The trucking industry in South Africa has never been more competitive. New truck imports from China and India has made it harder for used vehicles to compete, while fluctuations in stock, demand and interest rates can send the industry veering from famine to feast within a matter of weeks. If dealers hope to stay competitive, they will have to embrace cost effective, wide reaching digital marketing tools.
“The trucking market has changed, and both buyers and sellers have to change with it,” says John Smith, Product and Marketing Manager for Junk Mail Publishing’s Truck and Trailer. “Ten years ago, everyone simply consulted the annual Mead and McGrouther guide to determine the retail and trade-in values of their different truck models and based their buying decisions off of that. But they quickly discovered that a paper price (especially one that is only updated once a year) and reality aren’t always the same. The industry shifts very quickly.”
“Strikes, auctions, closures, production, availability of new vehicles and interest rates all influence the industry. A stronger Rand can lead to months-long waiting lists for new vehicles. A lower interest rate can lead to an influx of trade-ins. Freight truck sales go up when there is an increase in consumer spend. An event like the soccer world cup meant that construction vehicle sales skyrocketed. If you don’t have access to real-time data, you may be left with an insufficient fleet or rigs in your yard that aren’t earning,” says (John Smith).
“Dealers and sellers need up-to-date, daily information at their fingertips, not a dusty annual or anecdotal evidence. There is a diverse need for heavy, medium and light vehicles in various prices and at various times. A smart dealership has to cover as many bases as possible, without running the risk of sitting with stock he can’t move.”
Truck and Trailer now offer(s) dealerships exactly that. “Any dealer that makes use of our digital platform can constantly pull live stats from the site, on their own, without having to request it from us, as often as they need to,” says John Smith. “Unlike other portals, the dealership manages this on their own – we don’t skew the information in our favour, because we know that accuracy is vital in this industry. He or she can review how many trucks has been sold, which make and model sold the best, who his or her customers were, and how many leads approached them over the course of a month, six months or even a year.”
The user-friendly interface also allows buyers and sellers to source new or used vehicles, compare pricing and research the resale value – on a day to day basis. Silver Account users can also download the Truck & Trailer Android App, which allows users to manage stock on their virtual showroom via mobile phone.
“Diversity and quick response times make dealerships the “go-to” guys in this business,” says Smith. “Buyers are more discerning than ever. You have to use all of the tools at your disposal to keep abreast of trends and react to changes in the marketplace. Digital allows you to do that – quickly and easily.”