By Ezequiel Arredondo, Contributing writer
An empty sales floor requires some creative planning in order to drive sales revenue. If you’re experiencing an inventory slump, this is a grand opportunity to build up your brand presence and increase your customer base through pre-orders.
Right now, shoppers are searching for their dream powersports unit, and they’re eager to find a dealer who can fulfill their desires — even if it means they need to wait a little longer to get their hands on the purchase. By offering your prospects the chance to place pre-orders, you can create more buzz around your dealership and build up your customer base.
If you plan to launch a pre-order campaign, we recommend using these best practices:
Select a Payment Timeline
Pre-orders can include flexibility in pricing schedules, so it’s important to determine ahead of time how and when payment for a pre-order is due. Depending on what works best for your dealership and shoppers, you can choose one of the following timelines:
• Immediate: Shoppers complete a standard purchase, though with the expectation of a longer shipping period.
• Delayed: Shoppers submit an order but provide payment at a later (predetermined) time, such as the arrival of the bike or ATV.
Update Your Website Banners
As the online sales hub for your dealership, your website needs to be involved in your pre-order sales strategy. Ensure website visitors are well-informed of the opportunity to pre-order by creating prominent website banners. Improve the efficacy of your banners by employing concise messaging and high-quality graphics.
Adjust Your Lead Forms
Odds are that you already have lead forms on your website, and by tweaking their purpose, you can encourage visitors to submit a pre-order request. Dealer Spike has seen our dealers achieve up to 10% more leads by using lead forms as part of their sales campaigns. You can select one or both of the following formats:
• Traditional lead forms are stationary forms that reside on primary pages (e.g., home and inventory). Instead of simply encouraging visitors to connect, prompt them to inquire about pre-ordering and/or submit an order today.
• Popup lead forms appear on your website (typically in a lower corner) as soon as someone clicks on your site, which gives leads the ability to submit a preorder within a few seconds of visiting your website.
Keep Your Inventory Listings Up to Date
We completely understand if you are concerned about promoting inventory on your website that isn’t actually on premise. Rather than scrapping listings for out-of-stock units, mark the listings that are available to be pre-ordered. Your dealer management system — which we hope is integrated with your website — makes it easy to mark which inventory listings can be pre-ordered and which are already spoken for.
Use Social Media Engagement
Social media is the perfect tool to track customer interest build engagement for your sales campaign. With a lot of dealerships eager to attract buyers, a solid social media tactic can help your brand stand out:
• Use paid ads to target the right buyers: User laser-targeted ads to connect with people who are already interested in your vertical industry. Potential audiences can include current customers who have made a similar purchase or website visitors who viewed bike listings without converting.
• Encourage audience engagement: The great value of social media lies in its great capacity for business-to-customer relationships. Promote your comment section and direct messaging as resources for pre-orders, and be sure to respond quickly and consistently.
• Use social listening: Your prospects are talking online about their expectations and challenges for purchasing powersports units. Tap into these conversations by searching for comments regarding your dealership or industry and join relevant community pages or threads to understand shoppers’ needs. With insight comes the knowledge to optimize your social media campaign.
Run Short-Term Promos
Run a limited-time promotion, such as a discount or extended warranty, to encourage shoppers to pre-order their dream bike. The presence of a “first-come-first-served” opportunity is likely to create buzz and engagement with your audience.
Make the Most of Slow Periods
Incoming pre-orders can fluctuate, just like any other sales season. Instead of becoming discouraged, use slow periods as an opportunity to assess the performance of your strategy, optimize your approach and enhance your website’s SEO so that you can be found by more sales leads.
All successful marketing campaigns depend on the right amount of preparation and consistent dedication to drive more buyers. Pre-ordering is no exception! Reach a higher volume of qualified shoppers by creating a comprehensive marketing campaign and following up regularly on any inquiries and orders.
Ezequiel Arredondo is VP of Operations at Dealer Spike.