Consumers Are in the Driver’s Seat

Author: Annette Malave, SVP/Insights, RAB

While the pandemic may have shifted consumer behavior in 2020, businesses have recognized that these consumer behaviors are here to stay. Businesses have learned that they must alter how they now service their patrons, not because of these shifts, but because of the consumer’s expectations.

You’ve all read how various retailers have met the demands of the consumer with BOPIS (buy online, pickup in store). Even the automotive industry quickly learned that some consumers are comfortable buying vehicles online, as evidenced by recent 2020 projections. According to J.D. Power, “new-vehicle retail sales for the 2020 calendar year are projected to reach 12,386,000 – a 9.5% decrease from 2019.”

As we all know, vehicles require maintenance to keep running smoothly, but during COVID-19, many consumers have chosen not to get their vehicles serviced.

Consumers want convenience and safety – they want to limit as much personal interaction as possible. According to a DealerRater survey, nearly 11,000 mass-market and luxury auto consumers were asked to share which digital offerings dealer service departments were most valued. Convenience is tops on their list.

It is important to communicate these conveniences. During a recent RAB live presentation, Tyson Jominy, VP, Data & Analytics at J.D. Power, noted that “the convenience message is so critical right now… It is something that the industry and our partners in radio need to hit home.”

Radio listeners believe that advertising is important. According to the December 2020 MRI-Simmons COVID-19 Study, 77% of radio listeners believe that it is important for brands to keep advertising during COVID-19.

You’ve read before that people are back on the road and tuned into radio. According to the same MRI-Simmons study, 79% of AM/FM radio listeners plan to drive the same or more and 69% plan to spend the same or more in auto accessories.

As numerous studies have shown, communicating convenience and safety are key messages that should be included when targeting consumers. It matters to consumers. Of those who are satisfied/very satisfied with the safety from their visits to dealerships, 70% were radio listeners according to the MRI-Simmons survey.

With the consumer literally in the driver’s seat, dealerships trying to increase their service and repair activity should use radio to communicate safety and convenience.

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