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Digital Signage in Automotive Dealerships

How do I engage my customers? Sometimes while they wait for a Sales Person they get distracted from their intentions. Other times they come and only purchase precisely what they think they need without considering options or upgrades that might be better suited to their needs. These are some of the questions brought to us by Dealer Principals, General Sales Managers, and General Managers. In fact, two major Canadian Automotive OEM’s had similar questions this year. A great solution for these challenges is digital signage. Unless you’re willing to take on a new hire whose sole job is to greet and give attention to each and every customer, you need digital signage. In Canada, we’re behind the times and it’s time we catch up. Some have made the jump while others are thinking over costs, ROI, what, where, how, and whom do I trust.

"The most effective way to engage your customers at automotive dealerships is with digital signage. It’s modern and is the best visual communication tool for engaging, education and influencing your customers."
Michael Corniffe automotiveThe most effective messages communicated include:

  • Dealership Welcome Messages
  • Regular Service Packages (not specials nor discounts)
  • Seasonal Specials (Winter Maintenance Package)
  • Parts Accessories and Overstocks

That said, some of the most missed opportunities to enhance the image of your dealership is with Community Involvement messaging. Every automotive dealership is approached monthly with causes, charities, fund raising opportunities, and donations. Sadly, not enough time or attention is paid to this type of giving by Dealer Principals.
How, Where, & What?
It’s simple enough to search the web for your local AV company. Anyone can sell you a TV and tell you to plug in a USB Key loaded with content. Or better yet, just run to Costco or Best Buy and purchase a consumer grade TV screen and load up a PowerPoint Presentation yourself. This is absolutely the wrong way to go and will lead to a drastic increase in future costs and missed opportunity. Have you ever seen blank TV screens at a dealership? So, have I.

How & Where: You’ll want to consult a professional digital signage company that knows what they’re doing. Questions to ask yourself when considering digital signage are:

  • Where do I receive the most walk-in traffic in my Showroom?
  • When my customers enter my Fixed Ops areas, where is their attention focused?
  • How high should I put a screen or videowall?
  • Should I allow sound to come from a digital signage unit?
  • How much natural light does any area of my dealership get?
That last question was hugely important to a VW Dealer Principal I spoke to earlier this year. He purchased a massive video wall only to discover that nobody could see their ads or any other content on a sunny day. Not happy!

What: Consider Commercial Grade over Consumer Grade screens. There’s a list of benefits to this that you can access on a piece we ran. We partner with Global Professionals like Samsung and others that have successfully outfitted companies like McDonald’s, GM USA, Hyundai Auto North America and countless others with digital signage.
Digital Signage in Your Showroom
What is the first thing your customers see when they walk into your Showroom doors? What do they want to see? Your best foot forward is crucial to engaging your customers. In a digital age where your customers are accustomed to looking at screens and captivating content, why is it that many dealerships and OEM’s still spend money printing and mounting static posters?

Michael Corniffe digital signage automotive 3What: Consider the size of your Showroom, the height of the ceilings and the amount of natural light when purchasing screens. If lots of natural sun light is coming in, screens with a higher brightness and a higher haze factor are the way to go. Large screens and video walls are great pieces to entice your walk-in traffic.

Whether large screens, small screens, video walls or kiosks, ensure you showcase:

  • Staff profiles and introductions from the GM, GSM, or DP
  • Pictures of the dealership and different areas
  • OEM ads on the best selling vehicles
  • Contact information of all Managers onsite
  • CSI Scores and/or Google or DealerRater Rankings
  • New and Used Inventory w/ interactive Vehicle Configurators (website based)
Where: Most dealerships have enticing vehicles sitting right in front of the entrance before being greeted by Reception. Off to the side of any entrance door and above the reception desk/area are the best areas for digital signage.

If you’re a busy store with many sales people and often have customers waiting, consider displays such as a Signo (Silent Salesman) placed by the vehicles. This interactive, small kiosk will allow your customers to see the content on the vehicle, gather ideas, review options and shorten the sales cycle.
Digital Signage In Your Fixed Operations Areas
Michael Corniffe digital signage automotive 2Service Department: Most dealerships are missing out in this area of Fixed Operations. The service department is a vital part of any car dealership. Research shows that entertaining your customers while they wait for their vehicles could reduce perceived wait times by as much as 45%. What: Consider a slim Video Wall to engage your customers. A 2 by 1 video wall (2 screens side by side) is a great way to distract yet engage your customers. I’ve seen some that display the same message on multiple screens around the Service and Parts area that work really well. This is a great way to ensure that none of your content, service packages or staff introductions goes unnoticed. Where: Optimal areas in today’s modern fixed operations area of a dealership should include:

- Service Waiting Area (large screen streaming news, TV, and dealership content)

- Service Counter (video wall or multiple screens)

Don’t miss out! Most dealerships only stream a local news station like CP24 missing an excellent opportunity better engage with customers and promote products and services. Use a Content Management System like MediaTile to create your own branded version of CP24.

Parts Department: Simply put, the glass cases with odd and outdated products in it are taking up valuable real estate. Items geared towards enthusiasts are missed and very few people have an interest in $5,000 rims. These areas should be stocked with items geared towards your audience. This means better understanding your customer.

A good variety of content in different areas around a dealership has a lot of benefits and cross selling also helps to drive your Showroom Buyers into future in-dealership Service and Parts customers. Digital signage is the most effective way to educate your customers, guide their purchasing decision and create a great experience.
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