What does digital retailing mean for your car dealership? Automotive digital retailing is your dealership’s most powerful new tool, and it’s going to bring you into a shiny new future. More engagement, more sales, less work: keep reading to see how it’s done.
Digital retailing is the all-in-one sales process that makes it easier and more exciting for customers to shop for cars at your dealership. Done right, automotive digital retailing ties your physical and digital processes into one seamless experience that can be navigated in any direction, no matter how many times your customers want to jump from the internet to the showroom and back again.
This article will show you all there is to know about digital retailing, but if you’re already familiar, check out some of our other resources for making the most of your shiny new digital retailing platform:
- How to Choose the Right Digital Retailing Platform for Your Dealership
- How to Implement Digital Retailing at Your Dealership
- Automotive Digital Marketing Best Practices: How to Market Your Dealership
- Download: The MotoCommerce Marketing Checklist
Automotive digital retailing: what it is, and what it isn't
Digital retailing isn’t digital marketing. It’s not your Facebook page, or your online inventory. Digital retailing is the customer’s ability to go deeper into the car buying process online. It’s the future of how cars will be bought and sold, and it’s ready today.1 But first, let’s get some context.
In 2000, car buyers visited an average of five dealerships before pulling the trigger.2 Today, you’re lucky if a customer visits two dealerships during their search. Your customers know what they want to buy and where they want to buy it long before they show up at your door. Consumers are in search of a different way to buy cars, and the dealership is going to play a very different role.
If it feels like the internet is pulling control from your dealership and limiting your influence in the car buying process, you’re not wrong. Your sales team has fewer chances to interact with their customers, and when they do finally get face-time, key decisions have already been made under the influence of content on the internet.3 Dealers are losing control, but that doesn’t have to be a bad thing.
Where does this leave me?
The challenge is to find a way to make sure it’s your dealership people are engaging with from home. The internet has altered the automotive consumer landscape, and your sales team can’t change that by pushing harder. In fact, pushy sales tactics are the last thing customers want. They know your dealership exists, and they know how to find you. When they want to come in and talk, they will – you don’t need to tell them to.
That’s where we circle back to digital retailing. For over a decade, customers have been shopping online; it’s the new norm. Not only that, but consumers are more informed than ever, and they’re comparing their digital experiences across industries. Customers want to buy a car the way they buy every other product.
Think about the last time you emailed Amazon asking for a price on that pair of headphones you wanted. Or when you filled out a multi-page form to request an Uber. We’ll save you some time – it has never happened. Yet these are the conditions customers have to navigate to purchase a car. Amazon deemed their already streamlined checkout process too clunky and now offers “1-Click Ordering”. Traditional car buying practices simply can’t compete.
Omnichannel digital retailing is more effective
The best digital retailing solutions are omnichannel. Omni-channel is the central solution that integrates your customers’ online and in-store experiences across every touchpoint. A true omnichannel digital retailing platform erases the rough transitions where you lose customers, and keeps leads involved and interested no matter how they want to shop.
From the outset, you control how your leads interact with your brand and your inventory. You can funnel people to a general inventory page, or to a specific model you’re trying to push. From there, your customers have complete control over the process – but this time, it’s different.
Each step builds on the last, allowing the users to lead themselves deeper into an experience that you own. That lets you reach your customers directly instead of waiting around for them to find time for you while they make decisions on their own. No emails or phone calls are required – go grab a coffee.
One digital retailing solution for every customer
The real power of your digital retailing solution is that it lets your customers engage exactly how they want. Some people are in a rush to offload their trade-in, secure financing, and pull the trigger; they can do all of that in an hour from any device, and simply show up at the dealership to sign the dotted line and grab the keys.
Other people need time to think. You know the type: they’re going to buy the car eventually, but they really need to sell themselves on the commitment first. The omnichannel solution gives these clients the flexibility to explore all their financing, configuration, trade-in, and delivery options without subjecting your team to hours of repeated questions and circular conversations.
No matter what type of customer you’re dealing with, they ultimately end up at your dealership. Once they’ve identified their preferred dealerships, four out of five buyers jump repeatedly between the internet and the showroom.4 With a fluid omnichannel digital retailing experience, they can bounce between your website and your dealership as many times as they want without losing their place or having to provide the same information over and over again. When you offer your customers transparency and control, your chances of closing skyrocket.
The automotive industry is going digital,5 just like everyone else already has. And just like every other industry, there will be winners and losers – Facebook and Myspaces. A strong digital retailing experience seamlessly integrates your dealership and online presence, and that gives you a new way to leverage customer data, build trust, generate leads, and increase your closing ratio. The best part is that when you do it right, you can close more deals with less manpower. The future is always going to be a challenge, but we can make your effort pay off.