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The Three C's of Dealership Specials

Heidi Suke, Cobalt Account Advocate
by Heidi Suke, Account Advocate

Are you leveraging all of the tools your website vendor offers to highlight specials on your dealership's site? No?! Why?! Nailing your dealership's Why Buy message is one way to stand out from the competition. But a recent study on the state of specials in automotive revealed that offering current, fresh and exciting specials to shoppers from all of your store's profit centers will put your dealership in exclusive company.

What’s the big deal?

Really...what’s so special about specials? We’ll tell you. Research Director of the Cobalt Retail Insights Group, Peter Kahn, has done extensive research, The Truth About Your Dealership Specials. If you don’t have something compelling, well, they’re off to the next dealership. You don’t want that to happen! Not only do specials make dollars... they make sense, too.

The great news is that the majority of dealers recognize the need for specials related to Service & Parts. Of the 6,000 websites in our study, 75% of stores had service specials, 61% of stores had parts specials.

Auto Dealer Specials Strategies On the flip side, 11% of dealers offered no specials whatsoever. When that happens, the potential customer sees: “We’re Sorry. There are no Specials offered at this time.” That’s not good! Low-funnel shoppers love specials. And of the stores in our study only 14% had specials in all profit centers. We’re not judging, but there’s an area of opportunity here.

So what can you do? Provide something unique and of value to your shoppers, of course.

What do you have that your competitors don’t? When in doubt, just reference The Three C’s:

Be Current

  • If you’re not using the specials tool, make sure expired offers are removed from your site in a
    timely manner (i.e Don’t have a Halloween banner up when Christmas rolls around.)
  • Keep dates fresh and action-driven by making specials last for no longer than 30 days. 

Be Creative

  • Make a specials calendar at the start of every quarter and plan three months out.
  • Use fixed ops specials to support vehicle sales. Add a vehicle special that offers “5 Years of Free Oil Changes” introducing customers to other areas of your business.

Be Compelling

  • Make specials easy to find with clear calls to action on the navigation bar, homepage, etc.
  • Service specials should be timely and weather-related: winterizing, snow tires, air conditioning service, etc.
  • Keep an eye on aged inventory and have a plan in place to promote it through specials.

The good news is that you’re not alone here. Your website provider can help. Cobalt customers can work directly with their Account Advocates to help you make the most of your specials tool today. Remember: Having specials helps you capture more shoppers and prevents them from leaving your site to go to a competitor’s. We promise you’ll “C” a big difference.

Automotive Reputation Management eBook

Featured Study

The Truth About Your Dealership Specials 

Cobalt's Retail Insights team set out to examine the State of Specials in automotive marketing. This whitepaper highlights the major findings of an examination of over 6,000 unique dealership websites.
Download Study

About the Author

Heidi Suke, Cobalt Account Advocate Heidi Suke is an Account Advocate at Cobalt.  She joined Cobalt in the spring of 2012. She likes to say that she’s in the business of connecting with people and helping them achieve success in their business. In terms of previous automotive experience, Heidi answers, “Life is a highway!” Previous to joining Cobalt, Heidi was a video host and an editor for online entertainment news organizations. She admits she will always think fondly of her first car, which was her grandmother’s grey Pontiac Sunbird. But Heidi says her two favorite things in life are yoga and wine, and she enjoys teaching yoga to her fellow Cobaltians twice a week. Feel free to reach out to Heidi at

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Tags: advertising, automotive, car, dealer, dealers, dealership, for, specials, vehicle, websites


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