Traditional brick-and-mortar car dealerships have been relatively quiet for the past few years – and it’s not just the pandemic. At the same time, the Finnish Automotive Information Center reports record figures for car sales in 2020. Especially used cars are breaking sales records. What is this all about?
Sales teams are making records in online trade – and in chat
Car sales are in the process of digitalization and cars are now purchased online, too. At the same time, the market shares are redistributed. The winners of the digital revolution are the new players in the industry, who have invested in e-commerce – and chat sales.
Up to 700% return of investment to chat solution for car dealerships
The medium-sized car dealership in Finland will receive 500 chat conversations in a month. Part of them is coming in from the website and the rest from car marketplaces, the chat can be embedded to the announcements and listing pages. Many car dealerships have maintenance services, too.
On average, 40% of the chats (200 conversations), indicate car purchase intent. Note that this number can go up to 80-90%, especially counting in the maintenance service requests. Approximately 50% of the conversations with purchase intent (100 conversations) produce a hot lead – with an inquiry of a specific new vehicle and the details of the trade-in car.
The car sales chat leads lead to a request for a quote with a 70% probability. So the car store of our example will get 70 requests for a quote per month from the chat channel. If the sales score with 30% probability, our example store makes 21 car sales per month via chat.
Let’s use an average profit of EUR 1,000 per car as an estimate. In this case, chat provides an additional income of 21,000 euros. So the return on a chat investment in a medium-sized car dealership is 600-700% – and there is no reason to believe that this is the upper limit.
Another source of income for the car trade is maintenance services. In most cases, more than 50% of the total number of service request-related chats are handled by the brand dealer. For maintenance services, the sales funnel is straightforward. The customer opens the conversation and the customer service representative either books the service directly or helps the customer to book the service appointment. The role of chat is to produce a premium customer experience, no searching or confusion about what kind of maintenance is required/recommended. Note that the ROI calculation of this article does not take into account these service and maintenance sales – and they usually add up to a significant amount of online income.
Quality of service matters in a chat channel
The results of online car sales are not similar for everyone in the business. The best players are constantly developing the funnel in collaboration with experts, based on the observed results and user data.
In the morning hours, the conversations are often focused on maintenance services. The busiest hours for car sales are in the afternoon and in the evening. The chat should be tailored to support the online objectives. A chatbot can assist visitors even at nighttime. A chatbot is a good option to make your customer stop by and interact, possibly leaving a hot lead, 24/7.
For both live chat and chatbot, sales results can be improved by optimizing the chat channel. Optimization should be based on data and analytics collected of the behaviour of actual users of that specific website and chat solution. Live-chat and chatbot call-to-actions should be designed to support website conversion goals and tested out in real life for optimal results.
You will get the best results by getting started right away, focusing on learning from the results, continuous conversion optimization, and improvement of the customer experience in the chat channel. Contact us – and let’s get started!