According to data from heycar, electric car sales increased by 186% in 2020, and, as of April 2022, there are approximately 400,000 electric cars (EVs) on the road in the UK, plus more than 750,000 plug-in hybrids (PHEVs).
We’ve all known for a while now that hybrid and electric cars are the future, but it’s starting to feel real now. Since the start of the year, we’ve had multiple conversations with clients about how they’re adapting, investing in, and positioning themselves ready for all things EV.
Most of these conversations have been about two key areas of the business: Sales and Aftersales. Firstly, how do we inform prospective and existing clients about electric vehicle features, specs, offers, etc? Secondly, how does an EV service plan look and what is best practice?
One third, and crucial, business area to consider is Marketing: how the new customer journey looks, how eCRM and social media can increase sales and how Dealers can improve customer retention for EVs – just as they have done historically for ICE vehicles.
Educate & Inform
We know that consumers are spending more time researching vehicles online than ever before and are more likely to only visit the dealership in person when they’re ready to commit to a purchase.
In fact, our research shows that since the pandemic, the time from enquiry to sale has decreased from 16 days to just six.
Dealers should be focusing on educating their prospective customers and making it as easy as possible to find all the information they’re looking for – especially if this is their first electric car.
Email and Social Media campaigns are a fantastic way to spread the word and position yourself as the fountain of all EV knowledge, whilst driving trackable traffic to your website.
What Does An EV Service Look Like?
As consumers move away from ‘traditional’ services, who is responsible for educating consumers on the areas of the EV that will need annual checks and maintenance? MOTs after three years will still be a requirement but don’t forget everything else like filters, brake fluid and, crucially, battery health.
One Size Doesn’t Fit All
… not that it ever did.
Workshop bookings will soon have more hybrid and electric vehicles than ever, which means your Service customer touchpoints will need to change. We’ve always supported clients with their Service or MOT reminder Emails and SMSs and will continue to do so – it’s time for Dealers to segment their data even further based on engine types.
Automated messages will be your friend now that we’re approaching a new EV aftersales customer journey, as timing will be everything. EV customers will quickly become unengaged if they receive communications at the wrong time for their vehicle, and these comms must include EV appropriate creative and terminology.
Dealerships As EV Destinations
The more mainstream EV vehicles become, the more Dealers will need to adapt their online and offline activity.
Websites should be an online destination with Accessory Stores for Parts and Merchandise. Don’t lose sales to those better equipped for eCommerce; get something going yourself. Dealers can utilise Amazon, eBay, and Shopify – for example. This will open more opportunities for promo marketing and, therefore, reasons to contact customers in between purchases and services. Whether that’s email campaigns or social media and other online ads we can help.
Then there are the offline destinations – we will start to see physical locations with less footfall as more of the customer journey takes place online and vehicles require less frequent servicing. Dealers should make their charging points accessible to existing and non-customers. By having a welcoming space for coffee and free WIFI, businesses will be able to develop better customer relationships and therefore improve and support retention.
It may sound like we have more questions than answers at this point, but we’re actively engaging with dealerships across the country to understand what’s on the horizon for EVs and where we can support with automotive digital marketing solutions.
Contact Us today for more information and marketing support.