With everyone online creating more dynamic content, it can be hard for retailers to find ways to stand out on the Web. And when you look at rankings in search engines, it’s easy to see the result, but it isn’t always clear which factors are impacting that rank.
These are challenges for every retailer, especially those in the auto industry where your bottom line depends as much on being proactive and focused with your advertising budget as it does on having the right inventory.
In a recent panel discussion with Todd Somerville from Cox Automotive, Guy Campbell from Marketcheck, and Eric Miltsch from Dealer Teamwork, we talked at length about how increased competition is driving a need for better data and a focused marketing strategy.
While discussing predictions over CPO sales for 2020, Somerville brought up that customers can shop around and compare used cars against new with precision and while they’re on the lot. The result is increased competition among dealers and finance companies to win the consumer’s attention and sale.
One of the things that’s been coming out is customers are looking for affordability in regards to new vehicle prices,” Somerville told us.
“Prices continue to go up and they’re tipping between $36,000 and $40,000. Customers are looking at those vehicles as a fairly fresh, low mileage, still on warranty – they have fairly similar features to them in terms of the new vehicles and there’s roughly thirty-ish captives and independent banks offering standard rates and special rates in those vehicles. So they can be very competitive when offered up against a new vehicle with very similar features.”
Add to that the incentives coming from OEMs that are creating fierce competition between new vehicles and CPOs.
OEM Impact on CPO Pricing
Early in the conversation, Guy brought in some revealing statistics via the Marketcheck API regarding the CPO market:
CPO Stats Nationally
- 243,392 CPO vehicles active as of 3/5/2020
Price – $27,325
Miles – 27,780
Days on Market – 125
Lease Term – 54 months
Lease EMP – $524.21
Lease Down Payment – $2,940
Finance Loan Term – 66.89 months
Finance Loan APR – 4.97%
Finance EMP – $410.44
“You’re seeing the OEs become aggressive in terms of providing special rates for customers that on CPO vehicles,” Campbell explains at 19:26 in the video.
“The proliferation of data also makes it easier to compare new versus CPO,” he says. “What we’ve done now is standardize all that data, giving you the ability to put that into a digital retail tool and be able to quote right down to the penny a new versus of CPO vehicles. So, there’s no reason not to offer a customer the alternative of a CPO vehicle just as they’re shopping for the new vehicle.”
Google My Business Helps Sell Cars
With competition fiercer than ever, Eric Miltsch from Dealer Teamwork was quick to point out the benefit of making the most of Google My Business (GMB).
“GMB is more than just a listing through the Google search engine,” explains Miltsch. “It’s quickly becoming the way many people find and evaluate local businesses.”
The impact of GMB can be seen in 10 leading factors affecting SEO search results, a handy list that Eric and his team put together coming into the webcast.
Top 10 Local SEO Ranking Factors
- Verified and Optimized Google My Business profile
- Google My Business categories
- Google My Business photos
- Bing Places
- Online directories (YP.com)
- Review site listings (Yelp)
- Velocity of positive reviews
- Reviews with keywords & locations
- Responses to negative reviews
- Facebook business page
With three of the ten factors directly impacted by the GMB platform, it’s easy to see why it’s become increasingly important for businesses. Eric shared the overall strategy for improving the GMB related factors.
- Verified and Optimized Google My Business Profile – Verifying the listing with GMB allows dealers to create the content and control the data displayed. Without verification, Google scrapes whatever information it can.
- Google My Business Categories – When data scraping is allowed to autofill categories, dealers can be mixed up or mis-categorized, making it harder for you to come up in a general search.
- Google My Business Photos – Fuzzy screen grabs from Google Maps or stock photos won’t do your dealership any favors. “Any profile with more than 100 gets exponentially more engagement and traction within the search results. Bottom line – more photos are better.”
An online presence has always been important and now the GMB platform is making a diverse presence just as important.
As Eric stated in the discussion, “About 61-62% of all car searches are starting on the phone. You’re probably winding up with at least 40-45% of all dealership traffic in some way or shape interacting with that Google My Business profile. It’s the new doorway to the website.”