Written by Tony Loxton
Most car dealerships are focused on one thing and one thing only: making the sale. Tracking your customer traffic isn't a concern, and when it is, it's done manually by the receptionist or salespeople. While this is better than nothing, this method often results in inaccurate or biased data. The receptionist isn't always at their desk, or is busy with other administrative tasks and might not accurately count everyone. Salespeople are incentivised to make their sales conversion rates look better, not to mention the fact that they may be only counting people they identify as prospective buyers while ignoring people who are far less likely to buy.
But why is this a problem?
There are a number of reasons why it is critical that you measure the foot traffic for your dealership.
Firstly, your car dealership is undoubtedly investing part of its budget in a marketing programme to drive people to your dealership. How are you going to know if your marketing efforts are having an impact if you don't measure the number of people visiting your dealership? Tracking your dealership foot traffic will allow you to accurately measure the effectiveness of your marketing spend.
In addition to this is the fact that salespeople are incentivised to misreport traffic in order to hit their target metrics as an employee. In a perfect world there wouldn’t be any need for automated tracking systems, but by using tools to automatically track your foot traffic, you remove the risk that an employee might embellish their numbers.
The exact number about the decline of walk-ins varies, with different sources providing varying statistics. Some quote that customer visits to a dealership a year are as few as 1.3 (a common “myth” in the industry that gained traction in the media), while others report 1.6 (a number referenced from a McKinsey report), or 3.3 (from J.D Power’s report in 2014). Whatever the exact value is, one can safely assume that there are changes in consumer behaviour that have caused the number to drop from 5 visits a year. This is why it is critical to maximise and track every opportunity you get when a customer walks through your dealership’s doors.
There are a number of different options you can use to measure traffic in your dealership:
Check-in apps - Visitors to your dealership can sign in using a tablet app. This is often integrated into the queueing system at the dealership. The problem with this is that people are often hesitant to unnecessarily hand over personal information, or people will often leave information out. This can feel like an extra, unnecessary step, which contributes to a less than great customer experience.
Receptionist - A receptionist can also manually track visitors to your dealership. However, moments may arise where the receptionist is handling other tasks, or is not even at their desk, resulting in inaccurate traffic measurement.
Laser or camera based people counters - These are expensive solutions to implement due to the fact that many dealerships are designed to have more than one entrance and exit, and it offers no value apart from a straight forward number. This data also often lacks accuracy, as staff movements and customers who take a vehicle for a test drive aren't differentiated from other customers, and this data, even if it is inaccurate, is not integrated into dealership industry reporting.
Blix Traffic - Blix Traffic is designed with the automotive sales industry in mind. The Blix solution offers more than a simple count of people who've entered and left your dealership. It provides traffic statistics, sales opportunities estimates, numbers for returning visitors, showroom traffic stats, lost opportunities, dwell time and information on how many of your visitors are cross shopping. This information is all presented in a report designed for the automotive industry.
This is all easily achievable thanks to a plug and play device that tracks movement in a space, not just through a door, which also means you only need one device. Blix traffic is also able to differentiate between customers who are returning from a test drive thanks to the ability to configure the system to understand that a customer who leaves and returns within a certain time frame was on a test drive. This is all provided in an extremely cost effective manner.
There are a number of reasons why you should invest in accurately tracking your traffic, in addition to some of the advantages we've already mentioned:
By accurately tracking the traffic in your car dealership, you will acquire the critical information you need to address issues, or maximise opportunities that arise, and ensure that your dealership is operating at its absolute best.
If you’d like to find out more about our Blix Traffic solution and how it can boost the effectiveness of your car dealership, we have a number of industry specific case studies that you can take a look at. These include an analysis that revealed inaccurate leads statistics, and how a staffing issue was responsible for low conversion. You can also visit our website, or contact us today for more information.
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