How many cars does it take to serve a single car shopper? The answer may surprise you. It is not 100 or 500. It is truly only one. Especially if it is the right one in the right environment.
Car shoppers are accustomed to seeing hundreds of vehicles on dealers’ lots. They used to expect to see every color in every trim. Today, due to inventory issues, this is simply not the case for most dealers. Most dealer lots look more like a shopping mall parking lot on a Sunday morning than what car shoppers are used to seeing.
Where is the excitement? To make things worse, the news has filled shoppers’ minds with ideas like, “you can’t get the car you want,” “you will have to pay $10,000 or more over sticker” and “you will have to wait months to get your car.” Combined with an empty lot, how are dealers supposed to get car shoppers excited in today’s environment?
The answer is simple … the same way you always have in the past. Without hundreds of shiny vehicles lined up perfectly, dealers need to use the tools at their disposal. Use ramps to highlight the vehicles you do have available. Put your ramps on the front line and plaster them with signage that tells the true story about your inventory availability. Educate the public that passes your store. Tell them that you are open for business and selling cars daily with more arriving all the time. Let them know that you will find the car they want and will get it for them quickly. And of course, tell them that you are interested in buying their car. Don’t hide in an empty showroom and wait for things to get better. Be proactive and use every tool at your disposal.
You can also get creative with your lot layout. Expand your customer parking area across the entire front of the building and even make it two rows. You can park some service and employee vehicles here to give the illusion of a fuller lot.
Remember that almost all car shoppers have always come to dealerships looking for a single car or truck, not hundreds. They may have driven a few, but in the end, they left with one. They took delivery and left happily with just one vehicle. Needing hundreds of vehicles on the lot to serve customers well is a construct in our heads, not the consumers’. You only need one vehicle to send a car shopper home as a happy car owner.
By placing the cars and trucks you have on ramps, you will draw the eye and attention away from the empty pavement. While the eyes of shoppers and passersby are there, deliver your message by covering your ramps with signage. Use the service and employee vehicles creatively.
You have weathered storms before and this too shall pass.