Topic: digital retail
Last year, dealerships across Canada were forced to adapt as buyers were suddenly unable to visit their showrooms and service areas. A shift into digital sales and customer service took place overnight, turning a long-predicted future into instant reality. CarGurus quickly rolled out our contactless services feature, allowing dealers to promote their offerings and how they were adapting to new shopping preferences.
Now that public health measures are beginning to ease and there’s light at the end of the tunnel, analysts are beginning to assess whether these changes are likely to stick or if customers will revert to old habits.
The complete answer is complicated, as found in recent survey data compiled by Desrosiers Automotive Consultants and the Canadian Automobile Dealers Association (CADA).
As COVID-19 restrictions continue and even increase in pockets across Canada, automotive sales have been remarkably resilient. Consumers who formerly relied on public transit or ride-hailing are buying cars for the first time or replacing their existing vehicles, spurred on by the social distance they naturally provide.
But do automotive dealers need to worry about another decline as we head into winter and a second wave? From the perspective of complete shutdowns, most likely not: the lessons learned through the initial spring lockdowns are allowing dealerships and other low-risk businesses to continue operating with the right measures in place.
However, some tweaks to the systems and mindsets put in place in April and May could help dealers stay ahead of the unforeseen challenges through the colder months.