Interesting times lead to interesting and often more innovative, creative marketing and operational processes.
Not surprisingly at this time, yachts and powerboats are not seen as essential items and are therefore not a priority to many who would normally be excited at this time of the year about their upgrade or brand new toy.
SO – not being a brand known for sitting still and yet fully aware how there are more important things going on in peoples lives, Ancasta, have been trying to find ways to remain front-of-mind by creating “nice distractions” that will also enable clients to move forward in their boat search and purchase even whilst in lockdown. What has become apparent is the amount of work that can be done remotely, the communications, the dissemination of information, the service and process that can be carried out online. This is what will make the biggest step change in the post corona world. Yes there is always going to be a need for face to face interaction as part of the boat sales process but it is astonishing just how much can be done from afar.
Our current goal is to make it as safe and as simple as possible for potential buyers to view new and used boats as soon as access is made available. There is a large amount of work to be done ahead of the physical viewing (and some are happy to move ahead without a viewing) but for the majority it is going to be about restoring confidence as quickly as possible to enable buyers to make the most of the 2020 season. To do this means the work needs to be done now. Representing vendors, finding buyers, providing information, putting the deals together and delivering the usual first class service (perhaps without the provision of fresh coffee) on-line instead of in one of our bricks and mortar office locations.
To kick start this we put on a virtual boatshow in early April (very soon after lockdown was announced in the UK) – this comprised of a virtual marina location on ancasta.com displaying the largest collection of power and sailboats from the Beneteau Groupe…. ever! The aim was to try to recreate as many aspects of a traditional boat show as possible allowing visitors to select boat models, take 360 virtual tours, view the spec options, get quotes and importantly chat to a member of the boat show sales team about everything from marine finance to the colour of the saloon cushions. There have been many virtual shows popping up since in the past couple of weeks but most have lacked the critical element of live chat – that ability to deliver more than just re-laid web content.
The show ran for ten days and the results spoke for themselves. In these times when we anticipated boatsales to fall off a cliff, the show delivered a 70.8% lift on ancasta.com traffic (L4L 2019) with over 7,000 visitors to the show page itself. More importantly it stimulated conversations with inactive clients, it introduced a huge number of new individuals to the brand and even generated some deposits during the show and in the weeks that followed. The majority of these buyers still need to see the physical boats which is why the speed of recovery of the sector will be increased dramatically if dealers and brokers do the work now to line-up viewings and sea trials ready for when we get the green light.
Ancasta are keen that those looking for a new boat do not have their boat search delayed any more than is necessary (yet still in-line with government guidelines) and so have a set of procedures already in-place to allow for viewings to happen. Potential buyers can visit with the confidence that the environment will be safe and secure for them to view the boats they have had their eye on over the past few weeks and they do not even need to see a broker unless they request it. There is no need to enter an office or have contact with anyone outside of the individuals they are viewing the boat with (ie: their “lockdown family”). For questions (and security), the broker can remain at a distance on the pontoon and there is a specific process in place around social / personal distancing and sanitisation.
Following the success of the Virtual Boat Show last month and the demand from clients since, Ancasta are now building a Virtual USED Boat Show which is due to display over 150 quality used sail and powerboats. In a similar format to the VBS, there will be a marina destination – the difference being with the use of a filter system, visitors will be able to populate the marina with just the boats they wish to view. In a similar way to the VBS, there will be information and tours available with brokers on-hand to answer any questions, arrange viewings and lend their professional advice to help the buying process. The show will be a one-stop-shop for buyers with information available on marine finance, insurance, after sales support and with MDL Marinas onboard as show sponsors, visitors will even be able to research where they are to keep their new boat!
The dates for the show are: 21st – 25th May and you will be able to find the marina on this site.
If you are looking to sell a boat – the Ancasta Virtual USED Boat Show will create the best possible platform from which to sell your powerboat or yacht.
There is still time to enter your boat into the show so please see: https://ancasta.com/events/the-ancasta-virtual-used-boat-show-2020/ or contact your local office for more information.
Hope to see you on the water soon.
The Ancasta Team