We live in the era of self-driving cars and online automotive services. This means that more cars than ever are already connected to the internet, yet, some businesses still fail to capitalize on digitalization fully.
The automotive industry is huge and already highly profitable. Still, it also has a lot of catching up to do. Here are six ideas for increasing revenue in the automotive industry by expanding it to the online world correctly.
1. Making A Great Website
People who are buying a vehicle want to do the research first. Now, they always want to go straight to the source. They’ll either go to the manufacturer’s or the business’s site to buy the vehicle. You need to make this information available.
It’s also important to display all your products and services. Then, by doing extensive SEO for each of these services, your pages will have a great chance to drive traffic to your landing pages.
To start any kind of SEO, you need to have a site. A decent site (with a great technical structure and architecture) will make it much easier for you to rank well.
A website is available 24/7, so you don’t need someone on the phone to answer simple questions – like if you have a certain part/vehicle or offer a certain service. In a way, this site will be self-serving and provide you with many growth opportunities. It’s also scalable since handling more traffic than outreach is easier. It saves time and increases your availability, a win-win scenario.
A website will also collect all the audience and customer information, which will drastically help you improve your future campaigns. Interactions via a site that stores all this information, especially if it leverages chatbots and CRM technology, can be helpful. This way, you’ll optimize the outreach with the audience that you can already consider qualified leads.
2. E-Commerce For Automotive Parts
While most companies default to thinking about individuals buying parts, this is just one (minor) fraction of the entire industry. What about mechanics who order packs in bulk to cut costs? What about companies with fleets and in-house mechanics needing a steady supply of spare parts to reduce downtime?
This requires a different approach. First, the supplier is no longer merely a supplier; they are a strategic vendor. This requires a special relationship, special prices, and unique conditions. You can achieve all of this via B2B e-commerce for automotive parts suppliers. With the right platform or even SaaS service, this sales platform can be combined with a sophisticated ERP system, which gives an end-to-end overview of the situation.
Another thing to understand is that upselling and cross-selling opportunities in these B2B sales are huge. After all, when it comes to maintenance, it’s never really just one part. They’ll have to change something adjacent soon, so why not offer a better deal or unique terms to ensure you’re closing the deal?
A good e-commerce platform is a great place for buyers to get informed. An abandoned shopping cart is not always a missed opportunity. People research before purchasing, which is even more true in the automotive industry. You want a comprehensive online catalog to help your audience embark on a customer lifecycle.
Ultimately, paying online is simpler and more convenient for everyone. Both you and your buyers can directly connect this to your online payment methods and accounting software for greater accuracy and better record-keeping.
3. Virtual Showroom
A virtual showroom gives your buyers a far more immersive research process. They don’t have to go and see the vehicle in person when they can look at it from all sides. You see, outside of hiring a specialist to go with them and take a look, there’s not much they could spot during a visual inspection.
Now, a lot of people talk about the perks of having a global reach, but the truth is that the automotive industry is far more localized than you think. Sure, some people have a part or a vehicle shipped from half a world away, but this is not true for most buyers.
They usually can’t wait that long for the part (and have their car inoperable during this period) or afford the luxury of ordering a brand-new vehicle from a different continent. Buying a used vehicle this way is out of the question since you can’t see it in person before going there.
A virtual test drive is also not to be underestimated. Sure, a real test drive is always better, but how many vehicles would you get to test this way? By being able to “try out” more vehicles, you increase the chance of actually finding a vehicle that you like.
Some people are under pressure when test-driving vehicles. Sitting behind the wheel of an expensive vehicle that you don’t own can be anxiety-inducing. This may affect your decision-making. Well, with virtual test drives, this won’t be a problem.
4. Online Vehicle Customization
The power of imagination is great, but not all people can envision things with great precision. With the help of online vehicle customization, you can get a preview and assessment of each change you introduce. This can save you so much money like CAD saves money in the construction industry.
Just think about it: This is great for customers and generates volumes of data about customer preferences. You can improve the automotive industry if you send this data up the line. After all, the manufacturers will learn about the preferences of the users, which will allow them to start working on better outcomes early on. Predicting industry trends becomes a lot more reliable this way.
This level of vehicle customization can also reduce inventory costs. After all, if the customer can customize the vehicle online, you have the time to order the exact part, paint, and other items that you need. This reduces the risk of unsold inventory quite significantly.
For the customer, the biggest problem with decision-making is the lack of a reference point. Via an online platform, they’ll have an easier job of making a comparison. Even better, they’ll understand this comparison with higher accuracy.
5. Digital Marketing
Digital marketing is king, and the automotive industry is no exception. First, the biggest difference between traditional and digital marketing lies in transparency and analytics. In digital marketing, you know exactly where every dollar is going and how effective your investments are.
As Henry Ford, one of the fathers of the automotive industry, once said, if he had asked people what they wanted, they would have asked for faster horses. Sometimes, you have to manufacture the demand for your product.
One of the ways to improve your business’ standing in the digital world is to invest in content marketing. This way, you can help give your audience a reference point, establish yourself as an authority, and make a relationship with your readers without asking for too much commitment on their part.
You should also consider user reviews and UGC (user-generated content) in general. After all, people know you have a clear motive to present your products in the best light. They want someone they perceive as similar to them. You can achieve a lot by leveraging all the social proof you can gather.
Social media and marketing can be leveraged to capitalize on the concept of selling. By leveraging the power of social media to create meaningful connections, you can drive sales quite effectively.
6. Digital Customer Support
People want to know that their needs are taken care of, and many perks of digital customer support can help you increase your revenue quite drastically. First of all, digital customer support is available 24/7. Even more importantly, it’s immediate. This means that customers in distress won’t feel neglected.
Then, it’s important to stress out scalability. The number of users you have will determine the potential attention that they get from your customer support team. Once you digitize this, it will be very hard for users to exceed your customer support capacity.
Users are already mostly interacting with brands online. This means that they have a habit of dealing with digital customer support. In other words, it’s more convenient this way for the customer.
It’s also worth mentioning that digital support, armed with modern NLP and translation services, can reduce the language barrier. This way, it will address each user in their native tongue and avoid problems.
By Fully Leveraging The Power Of The Internet, The Automotive Industry As A Whole Can Become More Profitable
Like any other business, the automotive industry relies on strong websites and digital marketing. Since it’s a purchase that almost no one makes without an inspection, online vehicle customization and virtual showrooms may help facilitate this trust-building process. Lastly, strategic vendor management and customer relationship building will become even more effective with specialized platforms.