Spring Is Here for Canadian Dealerships

It is true that, as a society, we are not yet at the end of our challenges with this crisis that is affecting the whole planet. Governments are trying to put in place plans to allow economies to recover and citizens to live a semblance of normal life. It is unknown what will happen in the coming months and we will all have to learn to live with this new normal, at least for the next year.

For car dealers, it seems that the worst is behind them and that consumers are at the ready once again.

Purchasing a car is different to buying other consumer goods. This purchase may be postponed or plans may change, but sooner or later the consumer will have to make a decision. They either invest more in maintenance, get a less expensive model, or simply postpone the purchase by a few months. But, we can be sure of one thing: last week, consumers were in decision mode.

Traffic in Brief

Canada

Over the past week, Canadian traffic has recovered and remains above 100% relative to our reference period: 

      • The last 3 days show growth with traffic above 103%
      • The conversion is at 110% with a high of 117% last Sunday (May 10th). 

 It can now be said, without a doubt, that Canadians are in vehicle buying mode. 

canada-Website Lead-early2020
canada-websitetraffic-m

Quebec

EN-Stats-QC-13mai2020

In Quebec, despite statistics for paid traffic remaining low (86% of traffic and 65% of investments), overall traffic is on the rise. 

      • Altogether, it climbed from less than 90% two weeks ago to 105% for the last 7-day period. 
      • Lead conversions  jumped to 115% peaking at 122% last Sunday. 

 If Quebec dealers suffered the most in April, they must ensure that they put the processes and tools in place to capitalize on this recovery, which seems to be coming sooner than anticipated. All this, with the dealers of Greater Montreal still not having the green light for the reopening of their showrooms.

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QC-Website trafic-early2020

Ontario

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Although showrooms in Ontario dealers have been reopened for more than a week, it appears that the strict measures that are in place, such as mandatory appointments to visit showrooms are slowing the recovery a little. 

      • Visits to our dealership websites are on the rise and are hovering around 100% in the last week. 
      • Sometimes at 96% and the next day at 102% consumers are still present with a conversion rate of 108% compared to our reference period.

The rebound is not as spectacular as in Quebec, but it is still good news.

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web-traffic-ONTARIO

Western Canada

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Western Canada, on the other hand, is recovering a little less strongly. 

      • Traffic is closer to 95% for the last 7 days. 
      • We are seeing the same trend as elsewhere in the country with a conversion to opportunities at around 102%.
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west-web traffic-early2020

Maritime Provinces

Spring fever seems to have hit the Maritimes. 

      • The average traffic for the last 7 days is 110% compared to the beginning of March. 
      • Conversion is at 115%, peaking at 130% Tuesday, May 12th.

The eastern provinces appear to have been less affected by the crisis than the rest of the country over the past two months and this trend continues.

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maritimes-website trafic-early2020

Digital Advertising Still Offers Opportunities

Investment in digital advertising is picking up, but much less rapidly than traffic in general. In May, our customers’ advertising budgets are at 65% of what we should be seeing right now. 

      • Cost-per-click remains consistently below $1 providing opportunities for dealers who remain present. 
      • The return on the dollar invested is about 35% higher than normal, when taking into account the additional traffic generated by the low CPC and the increase in the conversion rate in general. 
      • In addition, a study on the impact of SEO offensives in times of crisis published last week shows that the dealers who continue to publish SEO content have almost 8% more organic traffic since the start of the crisis.

The watchword for the industry should be: be strategic with your advertising investments, and take advantage of opportunities.

Online Chat: A Powerful Tool

One of the biggest surprises of the past few weeks is the effectiveness of chatting on retail sites.

        • The average conversion of all our dealers using CHAT 360 in April was 56% in total (calculated based on the number of conversations engaged that turned into new vehicle sales opportunities, opportunities, or service requests). 
        • 60% of these were for an application on a new or used vehicle.

 Given the remarkable effectiveness of this tool during this difficult time, I am pleased to announce that we are offering 25% off our entire CHAT 360 service from June 1st to the end of 2020 for dealers who already use it and those who wish to benefit from it.

This is one of the ways we can help our dealer clients make the most of the reopening. 

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The Industry Is Changing

In conclusion, although everyone reacts differently to our new reality, one thing remains: those who will benefit the most from the recovery are those who put the processes and tools in place now to engage their customers.


Today’s traffic will inevitably turn into tomorrow’s sales, so don’t miss out on these opportunities. The world has not collapsed. Rather, our reality has changed and we must adapt to it.

Louis-Yves Cloutier
CEO and President

Louis-Yves Cloutier