Posts Tagged Automotive Sales

Sometimes It’s Better To Cut Your Losses – Automotive Digital Marketing ProCom

Sometimes It’s Better To Cut Your Losses – Automotive Digital Marketing

Richard Holland writes: “Through the actions of this call center rep, and a customer with a recorder at hand, over 5 million people have now listened to this call.”

While it’s hard to believe that this is a typical experience, it only takes one extraordinary experience to make a huge difference. If that experience is good, wonderful things happen. If that experience is poor, there is always the chance that our always-connected world makes your business a celebrity – but not in the way you want to be known.

Great companies realize that great experiences can create more business for them.

They also know when it’s time to say goodbye to a customer who wants to leave. Providing a great customer experience is absolutely important to customer retention and loyalty. Smart business people also realize that providing a great customer experience for someone who doesn’t want to do business with you anymore can be just as important. That last impression can be vital.

How you say goodbye is just as important as how you say hello.

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Use “Hummer Tax Loophole” To Sell More Vehicles In December

Are You Using \”Hummer Tax Loophole\” To Sell More Vehicles In December?

Car Dealer uses “Hummer Tax Loophole” to Educate Commercial Vehicle Buyers and Close More Deals In December

I received the following commercial vehicle buyer targeted explanation of the tax advantages businesses can gain by purchasing one or more new vehicles before December 31st. I received in my overcrowded Gmail inbox, where it caught my attention and I found it to be so compelling that it merited being shared with the ADM Community… The dealer group that sent it to me is the Resnick Automotive Group of Schaumburg, Illinois. I also added several sections with further detail directly from the IRS towards the bottom of this post:

One of the more popular uses of the Section 179 Deduction has been for vehicles. In fact, several years ago the Section 179 deduction was sometimes referred to as the “Hummer Tax Loophole,” because a the time it allowed businesses to buy large SUV’s and write them off. While this particular use (or abuse) of the tax code has been modified with the limits explained below, it is still true that Section 179 can be advantageous in buying vehicles for your business.


You still have an excellent opportunity through 12/31/2013 to minimize your tax liability by purchasing a qualifying Car, Truck  Van or SUV. Plus, under the Tax Relief / Job Creation Act of 2010, qualified small business owners who purchase a qualifying vehicle GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight) of 6000 pounds or more, may even have greater benefits if the vehicle is entirely used for business purposes.

  • Under the IRS ruling, the following  new “trucks” qualify.
  • Consult your accountant/tax advisor for complete details and eligibility.
  • Qualifying Vehicles of 6000 lbs. GVWR

Mercedes-Benz

Lexus

Toyota

Sprinter Van
ML350
GL450/550
GL350 BTC
G550

GX460
LX570

Tundra
4Runner
Sequoia

Additional Savings:
 Special Finance Rates, Factory Incentives and Dealer Year-End Discounts

Additional Section 179 Details Published by the IRS:
Update / IRS Guidelines for Vehicles in 2013

The IRS has not yet released guidance concerning Section 179 and Bonus Depreciation as it relates to vehicles for the year 2013. The guidance will be published in the Internal Revenue Bulletin sometime after April 15th. So be patient, and check back here often for the release date.

There are a number of qualifications for vehicles, all with varying tax treatment. Please refer to page 6 of these Instructions for Form 2106 to read the exact IRS language.

What are the limits on Typical Passenger Vehicles?

For passenger vehicles, trucks, and vans (not meeting the guidelines below), that are used more than 50% in a qualified business use, the total deduction for depreciation including both the Section 179 expense deduction as well as Bonus Depreciation is limited to $11,060 for cars and $11,160 for trucks and vans.

Exceptions include the following vehicles:

  • Ambulance or hearse used specifically in your business;
  • Taxis, transport vans, and other vehicles used to specifically transport people or property for hire;
  • Qualified non-personal use vehicles specifically modified for business (i.e. van without seating behind driver, permanent shelving installed, and exterior painted with company’s name).

Limits for SUVs or Crossover Vehicles with GVWR above 6,000lbs
Certain vehicles (with a gross vehicle weight rating above 6,000 lbs but no more than 14,000 lbs) qualify for expensing up to $25,000 if the vehicle is financed and placed in service prior to December 31 and meet other conditions.

What Vehicles Qualify for the full Section 179 Deduction?

Many vehicles that by their nature are not likely to be used for personal purposes qualify for full Section 179 deduction including the following vehicles:

  1. Heavy “non-SUV” vehicles with a cargo area at least six feet in interior length (this area must not be easily accessible from the passenger area.) To give an example, many pickups with full-sized cargo beds will qualify (although some “extended cab” pickups may have beds that are too small to qualify).
  2. Vehicles that can seat nine-plus passengers behind the driver’s seat (i.e.: Hotel / Airport shuttle vans, etc.).
  3. Vehicles with: (1) a fully-enclosed driver’s compartment / cargo area, (2) no seating at all behind the driver’s seat, and (3) no body section protruding more than 30 inches ahead of the leading edge of the windshield. In other words, a classic cargo van.
Other Considerations
  • Vehicles can be new or used (“new to you” is the key).
  • The vehicle can be financed with certain leases and loans, or bought outright.
  • The vehicle in question must also be used for business at least 50% of the time – and these depreciation limits are reduced by the corresponding % of personal use if the vehicle is used for business less than 100% of the time.
  • Remember, you can only claim Section 179 in the tax year that the vehicle is “placed in service” – meaning when the vehicle is ready and available – even if you’re not using the vehicle. Further, a vehicle first used for personal purposes doesn’t qualify in a later year if its purpose changes to business.

via Automotive Digital Marketing Professional Community.

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Car Dealer Website Live Chat vs. Contact Form: What Is The Difference?

Live Chat vs. Contact Form: is there really a difference?

The difference between a contact form and live chat is that chat is, well, LIVE. Much more than a virtual answering service for your phones, a good chat operator can guide visitors through the website (including inventory), set appointments, provide Edmunds.com data about vehicles or CarFax reports up to twenty-four hours a day (with participating dealers and select live chat providers), and much more. The live chat operator becomes a car shopper’s ‘concierge in the cloud’.

Read the rest of the article at the source via Automotive Digital Marketing Professional Community.

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Facebook and Twitter Offer Dealers New Ad Targeting Capabilities – Automotive Digital Marketing Professional Community

via Facebook and Twitter Offer Dealers New Ad Targeting Capabilities

For the dominant social networks, the pressure is on. Facebook’s IPO cast a harsh light on its advertising revenue business models, which are not growing as fast as Wall Street had hoped. Twitter, on the other hand, has to prove that it has a business model for driving revenue that scales large enough to keep their doors open.

One way to add value to what is offered to advertisers and thus gain more ad dollars is to ramp up ad targeting, which both companies have done over the past few months. But while Twitter is playing it safe, Facebook is pushing the envelope with new tools, including corporate data base “Match-Back” services that could deliver the exact automotive consumers your dealership is looking for… But, could also bring the web equivalent of junk mail to your Facebook page.

Most Americans are accustomed to the rules of engagement for direct mail, which is very much an offline practice. (Subscribe to a new magazine? Don’t be surprised to see a raft of offers for credit cards in your mailbox.) But Facebook is allowing its big advertisers, including car companies and dealer groups to match the email addresses and phone numbers they’ve collected with Facebook profiles matching that data.

Car Companies, automotive retailers and mass marketed brands will be able to sync their entire CRM databases to their customer’s Facebook profiles. This matching set of Facebook profiles then being used to more efficiently target their customers while they are logged into Facebook, and before they have become that company’s Facebook page “Fan”. This allows car companies and dealers to invest advertising dollars into showing their Facebook Ads to targeted customers immediately, rather than waiting for them to “like” the brands’ content or page.

The move raises a number of privacy questions. When a consumer gives an email address or number to a marketer, there’s the expectation he will get communication from the brand. But what about when it comes to Facebook? “I don’t think anyone who has given an email and phone number to Facebook expected it to be used by Tide to target ads at them,” said Alan Chapell, an attorney who consults with ad-tech companies on privacy policies.

Facebook says it’s giving users two opportunities to opt out. First, a marketer must ask permission from customers to reach them on Facebook. Second, users can opt out by clicking a box on the ads themselves.

Twitter’s gentler approach


Twitter, which described its new targeting option as the biggest change to its ad capabilities since they were first introduced, is taking a more cautious approach. Twitter’s interest targeting includes 350 prepackaged categories, from the broad “pets” or “films” to more niche subcategories like “documentaries” and “Bollywood.”

The categories are not created from the content of tweets themselves, but from user actions on Twitter such as retweets and favorites, and whom users follow. If you follow Anthony Bourdain, for example, that’s a clue that you’re a foodie.

Unlike Facebook, Twitter is intrinsically public and users have no expectation of privacy. Yet Twitter’s approach to targeting is likely to be perceived as less invasive than, say, Google’s mining of search data or Gmail. “We have always been thoughtful and deliberate in how we roll out our advertising products and features,” a spokeswoman said in a statement. “This certainly applies to targeting as well.”

From a revenue standpoint, Facebook is under decidedly more pressure to ramp up revenue — fast.

One could also argue that users have higher switching costs since many have spent years accumulating connections, photos and apps. That’s why we predict it will keep pushing the envelope until the scope of its business matches the ubiquity of its user base, and why the ad targeting has only just begun.

Article Source:

AdAge.com

Facebook Infographic Source:

Mashable.com

Twitter Infographic Source:

Guy Kawasaki and Infographic Showcase

via Automotive Digital Marketing Professional Community.

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Yes, QR Codes Do Work – Automotive Digital Marketing Professional Community


See our QR Code in action. Scan the above QR Code to visit our Digital Dealer 13 site.

QR codes are all the rage, but do they work?

According to my Cobalt client, Lezley Pumphrey, BDC Manager of Motor City Buick GMC, the answer is yes. Her dealership started using QR codes in November 2011, directed at the Motor City Buick GMC Gateway page for GMC.

To date, they have seen a total of over 500 visitors from this new marketing method, a nice bump in traffic.

Pumphrey states, “At Motor City Buick GMC, we strongly believe in mobile traffic. Consumers no longer wait for an email response from dealerships. They grab their mobile device, research the dealership, and walk-in. The more mobile presence we can get, the better. We are always looking for ways to increase our QR code and Mobile website traffic.”

Lezley is not the only one seeing more traffic thanks to QR codes. In general, I would say dealers have gotten an average of 50-100 extra visitors per month through QR codes if they actively use them. These numbers aren’t huge, but the traffic is relevant and over time makes an impact. In addition these numbers are only expected to grow as the rise of QR codes continues.

In fact, a June 2012 Econsultancy Survey reports that 1 in 2 auto industry marketers are using QR codes to encourage customers to interact with their brand.

As with any emerging media, the big challenge is how to educate your clients and successfully incorporate QR codes into your in-store processes. Here are a few ideas:

  • Incorporate QR code giveaways at dealership events
  • Add a QR code to the last picture of vehicles details page
  • Incorporate QR codes on newspaper ads, monthly newsletters, direct mailers, etc
  • Add QR codes on vehicle stickers
  • Incorporate a QR code on signage in your service department so that people can scan while they wait
  • Place QR codes on the back of business cards for the sales staff – this way they can see a live view of inventory right away if they need it

Making QR codes a natural part of all your marketing can pay off in unprecedented ways when it comes to closing individual car sales, but you have to put in the time and effort to educate your sales staff and your clients.

Just think: a man may be interested in purchasing a car, but he needs to go home and talk to his wife first. The salesperson should have him scan the QR code for that vehicle in inventory so he can quickly and easily show his wife the car when he gets home. In essence, the dealership controls exactly what this man sees when he scans. This can have compelling aftereffects if the consumer is educated on its purpose. The key is to ensure the sales associate informs the consumer on how to later use the QR code.

Remember, innovation and education go hand in hand. In order to be successful, you need to educate both your staff and your shoppers about how to use these new codes. Start internally at the dealership. Train your staff on how to use QR codes and make sure they are comfortable using them. The same goes for your customers; since QR codes are new to many, it helps to incorporate clear instructions like “Scan this code on your phone to see 327 fresh-on-the-lot vehicles!” You may even want to have a link with a guide on how to scan a QR code. The clearer and easier you make it, the easier it will be to integrate.

Note: Motor City Buick GMC’s QR Codes come from their Cobalt Digital Advertising Packages. They get one QR code per month per package that integrates with their current incentives. They have used these QR codes on mailers, websites, and in the dealership. Learn more about our QR code offering today.

Do you have a great QR story? Share your story below.

By Jessica Terpstra

Cobalt Digital Advertising Analyst II

Original article can be found here.

via Yes, QR Codes Do Work – Automotive Digital Marketing Professional Community.

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Peacheetameleon: New Cobalt Study Shows Car Dealers Must Evolve to Survive

Peacheetameleon: New Cobalt Study Shows Dealers Must Evolve to Survive

When it comes to automotive digital marketing, it’s a jungle out there, and a new Cobalt eBook proves that dealers need to change their spots to survive.

According to new data from Cobalt’s car-buyer intelligence database, car-shoppers visit a minimum of eight dealer websites, with some visiting as many as twenty in a single day. With so much competition, consumer loyalty is clearly an endangered species. What’s a dealer to do to win the sale?

Evolution, baby. To survive, a dealer must take a cue from some common jungle fauna. Enter the Peacheetameleon, a mysteriously powerful new trybrid creature that is one third peacock/one third cheetah/and one third chameleon.

The Anatomy of a Peacheetameleon Dealer Website

  1. The Peacock: Like the most vibrant bird in the jungle, dealers need an eye-catching website to engage and dazzle those who have been desensitized by hours of dizzy web-surfing. Stop them in their tracks with a captivating design that-much like the peacock-shows off your best assets: competitive messaging like largest inventory, awesome specials, or great customer service. Websites with drag and drop capability make it easy and fun to mix up your dealer website with vibrant designs.
  2. The Cheetah: Looks are one thing, but it doesn’t matter how compelling your dealer site is if it takes eons to load. Look for websites that are HTML5 compatible so they can load with lightening speed on any device (tablets, mobiles, desktops, oh my!)
  3. The Chameleon: On a related note, you don’t want to blend into the digital landscape like the chameleon, but you DO want a website that easily adapts to any surroundings. A dealer website that is optimized for tablets, mobiles, and desktops ensures you can provide ideal car-shopping experiences anywhere, a must for today’s on-the-go shopper.

Becoming a Peacheetameleon takes work, but it’s worth it. Additional data demonstrates that today’s car-shoppers are easy pickings for the differentiated dealer. Our new eBook found that 60% of consumers haven’t selected a make and model, and 64% of shoppers visiting your dealer website will purchase within 60 days.

Translation: these shoppers are in-market, undecided, and looking for something that’s going to catch their eye and put their mindless web surfing to rest. All you have to do is be the dealer that stands out from the pack.

To find out more about real car-shopper behavior and how to differentiate your dealer website, download the full eBook ““The Guide to the Modern Car-Shopper: Connecting the Dots from Thei…

Jade Makana is Corporate Storyteller at Cobalt. She is passionate
about bringing brands to life through competitive positioning. Her
first car was a maroon Toyota Corolla named Ruby.

Illustration by Yan Chow, Cobalt Designer

via Automotive Digital Marketing Professional Community

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Edmunds Releases 2013 Car Shopping Trends Study – Automotive Marketing Professionals

Edmunds 2013 Car Shopping Trends Report

There are many dealers who have strong criticisms regarding Edmunds.com, but regardless of whether you consider Edmunds an asset or a liability to the retail auto industry there is little debate about their unique position within the vehicle buying process for many millions of automotive consumers…

The stark reality for car dealers seeking greater understanding of how car buyers shop online in 2013 is that Edmunds.com has the ability to paint a vivid portrait of today’s online car shopper… Which includes 9 out of 10 new and used vehicle buyers!

About 18 million visitors use the Edmunds.com site every month to shop for their next new or used car, and this gives the Edmunds team an unparalleled insight into the car buyer’s research and shopping process.  For as many years as I can remember, Edmunds has used the online automotive consumer activity to generate extensive research data and analysis to drive the sort of car buying insights that would establish itself as one of the more valuable resources for car companies and dealers to better understand car shopping and the way buyers use automotive information.  Historically, Edmunds has made the analysis and insights available to their business partners and to the public through academic inquiries and media requests.  However, Edmunds has not previously assembled together the complete volume of current time period data and the analysis and insights gleaned in one coherent piece.

By publishing and making available the 2013 Edmunds.com Car Shopping Trends Report, they have provided the auto industry and especially dealers and automotive marketers with a true gem of a document.  The report which ADM Professional Community members can download using the link at the bottom of this blog post, shows the results of extensive data mining within the Edmunds.com’s extensive database to reveal the most relevant car shopping and purchasing trends in America today.  These trends offer direct clues toward ways that the automotive industry can move forward by empowering a more engaging car shopping experience.

Throughout the 2013 Edmunds.com Car Shopping Trends Report, you’ll also find references to a 2011 survey conducted by “Added Value” on behalf of Edmunds.com that asked 2,476 online car shoppers representing the U.S. car shopper population to describe their expectations for their next car purchase.  Edmunds correlated these responses to real-world buying data to see if shopper expectations match reality. In preparing their analysis and conclusions, the Edmunds market research team found many striking consistencies between the two sets of market research data. These surprisingly strong correlations between the two reports suggest that car shoppers have a strong sense of the automotive marketplace and that they know how to set reasonable expectations around price, availability and product performance.


By evaluating this wealth of data provided by the Edmunds team, you will find a story about car shoppers that is often surprising and counter-intuitive to many dealers and automotive professionals.  While at other times, the Edmunds data reinforces critical theories held by car dealers, automotive sales professionals and throughout the auto industry. Some of the key findings in the 2013 Edmunds.com Car Shopping Trends Report include:

  • Two out of every three car shoppers consider themselves highly engaged in the car shopping process, and they turn to a variety of information to help them decide on a new or used car. Time spent on Edmunds.com is up 2 percent from 2011 to 2012. And the most-viewed elements by new car shoppers on Edmunds.com are reviews, pricing information and photos.
  • Mobile access is becoming a powerful tool for car buyers. Traffic to Edmunds.com’s mobile site spikes on the weekends – and especially on Saturdays – when the bulk of car buying takes place.
  • Shoppers are very good at anticipating how much they’ll pay for a new car. New car shoppers told us in 2011 that they plan to spend $30,500, on average, for their next vehicle. In fact the average transaction price for a new car the following year was $30,803.
  • The average age of a new car buyer is about four years older than the average age of a used car buyer.

  • Shoppers are turning to leases now more than ever. And the difference between the average monthly lease payment ($433) and the average monthly finance payment ($468) is greater than at any time since Edmunds.com started keeping records.

  • About 44 percent of all trade-in vehicles last year went toward a new car by the same brand, which is consistent with our 2011 survey that found that 49 percent of shoppers say they “plan to stick with a brand that has worked in the past.”
  • Luxury car owners and shoppers are buying and considering more nonluxury cars. The trend speaks to the improved quality of non-luxury vehicles.

  • Many shoppers say they want just the basics in a new car, but emotions can drive buyers to add options. New car buyers are willing to spend an average of $2,200 – or about seven percent – above base model and trim prices to add more options on their cars. 

The Edmunds.com’s 2013 Car Shopping Trends Report is intended to be a free resource for ADM Professional Community members who are interested in creating a better car buying experience. This is just the first in a series of reports that the Edmunds Research team hopes will shed more light on car shopping behavior.  The team intends these findings to open up a dialogue which will contribute to the ongoing improvements within the automotive retail industry. They also want to encourage ADM Professional Community members to contact Edmunds at any time to discuss more ways that Edmunds.com can help you better understand today’s car shopper.

Here is a link to download a PDF version of the Edmunds.com’s 2013 Car Shopping Trends Report: http://static.ed.edmunds-media.com/unversioned/img/industry-center/… 

Edmunds Points of Contact

For Dealer Inquiries: 855-EDMUNDS
For Press Inquiries: 310-309-4900

Source: http://www.edmunds.com/industry-center/car-shopping-trends/

Edmunds Annual New Vehicle Sales Forecast for 2013 and Historical Actual Sales:

via Edmunds 2013 Car Shopping Trends Report – Automotive Digital Marketing Professional Community.

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