Fast response delivers more profit for automotive retailers

The Auto Retail Network (ARN) have just published their Annual Website Report that empirically measures the key manufacturer and retail websites in the Automotive trade. This is currently the only report of its kind in the country, and is an excellent starting point for those wanting to understand what is needed to build a successful website in the automotive space.

Reviewed, rated and ranked

This year, for the first time, ARN measured response times – and we were flattered when they asked us to conduct the research. This involved sending dealers an email from their website on a specific used vehicle, between 7pm and 9pm. We then measured how quickly it took for the dealer to respond (either by email or on a call recorded Mediahawk call tracking number).

The headline results, based on 54 retailers, 20 car supermarkets, 10 van dealers and 10 bike dealers, were as follows:

  • On average 51% of respondents never responded
  • Only 8 managed to respond within 2 hours of the initial enquiry
  • Many sites used auto emails and then never responded!
  • We received auto responder emails saying “Please call me!”
  • Some retailers responded by phone and left messages that were so jumbled, we don’t know who they were.
  • We received an automated email with the immortal line: “Thank you for visiting our showroom!”

The best respondents were world-class in their attitude to response. A named contact responded quickly and politely, and answered a specific query about the vehicle we were enquiring about.

Quicker response times boost return on sales

We then researched whether there was a financial implication to poor response by comparing accounts of those who never responded to those who responded quickly. We found that there was a 1% return on sales (ROS) differential for those who quickly respond, compared to those who never do.

Does your dealership measure up?

What the research highlighted is that the best dealers are those who are on top of their response, because it gives them a significant competitive advantage. This is also borne out by our call tracking customers who engage with the data we provide and use this to improve their response times.

Now a smart automotive group can receive reports to show them what their marketing is generating (for cost per lead and cost per sale) and how they are performing operationally. Response performance is the key differentiator for success or failure to an automotive retailer.

The full website report can be purchased directly on the ARN website.

If you want a copy of my presentation or to understand how you can improve your response, please contact me directly.5

About the author - Natalia Selby

Marketing coordinator at Mediahawk, with 20 years experience in analytics, content management and eCommerce.