How vehicle sanitization and disinfection can drive sales and fixed ops revenue

Aug 19, 2020
The Autotrader Team

Early on in this pandemic, shelves were emptied of cleaning supplies, we were warned to wipe down our packages upon delivery, and handwashing became the hottest topic on social media. Basically, the world is more interested in sanitization than ever before, and that extends to vehicle disinfection! 

From online merchandising to sales conversations to service appointments, consumers are looking for dealerships that prioritize their health and safety. Sharing your sanitization and disinfection policies up front and frequently is a great way to differentiate your dealership, attract new customers, and keep the ones you’ve got. 

Sanitize to sell: How communicating your vehicle disinfection procedures can win and keep customers

On your vehicle listings and advertising:

Whether you’re an Autotrader client or not, one thing you’ve likely heard over and over is the importance of online-vehicle merchandising. These days, we need to add vehicle cleanliness to the list of merchandising essentials for your listings.  

Sure, car shoppers still expect a high-quality listing with every vehicle detail possible. But now, they also want to know that when they come face-to-face with a car, it’s sanitized and safe. In your vehicle photos, videos and comments, be sure to make it clear that your vehicles are disinfected and your dealership is a safe place to visit.

And don’t forget to feature your safety measures prominently on your website and in other advertising, as well. Make it clear wherever potential customers are.

Pro tip: Be specific. Show off any certifications or statistics. Are your policies backed by the CDC? Is your product proven to kill 99% of bacteria? Is your process both effective and environmentally friendly? Fill consumers in to build their confidence in your dealership.

Lead follow-up and sales conversations:

Let prospective customers know how you’re ensuring their safety and communicate all your options for minimizing time in the dealership.

Test drives and at-home delivery:

Whether for a test drive at the dealership, an at-home test drive or a home vehicle delivery, you’re more likely to get a “yes” if the consumer knows that the vehicle will be sparkling clean. In fact, the COVID-19 consumer study we’ve been fielding over the past few months reveals the following:

83% of consumers say it’s extremely important to disinfect vehicle surfaces after a service appointment or test drive.

– 2020 Cox Automotive COVID-19 Consumer Impact Study ​ 

Protect and service: How vehicle disinfection services help fill your service bays

It’s not just on the sales side of your business where vehicle sanitization and disinfection play a vital role. Fixed ops is a crucial revenue stream, but according to the latest round of the Cox Automotive COVID-19 Consumer Impact Study, 25% of consumers are delaying vehicle service due to the coronavirus.1

The good news is that the same study showed that consumers would be less likely to delay service if they could avoid human contact and know their vehicle was coming back “germ-free.” So, make sure your potential service customers know that they don’t have to delay service to protect their safety.

Have you considered featuring free vehicle sanitization in your service promotions?

Did you know that more than 700 different kinds of bacteria are living in the average vehicle?2 A lot of your potential service customers are out in their driveways every few days trying to Clorox wipe their way to a safe and clean car.

sanitizing a vehicle after service

“Free vehicle sanitization with your 100,000 mile maintenance!”

“Skip the Clorox wipes this week. You’re due for service. When you bring your car in for maintenance, we’ll provide an expert sanitization service so your ride is germ-free!”

Offering your service customers a chance to have a worry-free and germ-free car may be the differentiator your service department is looking for.

Most people have way too much on to-do lists right now. So, if you’ve got a proven vehicle sanitization process in place, you can help your customers kill two birds with one stone and have a much cleaner car than they can achieve on their own.

Simplify and differentiate your safety measures.

Sanitizing and disinfecting the cars on your lot isn’t just strategic marketing. It’s a smart physical measure to ensure the safety of everyone involved – from your sales team and service department staff to a potential buyer who is test driving or getting in the vehicle for the first time.  

If you’ve already established a process for cleaning and disinfecting your vehicles in the service bay and on your lot, you’re ahead of the curve. You’re providing the peace of mind today’s shoppers are looking for. Hopefully, this post offered an additional idea or two of how you can use your vehicle disinfection measures to increase revenue.

But if you’re wondering how you can adopt a process like this in your store, be sure to check out PureProtect by RideKleen. It’s a a complete vehicle sanitization and disinfection solution with EPA-approved products. Designed to accommodate high-volume operations all the way down to individual vehicle cleaning kits, it may be just what you need to differentiate your dealership. 

For a limited time, Autotrader dealers get 10% off any order with code ATSUMMER10 at checkout on  shop.ridekleen.com (excluding bundled packages).

1Queen Mary University Study 

22020 Cox Automotive COVID-19 Consumer Impact Study ​