While Wizzard might wish that it could be Christmas every day, the average motor trader is generally quite relieved that it does come but once a year. Typically – with the onset of treacherous weather conditions and consumers’ growing preoccupation with shopping, wearing gaudy knitwear and roasting the perfect potato – when the Christmas tree goes up car sales traditionally take a tumble.
During the festive period, dealerships will usually experience their quietest period of the year, forcing many to drop prices in a bid to entice customers. However, with many consumers now choosing to do research online before visiting a dealership, and with sales of tablets such as the new iPad mini and Windows Surface expected to be up 1,000% on last Christmas, festive online car shopping is predicted to be bigger business than ever.
Dermot Kelleher from Motors.co.uk, the used car website that first noticed the so-called ‘Boxing Day Bounce’ last year, says, “Traditionally, dealers have seen the period between Christmas and New Year as dead time in retail terms, as customers are unlikely to be attracted by icy roads and frozen forecourts. However, the rules of retail have now been turned upside down, with buyers increasingly using mobile and tablet devices to research potential cars before arriving at the dealership.”
In 2011, the Motors.co.uk site saw a rise in web traffic of 61 per cent on Boxing Day, meaning that the only downtime expected to be felt around the festive period this year will be from 23 to 25 December.
“Considering the predictions for growth in the use of tablets, the days around Boxing Day have suddenly become a potential retail goldmine for ‘switched on’ dealers,” Kelleher concludes.
While this doesn’t mean that dealership staff should forgo their share of left-over turkey and instead spend their Boxing Day at work, a definite gain is to be had by making dealerships as accessible online as possible, and putting in place an effective way to follow up any festive enquiries as soon as sales staff return. As many customers will be keen to test out their new tablet or smartphone, dealerships that have a simple, intuitive and informative mobile websites will inevitably fare better.
While exploring every retail opportunity is a priority for the majority of the year, remember that the Christmas period is a time to relax, unwind and be merry. From all of us at GForces, we hope you do just that, and have a prosperous new year.