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Jessica Terpstra

Jessica Terpstra Digital Advertising Analyst

Exclusive Blog Posts

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The Service & Parts Buying Process: Hurry Your Clock Is Ticking

Only 24 Hours… Yikes!

At a recent in-house Google seminar, we learned about a study by Google, Polk, and Complete which found that the service and parts shopper typically completes their purchase cycle within twenty-four hours.  We also learned that service shoppers visiting dealer website are most interested in enhancing the performance and appearance of their vehicles. What does this mean for the automotive industry? It means it is imperative that dealerships have an amped up, always on strategy trying to reach these service shoppers. Additionally, your marketing efforts should be tailored toward what shoppers are looking for. Here are three suggestions to help get your service and parts offerings in front of interested consumers in time to ultimately make the sell.

Target Service and Parts Shoppers. In the study, 14% of shoppers exclusively used the Internet for research and to schedule appointments. Many dealerships don’t even optimize their website for service and parts keywords, so how are these shoppers going to find you? Start by adding keywords to your website specifically around performance and appearance enhancements. Since SEO can take time to kick in, you should pair your efforts with a paid search advertising campaign around this same concept for both immediate and long-term market share for both. This combo is proven to work: For service shoppers, one out of three organic visits converts. But surprisingly, one out of three paid search service shoppers visits also converts. Both of these channels are essential to reaching your in-market shoppers.

Think Ahead. An automotive service shopper chooses a dealership within twenty-four hours, but that doesn’t mean you only have twenty-four hours to market to them. The key is to make yourself top-of-mind so when they go to make that quick purchasing decision, you are the go-to-choice. 86% of in-market service shoppers plan to purchase. Take advantage of this. Expose yourself to these shoppers as often as possible and across all devices. The best places to start? Remarketing and your mobile website. You already have a base of consumers who are interested in your dealership. Eventually these consumers are going to need some sort of service. Start early by leveraging these shoppers from the start through remarketing specifically geared towards service. When they are ready for service, you’ll have already snagged them.

Make Yourself Available. Additionally, 21% of service shoppers used a mobile device for their research. These shoppers primarily use mobile devices to read reviews, compare prices, contact the business, and look for discounts. Ensure that your mobile website offers service and parts information.

Distinguish Yourself. The study shows that 81% of converters visited two or more brands. Comparison shopping is on the rise for Service and Parts. Does your website and advertising call out what makes you different when consumers are comparison shopping? Why should I go to your dealership to get my windows tinted versus another? Consider offering coupons, complimentary car washes, etc around performance and appearance enhancements. Can you find something catchy that will stick? Perhaps something fun and catchy, like a scratch ticket with all performance and appearance enhancements? A lottery approach could make YOUR dealership the lucky winner, especially if shoppers start telling their friends about it.

In conclusion, remember there is urgency around service and parts shoppers. The digital world for parts and service is underutilized by dealerships. Take advantage of this underrated market by creating a lasting impression with your shoppers now. Instead of chasing them around, if you are ready and waiting, they are sure to find you.

What do you currently do to promote your service and parts departments? I would love to hear about it in the comments below.

Jessica Terpstra is a Digital Advertising Analyst at ADP Digital Marketing Cobalt. She works with dealerships to consult, manage, and improve their online marketing presence through digital advertising. She has a B.A. in Business Administration with a specialization in marketing from the University of Washington.

 

Chris Costner
Great points Jessica. I see so many service and parts departments operate on "auto pilot" and I am sure they are doing business but how much more business could they do? More without a doubt. Urgency is definitely key and many of the fundamentals, processes and digital marketing efforts used on the sales side would convert over well in my opinion. Same customer a majority of the time, just a different product or service. Or even better, convert a new parts and service customer who could end up making a new purchase from the sales side down the road. I just don't understand why the big difference in efforts or lack thereof between sales and service. Thoughts?
Jessica Terpstra
Chris you sum it up well. It always amazes me the lack of effort put forward in the digital realm for parts and service. I think you are right on when you say a parts and service customer has the potential to one day be a sales customer. I often find that sales and service within the dealership are very competitive. I am striving to continue to align these profit centers and inform them they can help each other grow. We are making progress but still have a long way to go.

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