Moving Inventory in Winter: What to Know
The winter lull for car dealerships is a real thing. With fewer people shopping and more snow, sleet, and freezing temperatures, car sales may dip during the year’s coldest months. However, dealerships can employ multiple strategies to increase their sales in winter and move more inventory. Throughout this article, we will examine why sales are more challenging in the colder months and how your dealership can start selling more cars in the wintertime.
Challenges of moving inventory in winter
Winter brings with it multiple challenges that can make car sales difficult. Here are some common reasons why car sales suffer in winter:
Poor weather leads to fewer test drives: When the roads are slick and icy, test drives become difficult. Customers may want to avoid putting themselves in a potentially dangerous situation to check out a car. Also, people may be worried about crashing a car they don’t own.
High demand for service and repair: Winter weather can lead to increased service and repair work. Service work takes precedence over car sales during winter, from needing winter tires to checking antifreeze levels to diagnosing frozen windshield wipers.
Reduced foot traffic in showrooms: The cold weather can keep people away from showrooms and dealerships. Even if customers have been browsing online, they may not want to brave the winter conditions to view a car in person.
Financial strains around the holiday seasons: During the holiday months, people experience consumer spending pressure. They may be reluctant to take on a new car payment as they focus on holiday-related expenses.
How to move inventory in winter
Fortunately, there are many things your car dealership can do when selling cars in the wintertime. Here are some of the best ways to overcome the winter lull and move more inventory:
Offer winter-specific promotions and discounts
The holidays are a great time to offer special car deals, so consider what kind of promotions will help you stand out from the competition. For example, offering a free winter package with the purchase of a car, like a set of winter tires, can be very attractive to customers. Or, leverage cash back promotions, as many are strapped for cash after the holidays.
Host events and take part in community events
An excellent way to increase foot traffic in your dealership during the winter is to host events and participate in community activities. There are many ways to engage with potential customers, from hosting dealership events to New Year’s sales to winter car care seminars. Also, showing that you are a giving member of the community through providing toy drives, food donations, or other holiday activities can help spread the good word about your business. To fill the events, utilize your email list of past customers or contact local companies to encourage their employees to attend.
Focus on winter-specific features
Highlighting the features that make different cars more suitable for winter driving can be a great way to drum up interest in your inventory. For example, showcasing a car’s heated seats and all-wheel drive capabilities during a cold snap could help draw in customers who have winter on the brain. Focusing on promoting vehicles built for the cold, such as SUVs and pickup trucks, can also be beneficial.
Run online advertisements
If customers don’t want to brave the cold, you can make it easier for them to buy a car online. Ensure your website is up to date with your inventory, and create special incentives for customers who purchase cars remotely. An excellent strategy to increase online sales is to run Google display and search ads; these cost-effective strategies can help you reach more potential car buyers. Kelley Blue Book provides display advertisement options across some of the most popular car shopping websites.
Build a strong online presence
Social media and other online platforms can be great ways to draw customers in during winter. You should ensure an active presence on all major social media networks and regularly post about your inventory, promotions, and special deals. Some top social media channels to focus on include Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Additionally, consider creating videos for YouTube showcasing your inventory so that customers can get an up-close look without leaving their homes.
Improve the online shopping experience
The primary objective should be for customers to have a more pleasant shopping/buying/trade-in experience. You can do this by creating virtual showrooms, providing video tours of cars, and even offering delivery services to help customers avoid driving in bad weather. This added convenience can help you move more inventory during the winter months. Another strategy to employ is making it easy for consumers to know the value of their current vehicle, and what they can expect to pay for a replacement vehicle – Kelley Blue Book can help here.
Provide online service features
To help improve the customer experience, you should also consider providing online service features such as scheduling appointments, ordering parts, and making payments. This strategy will make it easier for customers to keep up with their car’s maintenance during the winter months without leaving the house. Kelley Blue Book Service Advisor lets your customers get quick and personalized recommendations for their vehicle’s needs. This tool can be an excellent way to keep customers returning to your dealership and contribute to you selling cars in the wintertime. Plus, every service visit is an opportunity to acquire a used vehicle.
Keeping your inventory pristine over winter
While implementing these strategies helps your dealership with selling more cars in the winter, you must also ensure your inventory is in top condition. You want to focus on preserving the condition of your cars because it will help maintain their value and make them more appealing to customers. When fewer customers are test-driving vehicles, it can be harder to maintain the condition of cars, but there are a few steps that you can take to help.
Here are some tips for keeping your inventory in top condition over winter:
- Perform regular inspections and maintenance checks on all vehicles.
- Make sure battery levels are always full and that the engine is running correctly.
- Check tire treads and change tires if necessary.
- Use a car cover to keep vehicles clean, dry, and free of debris.
- Wax cars to protect paint and provide a glossy finish.
- Clean any snow or ice off the vehicles before customers come in.
By following these tips, you can ensure that your dealership is prepared for winter sales and that your inventory is in top condition all season long.
Increasing sales during the winter
Overall, implementing the right strategies to market your dealership and move more inventory during winter can be a great way to earn extra profits. By offering special deals, focusing on winter-specific features, improving the online shopping experience, and keeping your inventory pristine, you should have no problem moving more cars during the year’s coldest months.
Kelley Blue Book is one of the best resources available to dealerships looking to move more inventory in winter. With its vast database of valuations, display advertisements and other tools, your dealership can reach more customers and offer special deals that will draw them in during the cold months.