Prep Your Lot for Summer Success

By: Danielle Longenecker, Product Marketing Manager

The summer sizzle is upon us! Summer vacations, graduations, college students returning home, and family reunions. These events keep everyone on the move, which can be an obstacle for new and used car dealerships trying to get shoppers on their lot. There is usually more activity in the auto industry during the summer months; however, this year has been off to a slow start and auto dealers are now up against the popular travel months.

According to Wards Auto, there have been four straight months of declining demand, with the past two months being well below expectations. In order to stay afloat this summer, automotive dealers will need to capitalize on search trends and mobile marketing to keep their dealership lots hot.

Dominion Cross-Sell data from June and July 2016 shows SUVs (compact and small) making up the number one and number two top segments sold last summer. Ranking among the top 10 includes, compact and mid-sized vehicles, full-sized SUV, and minivans. Surprisingly, the sport vehicles didn’t make the top 10 and held only 2% of the market during the summer months.

Based on the top vehicles sold last summer, it would suggest capacity and cargo space are important to people.

Based on the top vehicles sold last summer, it would suggest capacity and cargo space are important to people. This correlates with those family vacations and road trips. We mentioned sport vehicles ranking outside of the top 10 as surprising, because automotive marketers are quick to assume convertibles and two-door sports cars are strong summer promotions. Don’t fall into this assumption. Look at the data and determine what your market really needs. You can identify these trends and needs by analyzing Dominion Cross-Sell data, as well as Google Search Trends.

According to a report from WhosOn, search volume on automotive keywords traditionally spikes and dips throughout the year, with the spring and summer months being especially volatile. Early May and July are when the highest search volumes occur, whereas the second-lowest is in early June. Pay attention to these search trends. Optimize your dealership website’s VDPs and marketing strategies to align with what your shoppers are looking for. For example, some of the top automotive search terms for summer months are related to “Summer servicing”, “Weather accessories”, “How-to”, “Sales”, “Tire”, and “Craigslist”.

Summer events, like the Indy 500, can also attribute to spikes in search volume and interest in certain makes and models. Dealers in Indiana, Ohio, Kentucky, Illinois and Michigan could all capitalize on this event with specific models, highlighting vehicle specs, and even hosting Indy 500-inspired events on their lots.

One more thing to keep in mind during the summer months, is to optimize for mobile marketing.

One more thing to keep in mind during the summer months, is to optimize for mobile marketing. With people on-the-go with travel and summer activities, mobile search volume tends to increase during this time. Be sure your VDPs are mobile-ready and your marketing efforts are mobile-friendly.

New and Used cars both tend to experience the same seasonal ups and downs in sales volume. Make sure your all of your inventory is planned, merchandised and marketed properly to capitalize on the summer season.

Stay tuned for more summer season merchandising tips throughout June and July, and take advantage of the Summer Merchandising Bundle from Dominion Dealer Specialties. Call 877.421.1040 to create a bundle to meet your needs today!

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