Mind the gap: sales-driven strategies to identify revenue and performance wins
Mind the gap: sales-driven strategies to identify revenue and performance wins

Mind the gap: sales-driven strategies to identify revenue and performance wins

Balancing stock pricing and lead management effectively are important parts of building a successful dealership. 

A recent study, conducted by CitNOW Group, has underlined the importance of this. Some 91% of retailers feel that a clear pricing strategy is crucial, and 81% feel they’re keeping up with an evolving industry and adjusting prices accordingly. However, a deeper analysis using data from REALinsights, found that 40% needed a change of more than 2% either up or down based on the current market rate. 

In a fast-changing marketplace, fine-tuning pricing and managing leads successfully can make a real difference to speed of sale, customer satisfaction and ultimately your bottom line. This blog explores the key to defining a successful pricing and lead management strategy and highlights four tools for making the most of it. 

Defining your stock strategy  

Evaluating the impact of your stock strategy, and making sure inventory has the broadest possible appeal to customers, involves considering factors such as vehicle age, mileage, desirability, demand, make, model, fuel type, and how long each vehicle has been in stock. All of this information, alongside changing market conditions, helps define the ideal pricing for each vehicle – but taking care of all of this manually can be extremely time-consuming and inefficient. 

This is where automated business intelligence tools, like REALinsights from CitNOW Group, are indispensable in streamlining the stock strategy process. As an example of what is possible, one of our customers who used REALinsights over a six-month period boosted average Gross Profit Per Unit (GPPU) by £250, and reduced average days to sell by up to 25 days per vehicle. The same intelligence has also helped them boost overall sales volume, increase upselling success with products like GAP insurance and paint protection, and gain more repeat aftersales and servicing business. 

At the same time, good pricing should come hand-in-hand with effective lead management, so that customers feel they’re getting a quality experience as well as a fair price. Our research has found that 24% of customers make enquiries outside regular working hours, and yet customers generally still expect rapid responses: a quarter expect an answer within 30 minutes through the same platform they enquired on. Technology can help with this, either through tools like React for lead management, or through innovative means of communication such as CitNOW Conversations, powered by Web1on1, for online messaging. 

Four tools for maximising your stock online 

We know that your ideal scenario is to have plenty of leads coming in all the time, which convert into high volumes of sales, so that your stock continually refreshes and recycles. Many retailers are actively investing in technology to enhance and support their sales processes, and we recommend tools that cover these four areas: 

  • Visually appealing assets: high-quality images on listing pages that display both interior and exterior features are vital for engaging customer interest and informing them on key details. Enhanced imagery tools like Auto Imaging can ensure you create the best possible content, and drive excellent first impressions and more compelling online retail experiences.
  • Engaging sales videos: these form a powerful tool in giving potential customers answers to their specific queries, as well as a personalised showroom experience from the comfort of their own homes. CitNOW Sales can be used to create personalised connections with customers through tailored communications which build rapport and foster trusted relationships whilst increasing appointment show rates.
  • Effective digital communications: responding promptly to customer enquiries with personalised, informative content is crucial to maintaining customer interest at every stage of the sales journey. A combination of video tools like CitNOW Sales and messaging management through CitNOW Conversations can help achieve this.
  • Seamless customer experiences: delivering a smooth customer journey from first contact to conversion can put the customer at ease. An all-in-one sales management system like Dealerweb Showroom comes into play once an efficient stock strategy is in place and leads come in. It enables seamless sales operations through smooth integrations into third-party systems for better customer experiences. 
In summary

A customised, adaptable stock strategy is essential for success in the modern automotive retail landscape. This means ensuring that vehicles are presented in the best possible light with high-quality content, and delivering timely and effective communication throughout the sales journey. Tools like Auto Imaging, CitNOW Sales, REALinsights and Dealerweb come together to deliver on these expectations, and help make your bottom line as healthy as it possibly can be. 

CitNOW Group’s range of solutions can make it easier for you to manage your stock strategy, maintain quality presentation and stay connected with customers. Take a closer look at how we can help you.  Find out more here.

Woman in a new care driving away
Woman in a new care driving away

Adapting to change: key automotive trends from 2023

As the automotive industry continues to change rapidly thanks to evolving customer demands, environmental concerns, increasing regulations and emerging new technologies, now is a more opportune time than ever for dealerships like yours to remain at the forefront of industry trends.

Knowing what these trends are, and being able to react to them, can be critical for maintaining profitability, maximising the quality of customer service, and growing in the long term. This blog explores the biggest changes of 2023 so far, and what you can do to make the most of all the data and technology at your disposal.

Key automotive trends for 2023 – and beyond

We know that retailers are always looking at how to maximise lead generation and increase sales and aftersales opportunities. Three particular trends associated with this have stood out this year, and the good news is that retailers have been able to use technology to respond in all three cases:

  • Used car pricing: it has been a common challenge this year to strike a delicate balance in the pricing of used cars. The ability to track price and market fluctuations has given some retailers a real edge in this area, with tools like REALinsights INstock helping retailers check and update vehicle stock in seconds. Our data has found that INstock users have increased profit by £250 per unit and sold vehicles an average of 25 days faster.
  • Personalised touchpoints: this year, Real Time Communications (RTC), part of the CitNOW Group, has seen an increase of 5.5% in outbound aftersales calls to customers. At the same time, CitNOW has been utilised for 4.13% more sales and aftersales videos in the first half of this year compared to the same period last year. Both of these increases demonstrate the importance and value of making a real effort in connecting with individual customers personally and maximising all potential leads.
  • New and used car demand: the increase in outbound aftersales activity may be the result of changes in car demand. According to Dealerweb data for the first six months of 2023, new car enquiries are down 3%, while used car enquiries are up 33% and used car orders are up 46%. All this extra demand means simplifying sales and management can be a real time-saver for retailers, and help them make the most of every opportunity. Dealerweb Showroom and REALaftersales are useful here, respectively for ensuring customers get communications through their preferred channels during their sales and aftersales experience, and for managing every aspect of aftersales work from booking to marketing.
Using data to drive profits

In order to make the most of opportunities in a changing marketplace, it’s first important to quantify what you’re doing well, and where you can make improvements. Getting a single view of all activities and performance levels means you can maintain consistent standards, establish clear performance goals, and ensure all your sites have all the tools they need.

For example, Dealerweb Showroom means you can store all showroom customer data in one place, access it through the management reporting suite, and track the progress of business processes against revenue and profit goals. REALinsights can then report on the data inside Showroom and deliver trends and suggestions for change.

Using these insights to find efficiencies not only helps improve performance, but frees up valuable staff time in the showroom.

Likewise in the workshop, if aftersales managers can conduct performance reviews with technicians and service advisors much faster, and senior group members can quickly access KPI information group-wide, then they have much more time to maximise leads and revenue elsewhere.

Getting the best out of digital solutions

The best retail operations in 2023 – and indeed into 2024 – will be those who make the effort to understand individual car buyer needs, and adapt their approach accordingly. Our research has found that for 30% of retailers, providing a hassle-free customer experience is their biggest challenge, but this is where technology can help in smoothing out sales journeys for customers and retailers alike.

One particular area where many retailers have made substantial improvements is in their online listings. Our survey also showed that most consumers (62%) now prefer using dealership websites to research their next vehicle. High-quality digital resources, readily available in online listings are vital, as is getting those listings online as quickly as possible after a vehicle comes into stock. Auto Imaging can help with this, supporting the development of first-class digital content, including images, videos, personalised content, live feedback and background replacement.

In summary

The automotive retail landscape has changed so much in the last few years, and it will continue to do so in the months and years ahead. Responding to these trends is essential for every retailer that aspires to expand, grow, improve service and maximise profitability. With the help of CItNOW Group technology, you’ll be best-placed to realise your potential and gain market share, whatever the future may hold.

Want to discover how to make the most of your digital tools and data? Find out more here.

CitNOW Group: technology to maximise your sales and aftersales processes

In a digitally-led world, customers are more informed than ever before. Across all areas of retail, they frequently research prospective purchases inside and out before even visiting a retailer in-person. Another consideration, and perhaps the most important, is the evolution of what a customer wants. The recent Salesforce report ‘State of the Connected Customer’ found that 88% of customers feel the experience a company provides is just as important as its product and services – and almost half of the same group say they’ve stopped buying from a company because its competitors provided a better experience.

With this in mind, it’s clear that the automotive industry must continue to transform their operations so that customers receive the sales and aftersales experiences they want and expect – whether that’s online, in person, or more than likely, a combination of the two.

In this article, we’ll explore how retailers can transform their sales and aftersales processes with the CitNOW Group’s solutions, and the associated benefits for both customer and retailer alike.

Common challenges

Delivering on customer expectations, while maintaining a smooth, agile and dynamic sales and aftersales operation, requires the overcoming of a number of challenges.

A strong sales funnel is imperative in today’s digital world, with retailers focusing on maximising every sales and aftersales opportunity that comes their way – both online and offline. This requires many different elements to come together, including the maintenance of good customer communication, building strong and trusted relationships over time, and specific targeting with the right contact and offers at the right time. Automating follow-ups and reminders is a key part of enabling this process.

With developing a strong customer experience comes the need to better streamline internal processes. The implementation of technology has to be planned carefully: adopting a well thought out family of solutions that complement each other, will be essential to ensure real-time data consistency and internal efficiency. This applies to customers too, as they want a seamless multi-channel experience without having to double-key or continually repeat their details.

How our solutions can help

When you deploy a range of solutions from the CitNOW Group, you can empower your customers, but you can also get so much more. Your business and workforce will benefit from customers leading the experiences they want, translating to stronger sales and profitability in the long-term.

These solutions encompass customer-facing areas which help with engagement, and internal systems that help with processes and efficiency:

    • Sales: the ability to fine-tune the nature, quality and timing of contact at every stage of the customer experience can improve your conversion rates. CitNOW Group solutions make this viable as an end-to-end process, for automotive sales enablement. This includes:
      • High-quality advertising assets with Auto Imaging
      • Multi-platform customer response with Web1on1
      • Personalised showroom videos delivered with CitNOW Sales
      • Fair and accurate part exchange appraisals with Tootle
      • Lead capture, response and customer management through Dealerweb
    • Aftersales: there is still a major opportunity for further profitability after a customer has purchased a vehicle, whether it’s for repairs, regular servicing, or MOTs. Our solutions make this an easy process for customers and aftersales teams alike, every step of the way, through:
      • Identification and follow-up of outstanding service work, plus booking and check-in of customers for repair work directly against your live workshop diary, managed through REALtime Communications (RTC)
      • Creation of personalised videos to detail the work required on a vehicle or give it a visual clean bill of health with CitNOW Workshop
      • Creation of detailed eVHCs, Online Customer Authorisations and utilisation of digital jobs cards through REALtime Communications (RTC)
    • Insights: data can help dealerships understand where improvements can be made to processes and communication – connecting with customers and maximising productivity to drive success. CitNOW Group’s data-rich solutions include:
      • Management and tracking of showroom activity with real-time productivity and profit figures, plus stock management information, in Dealerweb
      • Analytical tools and embedded customer feedback prompts to measure video success in CitNOW Sales and Workshop
      • Reporting capabilities and actionable insights in a single place, across your business processes, through REALinsights from REALtime Communications
      • Powerful dashboards for sales, aftersales, call centres, stock management and finance to display performance against targets and key KPIs, through REALtime Communications
In summary

In just about every area of your dealership, there is potential for technology to help you do things faster, easier, more cost-effectively and in ways that serve your customers better. The real opportunity lies in being able to integrate the right technology into the right part of your processes, supplied from a provider that helps you join the dots with ease and maximise every opportunity to boost your bottom line.

CitNOW Group has the technology stack to unite automotive professionals across the customer experience. We can help you transform the car buying and owning journey through engaging communication, whilst also gathering insights to optimise and drive your growth. Learn more about all of our solutions here.