pay a small deposit. Just because your showroom may be back open on the 1st June doesn’t mean you should close any existing digital doors and wait to see what happens.
We’re still able to offer you a free trial of some of our digital commerce solutions, helping you sell effectively remotely and allowing your customers to buy with ease from your website. You don’t need to sweat about what's going to happen when your showroom is back open if you are already giving your customers other ways of buying your cars. Reimage your showroom experience into the new way of buying. If you want more information, contact us via email on: firstname.lastname@example.org or phone us on: 0800 021 0888.