Table of contents:
- Yulia Ovchinnikova, Marketing Director, Rolf
- Natalia Litvinova, Director of Advertising and Marketing Department, U Service
- Ekaterina Kuptsova, Head of Advertising and Marketing Department, Avilon JLR
- Anna Utkina, PR-manager of "AutoSpecCentre"
- Anna Panferova, Head of Advertising and Marketing Department, BaltAvtotrade Varshavka
Video: How Was The First Week At Dealers In The Moscow Region After The Restrictions Were Lifted
At the end of March, by order of the government, most of the trading companies, including dealerships, suspended their activities. Russians were urged to stay at home and self-isolation was introduced in most regions - all these measures helped to slow the spread of coronavirus in Russia.
In some regions of the Russian Federation, where the epidemiological situation was "normal", local authorities allowed a number of industries to work in mid-April, but in compliance with strict "antiviral" measures: the mandatory use of medical masks and gloves, distance between people, regular disinfection of premises, and so on. Further. Dealerships gradually returned to offline sales and noted the public's interest in buying cars.
Car dealerships in the Moscow region were allowed to open from May 25. We talked with representatives of auto holdings and found out how their first working week went.
Most of the interlocutors noted that the number of visits and calls during the first working week approached the pre-crisis level. For example, for Nissan and Skod dealers of the AutoSpecCentre company, this indicator was only 20% lower than in March, and the number of service calls increased by more than 1.5 times, compared to the week before the opening of dealerships. U Service noticed an influx of Moscow customers - their number grew by 12% compared to the beginning of the year. The cost per lead from contextual advertising has noticeably decreased - for example, for the Ki and Nissan brands, it has dropped three times. Here's what else car dealerships said about the first working week.
Yulia Ovchinnikova, Marketing Director, Rolf
Thanks to the permission of the authorities to return to offline work, the sales results in May will be better than the April ones, but compared to last year, the numbers will still be noticeably lower. Today, customers do not come to a car dealership “just to see”, therefore, after the resumption of the work of showrooms in all ROLF dealerships near Moscow, there are already concluded deals. Often buyers leave orders for the "assembly" of cars of premium brands, but the number of such orders is now no higher than before the beginning of April. At the same time, the demand for online purchases remains - we predict that some of the transactions will take place remotely, even after all restrictions are lifted.
I am glad that sales are gradually growing, but we do not expect a quick recovery of the market after the lifting of restrictions. This will depend, among other things, on measures of state support. Based on past experience, we can say that customers like the preferential car loan programs and the trade-in program to support the replacement of an old car with a new one. These measures stimulate the audience now, while it is possible to choose the brand and dealer that will offer the best conditions. The government has already announced the expansion of the First Car and Family Car programs, increasing the limit on the purchase of a car worth up to 1.5 million rubles. But due to the gradual rise in price, this bar needs to be raised to 2 million, as well as to expand the list of models that fall under the program.
In our dealerships, the entire list of measures developed by the government of the Moscow region is carried out: keeping distance, glove and mask mode, regular health checks of staff, and so on - this ensures that visiting car dealerships is safe. These measures do not prevent employees from doing their jobs. The only serious limitation is the impossibility of conducting test drives.
Natalia Litvinova, Director of Advertising and Marketing Department, U Service
After the opening of car dealerships, offline traffic in dealerships of brands, the mass market reached a "pre-pandemic" level.Online traffic has also grown, but largely due to increased advertising activity. But we can safely say that people were waiting for information about the opening of the salons and, as soon as this happened, they launched an attack on the sales departments. This is confirmed by the results: some brands, for example Infiniti, have returned to pre-crisis indicators - in the last week of May, more cars were issued than in the same period in February. But by the end of the month, sales are three times worse than those in February.
Last week, we noticed an increase in the number of customers from Moscow, where car dealerships are still closed. Some of them were deliberately sent by us to the Moscow region - in order to promptly process incoming traffic and issue cars: contacts of customers who did not mind going to a dealership in the region (within the same brand) were transferred to the managers in the corresponding salon. The share of clients from the capital in such salons has grown by 12% in comparison with the time when Moscow dealers were working.
Most of the requests come for cars in stock - people are ready to buy right away. We predict that high demand will continue in the next 2-3 weeks, because some brands are preparing for price increases, which also encourages not to postpone the purchase. Buyers who are willing to wait are those who have not yet decided on a purchase. Ki and Nissan show excellent dynamics: for them, the cost of referrals from contextual advertising has dropped three times. Demand and conversion from “interest” to selling for Infiniti have grown significantly.
We comply with all prescribed safety measures - this is a prerequisite for the opening of salons and safe interaction with customers. Showrooms have a lot of infographics, information signs, restrictive stickers, "distance" tapes, and so on. Employees and clients - in personal protective equipment, sanitizers are placed everywhere. But the life of the dealership staff, of course, has become more difficult.
Ekaterina Kuptsova, Head of Advertising and Marketing Department, Avilon JLR
It is too early to talk about any dynamics of offline traffic, but online traffic remains at a high level. Customers use remote services such as online shopping, vehicle appraisals and trade-in auctions. In addition, we completely switched to the distance selling format - this strategy brought us more than 40 issues with home delivery during the period of self-isolation. The accumulated bank of contracts will make it possible to significantly increase these figures already in June.
We managed to increase the audience from non-capital regions - by about 6% compared to last year. Customers are showing strong demand for stock cars. First of all, because of the prospect of price increases.
We comply with all regulations. They are specific but doable. In the premises of the center, full sanitization is carried out twice a day, and cars that enter the salon are disinfected. A hand sanitizer is installed in the showroom, which is always at the disposal of customers and employees. The personnel keep their distance, provided with Caspers, protective masks, gloves. Personal protective equipment is also issued to each client upon entering the showroom.
Anna Utkina, PR-manager of "AutoSpecCentre"
In the first week of lifting restrictions on offline traffic (calls and visits) amounted to 80–85% of the March indicators, although over the past two months the volume of calls remained at the level of 20–25%. The number of calls to the service increased by 70% compared to the beginning of the month. Online traffic remained at the same level.
In just a week, there were as many issues and signed contracts as from May 1 to May 24: people very quickly pick up cars, more often from what is available. At the same time, no redistribution of preferences between the segments was noticed, which cannot be said about the audience: residents of the capital began to apply less often, and the Moscow region - more often.Until the end of March, there were about half of clients from Moscow, now - only a third.
In the coming month, we expect an increase in the volume of sales relative to April and May - mainly due to the demand delayed by two months. The past week shows that buyers are trying to implement the plans outlined earlier, and dealers are trying to meet customer expectations and satisfy the demand as much as possible.
For the safety of customers and employees, we comply with all the regulations of the authorities: masks, gloves, antiseptics, and so on. But there are also difficulties - the availability of everything you need: for example, you need to wait for ultraviolet lamps for more than a month. It has become more difficult to interact with clients - it is necessary to adhere to the schedule of visits in order not to allow a large crowd of people.
Anna Panferova, Head of Advertising and Marketing Department, BaltAvtotrade Varshavka
Compared to March indicators, offline traffic, of course, sank. But relative to April and May, the number of calls is gradually increasing. Online traffic is also going up, but largely due to an increase in the number of advertising campaigns - this is necessary in order, among other things, to “swing” faster in June. I am glad that customers are focused on buying, while someone is ready to redeem it right away, and someone is ready to order a car "for themselves" and wait. We had contracts and issues with the delivery of cars in April, but in May - much more. However, 30-40% of the audience are not yet ready to buy cars online.
We comply with all regulations to ensure the maximum safety of our customers and employees. At the dealership, the loudspeaker gives information about the need to maintain a distance and use personal protective equipment - the entrance is strictly wearing a mask and gloves. At the entrance we measure the temperature, sanitizers are installed, we give out masks and gloves if customers do not have them. Employees also use protective equipment and maintain distance when interacting with the client and colleagues. There are no difficulties in this - it did not disrupt the processes. On the contrary, it helps to show an individual approach to the client: for example, when handing over a car for a service and issuing a car, we treat it with disinfectants.
One of the most important conclusions for dealers and the market: buyers are ready to realize the deferred demand and purchase cars… Customers leave pre-orders, sign contracts and quickly pick up cars. In general, dealers assess the first working week positively: the employees of the car dealerships were happy to return to work, the dealers were able to promptly process requests for service, purchase of cars and spare parts.
So far, the interlocutors speak with restraint about the prospects for the coming months: for some time clients will carry out their plans, but globally, the speed of market recovery will depend on the measures to stimulate demand that the government proposes.
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