What Does The Automotive Industry
Look Like In 2022?

Published: December 2021

With almost two ‘unprecedented’ years behind us and what’s looking like a third on the horizon, understanding (and keeping up with) the changes to the Automotive Industry and their adoption of all-things digital can be a challenge.

Although there’s no crystal ball to help us navigate another unusual year, at Marketing Delivery, we’ve been reflecting on recent changes and have put together five predictions for Automotive in 2022.

1. Automation Is Key

Our research shows that the length of time from enquiry to order has reduced dramatically during the pandemic from 16 days to just six, thanks to consumers being ever more comfortable exploring their options online.

What does this mean for Dealers?

Potential customers are far more “self-qualified” than ever when their enquiry comes in, meaning leads need to be managed even quicker than before.

Without the previous two-week period to juggle multiple enquiries, it is increasingly difficult for sales teams to keep on top of the communications needed in the now 6-day window from enquiry to decision.

The Solution

Automation can take some of the heavy lifting away by integrating showroom data with stock, utilising Email and SMS communications to keep in touch with customers.

Enter: VoiceBox Sales

2. Increased Social Media Selling

Research by Facebook revealed 89% of car buyers in Europe aged 18-34 stated their main reason to purchase a vehicle was due to a change in circumstance.

What does this mean for Dealers?

Dealers traditionally target those due a new car based on the data they hold – which is typically a 2-to-3-year renewal cycle. With the reduction in time from enquiry to decision, getting “in front of the enquiry” with stock and offers is more important than ever.

The Solution

Facebook Automotive Inventory Ads (AIA) have quickly become a popular marketing tool for the Automotive sector. We’re seeing an increased number of consumers come around to the idea of starting their customer journey on a Social Media platform rather than a dealer website or offline in a showroom.

For the last two years, consumers have had more time at home to browse their favourite Social Media platform, so it’s essential dealers maximise their chances to display both New and Used stock.

Contact us for more information on our VoiceBox Social and Stock Alert solutions.

3. Customer Satisfaction Is Paramount

Both above points indicate that consumers are spending more time online and are open to the possibility of purchasing a car, or at least starting the process, digitally.

What does this mean for Dealers?

The reputation of a brand and how they are portrayed through their digital channels is critical. Customers are more likely to leave a negative review if they’re unhappy with their product or service. Facebook and Google both provide platforms for consumers to share their experiences, good or bad, potentially jeopardising future business.

The Solution

Ensuring customer satisfaction offline in a showroom is one thing, but with more time spent on digital channels, businesses must also look to improve their customers’ online experiences. Automated eCRM and well-managed Social Media platforms can connect customers with their dealerships in a personalised, convenient, and cost-effective way.

4. User Experience Is Changing

With less footfall and more online traffic comes a shifted focus on user experience. No shiny cars and charming salespeople are on hand to help!

What does this mean for Dealers?

A Dealer’s method of communication, including everything from their website to their Twitter bio, needs to be an extension of their brand. The digital tone of voice will need to mirror that of your expert salesperson, and the response time needs to be just as seamless.

The Solution

Personalised and timely correspondence for several leads at once can be a tricky task to manage. As above, Dealers can lean on Automation and Lead Management systems to take the strain off the sales teams when it comes to digital user experience.

Enter: LeadBox

Furthermore, Dealers will see a change in customer expectations offline, with new physical interactions required. Customers already know what they’re looking to purchase – research by Facebook shows that 91% of customers across Europe will only consider up to three car brands in their decision.

Offline exchanges will be more demonstration-based, highlighting the technology and features available rather than old-fashioned negotiations.

Think about how the Apple store operates. The products are available and priced accordingly and customers can easily commit to a purchase online. This means, when they visit a physical store, they’re looking for a more personal experience.

5. Dealerships As Motoring Destinations

Despite the initial activity taking place much more online, there is still room for Dealerships and offline communications. The trick is to encourage customers to visit in-between purchases.

Handovers and Service drop-offs will still be needed but will the “traditional” walk around, test drive, and back and forth negotiations with the Sales Manager be something that customers will tolerate for much longer?

What does this mean for Dealers?

Dealerships should be positioning themselves as motoring hubs – a concept not yet seen.

The growth of EV adoption is something for consideration as retailers look for reasons to contact their customers and ways of attracting new motorists to their brand. Coupled with the consumer-led change in buying behaviour, the time is right for a shift in thought on the role of the dealership.

The Solution

People laud Tesla for their EV infrastructure, yet there are over 4,000 franchised dealerships in the UK with the potential for multiple charging outlets, coffee shops, customer lounges and boutiques selling branded accessories and merchandise.

By contrast, there are around 650 Tesla supercharger locations in the UK, so the opportunity to provide a much more comprehensive network of charging points at dealerships is clearly there.

To conclude, looking over the horizon for 2022 and beyond, there’s no reason why some of these things can’t start happening straight away – the future role of the dealership in a physical sense must change to remain relevant.

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