Tuesday, March 24, 2020: Are Vehicle Sales on Pause?

So many events have occurred in such a short time! 

Since our update last Friday, things have changed drastically. In this update, I will walk you through the statistics we have observed on the close to 1000 websites we manage. In addition, I will offer you our perspective on some of the best practices that we are currently seeing in times of crisis and new measures that we will adopt at 360.Agency to help our Canadian dealers.

But first of all, good news!

Last night (Monday), following the announcement of draconian measures to close all businesses in Quebec and Ontario, the governments of the two provinces added auto repair services to the list of essential services. Although some dealerships have decided to temporarily close, several want to keep part of their operations open.

Quebec is stable, Ontario remains strong and Western Canada plummets!

As Canadians adapt to their new reality, the market seems to be stabilizing. In Quebec and Ontario, where social distancing measures began, consumers are still online, searching for their vehicles. However, in the Western provinces, the impact has been brutal.

 Here is an overview of the traffic statistics for the weekend (Friday to Sunday), compared to the week before the social distancing measures:

      • Canada is stable with just under 20% drop in traffic on our dealership websites. 
      • Quebec remains stable with an average drop of 15% on weekend days. 
      • Ontario, on the other hand, seems more solid with traffic almost similar to the period before the crisis. We are recording a drop of around 10% for the weekend. 
      • Western Canada, which had almost no impact at the start of the week, has seen a 35% drop in traffic last weekend. 
      • The average cost per click (CPC) on Google fell to a record low on Sunday, down 30% from the beginning of the month. For dealers still present, this translates into a business opportunity.

Les recherches en ligne reprennent selon Google :

      • Le Canada est stable avec un peu moins de 20 % de baisse d’achalandage sur les sites internet de nos concessionnaires.
      • Le Québec demeure stable avec une baisse moyenne de 15 % sur les journées de la fin de semaine.
      • L’Ontario, quant à lui, semble plus solide avec un trafic presque similaire à la période avant crise.  Nous enregistrons une baisse de plus ou moins 10 % pour le week-end.
      • L’Ouest canadien qui n’avait presque pas subi d’impact en début de semaine se réveille avec une baisse de trafic de 35 % pour la fin de semaine.
      • Le coût par clic (CPC) moyen sur Google est tombé à un creux record ce dimanche, en baisse de 30 % par rapport au début du mois. Pour les concessionnaires toujours présents, ceci se traduit par une occasion d’affaires.

Monday’s activities were disturbed by the new announcements of mandatory business closures.

Canada dropped an additional 10% yesterday (Monday) with traffic at 72% of the pre-crisis levels. These results are mainly due to the reactions of Quebec consumers who recorded their biggest drop with 15% lower than the weekend’s results. Traffic changes in Ontario were less dramatic, down 10% and the West remained stable. We believe Monday’s backlash is temporary and mainly caused by the tough announcements from the governments of Ontario and Quebec.

Are vehicle sales “on pause”?

Canadian dealerships’ reactions to the shutdown range from one extreme to another. When some businesses temporarily close and don’t engage with consumers, others look for ways to continue to do business online. The governments of Ontario and Quebec are easing the rules around online vehicle trading to accommodate the sale of new or used vehicles. As for Quebec, there are plans to allow the signing of a contract at the buyer’s home, while Ontario announces that vehicle sales contracts can be concluded by email. 

At 360.Agency, we were aware that the rules of OMVIC and OPC hampered the deployment of our online sales platforms, SHOWROOM 360-V2. We welcome the new easing of these regulations, which we hope will become permanent.

An Increasing Demand for SHOWROOM 360-V2, Our Online Sales Platform

In the wake of dealers looking to reinvent themselves, we are seeing an increased demand for our SHOWROOM 360-V2 online sales platform. 

We are currently prioritizing installation for clients who already have it on contract or are in the process of doing so. Our goal is to limit the waiting time to two weeks for customers who want to prioritize their installation. We have seen a large number of dealers who have mobilized their Business Development Center and/or a few remote sales people  using our tools (CRM, Website, Chat and Online sales platform) to engage consumers who are still looking for a car online. Many consumers are either at the end of their lease or are planning to change vehicles after the crisis.

In the coming weeks, as consumers will become accustomed to their reality at home, many will spend more time online. We could even see an increase in traffic. Be prudent with your advertising investments, but look out for future opportunities. The comeback could be spectacular for many.

Promotion Showroom V2-COVID-19-EN

50% off monthly fees for SHOWROOM 360-V2

To help our dealership clients who are adapting their business to meet demands and dealing with this new reality, 360.Agency is offering a 50% reduction in monthly fees for our SHOWROOM 360-V2 platforms for new vehicles and SHOWROOM 360-V2 for used vehicles for April and May. This reduction applies to both new and existing customers who will receive an automatic deduction on their invoices.

In addition, all customers who have contracted for one of our SHOWROOM-V2 modules since March 12 will have their installation costs* canceled at the end of this crisis, on the condition that the application is kept in place for a minimum of one year. These measures are intended to stimulate vehicle sales activities and the economy in general. The industry will fare much better after the crisis if the main players, the dealers, have been able to change their vehicle sales strategies.

To conclude, we are experiencing an unprecedented crisis that will undoubtedly leave marks on the economy and consumer purchasing behaviours. In times of doubt like these, we have to question ourselves and think differently. We remain on board to provide an essential service which is our dealerships’ website, the last available showcase in these times of social distancing.

We will be in touch in the coming days to keep you posted on changing consumer habits to help the industry get through the COVID-19 crisis.

Sincerely, 

 

Louis-Yves Cloutier
CEO and President

*(installation costs will be postponed until the normal resumption of activities)

360.Agency