It has been nearly a week since our last update, and in this time trends have emerged. We can now compare the strategies of our dealers between the end of March and the beginning of April.
Traffic has been stable for Canadian consumers, at about 65% of the traffic of our baseline week, Tuesday, March 3 to Wednesday, March 11, 2020. There has been a slight downward trend in the last two days, probably due to a reduction of investments in digital advertising.
In effect, our clients’ advertising budgets fell by 60% for the month of April, which is not surprising, given the closure of retailers, particularly in Quebec and Ontario. Although several dealers maintain a search engine presence, given the low cost per click and the opportunities that this creates, budgets are focused on social media initiatives and retargeting strategies.
Despite this difficult situation, we are pleased to see that a majority of dealers have not abandoned long-term investments, such as SEO content creation on their websites. This indicates that dealers are fairly confident that we are only in a temporary downturn and that a recovery is on the horizon.
Chat and Online Sales Tools Are Trending
By analyzing the quality of conversations and the rate of conversion into opportunities, which have increased substantially to more than 45% in the past 7 days (up 13%), we detect strong buying intentions among consumers who are still active. More than 50 dealers have taken advantage of our free offer for our CHAT 360 solution, which continues to engage consumers despite staff reductions. Make sure you keep working on your opportunities and use technology to connect with customers who are active in their buying process.
In the past two weeks, we have prioritized the installation of our online sales tool (SHOWROOM 360-V2) to allow several dealers to offer alternatives to their vehicle buyers. Simply having the tools is not the means to an end. The secret lies mainly in funnelling consumers towards the purchasing tools, good marketing on the site, and adjusting your campaigns and ads to contextualize the experience and ease of purchasing from home. Do not underestimate the impact of creating videos or pages that increase consumer confidence in this new way of buying.
Our statistics in brief for the last 7 days
- Canada is stable at 65% of usual traffic, slightly down over the past two days mainly due to a drop in paid traffic.
- Quebec is slower than the rest of the Canadian provinces with traffic varying between 48% and 60%.
- Ontario falls below 80% after new government business initiatives were announced, with a further decline in the last two days around 70%.
- The West follows the Canadian trend at roughly 65%.
- The Maritime provinces, less affected by isolation measures, remain strong at 85% of usual traffic.
In summary, traffic to Canadian dealer sites is expected to continue a slightly declining trend for at the start of April and then level off following major cuts in digital advertising. However, dealers need to have customer tracking processes in place, as thousands of consumers remain in buying mode and demand to be served. In this period of significant volume decline, the quality of opportunities prevails over the quantity.
CEO and President