The collision and auto body repair department is a huge opportunity for franchise dealerships to improve revenues and support profitability in a slower-than-normal selling environment. With economists predicting an economic downturn for the next few years, it has never been more important to consider how body shop digital marketing can help support total revenues and profitability for the franchise dealership.
Current Economic Forecasts
The U.S. economy is slowing while the global economy is expected to experience sluggish growth through 2020 (International Monetary Fund, 2019). The automotive industry also expects new-vehicle sales to decline by 3% in 2019, with sluggish sales through 2020 (Charniga, 2019).
The Collision & Auto Body Repair Shop Market
The U.S. collision repair and auto body industry have been valued at approximately $50 billion, with an annual growth rate of 3.9% (IBISWorld, 2019). The collision repair market segment was valued at 176.3 million in 2018 with a projected growth rate of 2.3% through 2025 (Grandview Research, 2019). The chart below demonstrates the forecasted growth of the collision repair market despite an expected economic downturn.
The collision repair and auto body market is dominated by four large corporations accounting for nearly 1,800 collision repair centers. The cash flowing to these repair centers should be viewed as cash being left on the table by franchise dealerships.
Franchise dealerships are leaving piles of money on the table for auto body and collision repair services. Consumers are buying vehicles at a dealership and getting their auto body services from another provider. When a consumer buys a car from a franchise dealership, they should think of the franchise dealership’s auto body department first.
Clearly, this isn’t happening given the data as the average vehicle owner is choosing to send their business to one of the Big 4 body shops (Popley, 2018). What can the franchise dealer do? Leveraging the power of digital marketing to promote auto body services is an excellent strategy for the auto body department to increase revenue while mitigating declines in new-car sales to advance profitability for the dealership.
Collision Center Website Innovation = Competitive Advantage
The world is ever-changing and the automotive industry is no exception. With automotive consumers increasingly conducting business online, a franchise dealership needs a cutting-edge auto body department website that integrates all of digital marketing’s best practices. Leaving digital marketing up to an in-house staff without expertise is a mistake in a market where digital marketing is a tremendous source of competitive advantage.
The incredible advantage for a franchise dealer to outsource their auto body department’s digital marketing is securing core competencies of digital marketing experts. Digital marketing experts can guide franchise dealerships in setting up a dedicated auto body department site that is professionally written and formatted to drive organic rankings.
Digital Marketing is the Future
Ignoring the influence of digital marketing on today’s auto body service consumer is choosing to ignore where the market is headed. Consumers are increasingly flocking to the internet for the goods and services that they need to support their busy lifestyles, and the auto body shop industry is no exception. Consumers rely on the internet to research vehicles, schedule maintenance using online portals and even purchase vehicles online. If a franchise dealership wants to reach the auto body department’s customers where they are at, digital marketing offers the best way to do it.
Knowing Consumers & Convenience
Consumers have shown a preference towards the convenience of the one-stop shop, but few franchise dealerships market to their customers about their auto body department’s service offerings. Franchise dealerships must be more diligent in telling customers that they operate an in-house auto body department that can repair damages as needed throughout their vehicle’s life. Digital marketing is a powerful means of communicating an auto body department’s services to loyal and new customers alike. When consumers search online for an auto body shop, will your franchise dealership be ready to secure their business or will they continue to go elsewhere?
Franchise dealerships are facing an economic downturn that is expected to create a slower-than-normal sales environment through 2020. The auto body shop and collision repair industries are now dominated by four large corporations. The revenue going to the Big 4 currently represents an opportunity for franchise dealerships to secure a share of a $40 billion market. If a consumer buys a vehicle from a dealership, they should think of that specific dealership’s auto body department first when needing auto body or collision repair services. The auto body department is an incredible opportunity to mitigate a decline in new-car sales volume. The best way to communicate to customers about an auto body department’s services is through digital marketing expertise. By leveraging the influence and power of digital marketing in promoting auto body and collision repair services, the auto body department can pay off big time for franchise dealerships in a slower-than-normal selling environment.
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