At JCT600’s Volkswagen and Audi site in Sheffield, a hydraulic car lift brings the customer’s new car up into the handover bay, accompanied by music, to give the experience more of a sense of occasion.
Getting the forecourt mix of old and new right
Not everyone is a fan of the village fête approach to presenting cars. Miles Alvis, franchise manager at Lookers Volvo in Colchester, said: “I don’t think coloured bunting and saggy balloons are what today’s customer is interested in.
“We have recently started using video to record our used cars, which is personalised and emailed directly to the customers’ email address. The sales consultant then talks through the service history, mileage and optional extras. We have sold a number of cars on the back of this technology; I wish I had that facility years ago.”
Samani, too, is experimenting with making car videos, suggesting that a mix of old and new technology is advisable for best results.
“I only started the videos about two months ago, but I have directly sold at least six cars because of them,” he said.
What car dealers can really learn from the Apple Store
Research undertaken for Auto Trader by GfK in September showed that the majority of car sale enquiries are done over the internet, but this initial enquiry is not going to change the fact that the majority of successful sale transactions end with the customer picking up the keys – thus involving a visit to the showroom.
Ensuring that a car showroom is well-dressed makes it easier on the eye for these committed car buyers as well as potential or passing customers and also creates awareness of the brand being represented. Displays put on in a showroom draw in customers and it is the employees at the dealership who keep them there.
Dealers repeatedly mention the Apple Store as a retail experience to be emulated, but Apple has spent significant amounts of money to design a visual environment that entices customers to visit its stores, relax, and actively use its products before buying.
Car dealerships, like every other form of retail, will continue to evolve, and digital technology plays an ever more important role in attracting the customer to your forecourt. But it appears that as long as there are cars to display, the traditional display methods will always be there to serve as a support for the more hi-tech.