The auto dealer’s guide to navigating today’s digital landscape

Thomais Zaremba / February 2021
An illustration of an online automotive shopping site floating among stylized hills and mountains.

From ridesharing to electric vehicles to driverless cars, the automotive industry faced major disruptions long before COVID-19. But the past year has brought about rapid shifts in consumer behavior, which accelerated new trends that impacted the entire sector, from manufacturers to dealers.

In the first six months of 2020, for example, nearly 10% of cars were sold online,1 compared with just 1% of cars sold online during all of 2018.2 For auto marketers, this required a quick pivot to online retailing and a fully digitized purchase journey.

Navigating the current crisis is complicated and challenging, but there are new ways for auto marketers, and dealerships in particular, to turn the changes and challenges into new opportunities. We updated our Auto Dealer Guidebook to help.

Inside, we offer four key steps to accomplish your current goals and position your business for future success. These best practices and examples from a variety of dealerships will help you:

1. Catch up on the latest trends impacting the automotive industry.

2. Maintain your momentum by aligning your ad spend strategy to the audiences most likely to convert to a car sale.

3. Grow your business by delivering the right message to the right auto shoppers.

4. Prepare for the future by leaning into automation and online retailing.

With car shoppers more willing to buy online, auto marketers must bridge the divide