Online shopping and the growth of the accessibility of information have fundamentally transformed the way consumers want to buy goods. With all these changes, many auto dealerships are struggling to keep up and meet the changing expectations of customers.
To help dealerships keep up with modern sales trend, MAXDigital is pleased to introduce MAX Path to Purchase, a first-of-its-kind sales solution to help you align the way you sell with the way customers want to buy.
Introducing MAX Path to Purchase
What Modern Consumers Want When Purchasing Products
Today’s shoppers have become accustomed to a streamlined buying experience. When shopping for nearly any product, they’re looking for:
- Simplicity – With most online purchases, customers want a clear, predictable process.
- Transparency – Modern consumers are used to having easy access to detailed and accurate product and pricing information.
- Speed – People don’t want to spend hours buying one product.
By the time most consumers drive off the lot in their car, they’ve spent up to five hours browsing lots, negotiating, and waiting. This current car-buying process is incompatible with the way customers expect to buy goods. If traditional dealerships want to stay relevant, something needs to change.
Dealerships are taking note of this. According to a January 2018 Dealership Process and Turnover Survey conducted by MAXDigital, 41 percent of dealerships are considering changes to the way they sell in the next 12 months.
How MAX Path to Purchase Helps You Simplify the Buying Process
MAX Path to Purchase lets dealerships rebuild your sales strategy to meet the needs of modern consumers and shave hours off the car-buying process. It offers customers a technology-aided way to find and buy the vehicle they want.
Using modern sales enhancement tools reduces haggling, making the sale easier for your customers and helping your sales team maintain your profit margin.
With this simple and transparent new process, you can also expect a higher CSI score.
Other Benefits of MAX Path to Purchase
Another issue facing dealerships is the number of salespeople leaving the industry. With 74% annual salesperson turnover rate, investing in a new salesperson seems like a riskier prospect every year. One of the most prevalent reasons people leave their sales roles is a lack of training.
MAX Path to Purchase helps you keep your sales team on board and successful by providing a simple and easy-to-follow process in which to train and retrain your sales staff.
Where Can You Learn More About MAX’s Latest Product?
Your BDC team is often the first point of contact the customer has with your dealership. And as the saying goes, you never get a second chance at a first impression. So ask yourself, what impressions are your BDC teams giving off?
The mission of the BDC team is to set appointments for each inquiry that comes in, whether by phone or email. The key to being successful is equipping your team with all the information they need in order to build quality, value—and most of all, excitement—about the car (and your dealership).
Thanks to the internet, buyers are more informed than ever. Ninety percent of consumers research cars online before visiting a dealership, and they conduct an average of 14 hours researching vehicles before they buy. On the flip side, it is very rare that your BDC team will be experts on all of the cars and their respective features, especially off-brand vehicles. They may also be working at an offsite location and be managing 10, 20 or 30 dealership locations at once.
By pairing up a well-informed consumer with a BDC rep who isn’t knowledgeable on the vehicle, the results can be disastrous. To level the playing field, dealerships need to give BDC teams the tools and technology to turn them into “instant experts” on every car in their inventory, both in-brand and off-brand.
To win more appointments, make sure your BDC teams can answer the following 5 questions, proactively and with ease:
1. Is this car right for me?
2. Am I buying a lemon?
3. Why is this car better than others I’ve seen?
4. Is this a fair price?
5. Why should I buy from this dealership?
Remember: customers want facts. They don’t want to be sold to; rather, they want to be educated. They want product experts, not salespeople.
With technology like the MAX Digital Showroom, BDC teams can quickly and easily pull up each vehicle and educate the customer on what they might not already know about the car, such as:
- The vehicle’s OEM packages and the value of those packages
- J.D. Power Crash Test Ratings
- Carfax Vehicle History Report
- Kelly Blue Book Pricing and market average
- Warranty information
“MAXDigital has been a game changer for our BDC team which is offsite and manages 30 stores,” said one General Manager. “It gives the phone reps a ton of confidence to have the car product information readily available to them.”
If the customer wants to think about it or talk it over with family and friends, MAX Digital Showroom allows BDC reps to send the information directly to the customer via e-mail or text, creating transparency, while also capturing their contact information.
A technology-enabled, repeatable process allows BDC teams to answer the customer’s questions intelligently, and overall build that excitement to get them in the door. It creates BDC teams who are instant experts on every car on your lot, and customers who see the value of their next vehicle.
By Anne Fleming, President & CEO, Women-Drivers.com
Female buyers made up an estimated $445 billion of new car sales in 2017 alone. With women now buying 4.5 out of every 10 vehicles, the average dealership is selling 819 total new and used vehicles annually to this audience. The data doesn’t lie: women are making extraordinary differences in terms of gross margin dollars and sales achieved at car dealerships.
How can your dealership increase business with female buyers and referrals? One way is by leveraging new ideas in advertising and messaging.
Even in 2018, most dealer’s advertisements’ fail to speak directly to the female audience. There is an overemphasis on both gender neutrality and price point. This is because advertisements are focusing less on what she wants and more on what a dealership thinks she wants. Like price cuts. Does price matter? Yes, but only to the extent that it buys her more of what she wants: a positive pre- and post-sale experience.
One Size No Longer Fits All
Diversification isn’t just good for investment portfolios. It’s good for the car business. Consider this: University of California at Davis researchers found that women influence 85 percent of all car buying purchases. Advertising directly to women makes good financial sense.
Cast a Wider Net
Lawyers. Doctors. Financial Managers. Per the U.S. Dept. of Labor, women fill a wide range of professional roles. In addition, 38 percent—or more than one-third of them—are earning more than their male partners. It follows, then, that their overall purchase experience would reflect upon those achievements. Dealer ad campaigns can be more effective when they account for the diverse professional choices and delivers messages to this audience.
Use Your ‘Aha’ to Connect with Women
What’s your dealer’s DNA message and ‘aha message‘ that women will remember? Is it really through ads and campaigns such as:
- Get the Best Price Here at Our Dealership
- We Match Any Competitor’s Price
- Drive Here for the Best Results
For the most part, these gender-neutral, bland, catch-all statements don’t share what your compelling aha is, nor are they appealing to women.
Connect Dealership’s Message to Your OEMs
From Facebook to Pandora, zero in on your female audience and age group. Dedicate dollars to advance your market space by running monthly campaigns to reach a captive audience with sponsoring ads on mobile apps to women and family-oriented interests.
Be a Destination Dealer: Time to Progress
Understanding that female buyers are looking for a connection will help you and your creative team. Expand your message to be relationship-based with tangible value-adds. Think “What’s in it for her?” It’s not enough to have a female spokesperson or pitch woman.
1. Women use dealer reviews 50% more than men, and reviews influence women three times more than price, according to ReviewTracker. In addition to your current ads and promotions, include statistics about your reputation and reviews and show any Dealer of the Year awards.
2. Connect visually by including images of women and families’ car shopping at your dealership throughout your print and online marketing campaigns and website.
3. Communicate long-term service and maintenance care with a WiFi-enabled waiting lounge equipped with refreshments and desk stations for computer work. Loaner cars are the top concierge item requested by women, so if your dealership provides loaner cars, be sure to include this in your advertising. Other services that often appeal to women buyers include:
- Free car washes
- Free oil changes
- Free state inspections
- No-hassle return policy
- Non-commissioned sales advisors
4. Develop relationships with guests and shoppers before they walk through the door through social media and informative articles designed to to engage and build trust.
5. Host educational seminars and advertise them via social media/newsletters.
Applying any one of these strategies can instantly position a savvy dealership as an authority and a trusted advisor. Dealerships that don’t begin targeting advertisements to the female decision maker are losing out on her lifetime value, which is estimated at $517,000. That’s a big miss!
Anne Fleming is the President of Women-Drivers.com, the leading review company amplifying women’s cutting edge experiences at Certified Trusted Dealers. The company helps dealers by providing solutions that foster trust, engagement and sales. For more information visit www.women-drivers.com or Twitter @Womendrivers.
Every month, MAXDigital recognizes and celebrates a dealership that demonstrates exceptional performance through our “Dealership-of-the-Month” program. Through the team’s hard work and effort, MAXDigital is honoring Ted Stevens Group with our March Dealership-of-the-Month! MAXDigital is celebrating Ted Stevens Group for always being willing to test new product innovations and for remaining true to their family-owned values. Ted Stevens Group also uses the MAXDigital Platform on almost every transaction to build trust and confidence with their customers. We are excited about Ted Stevens Group’s amazing growth, dedication to their customer’s needs, and reduction in vehicle discounts.
Ted Stevens Group is a highly rated, family run dealership group with 5 locations within the central California area. The group has opened multiple franchises over the years to better serve their customers and give their customers the inventory they desire. Ted Stevens Group is also very active within their community, working with and supporting many local organizations like the First Tee Program, Susan G. Komen Foundation, and Hinds Hospice just to name a few. Congratulations to Ted Stevens Group from the entire MAXDigital Team!
The information era has transformed the way people buy products, and the auto industry isn’t immune to this revolution. Modern consumers have instant access to the prices and inventory of every nearby dealership. In this highly competitive market, improving your automotive merchandising strategy is the key to standing out and staying relevant.
Why Automotive Merchandising is More Important Than Ever
The Growth of “Showrooming”
“Showrooming” is a term used to describe when customers shop prices on their smart devices while in your showroom. They’ll test drive a vehicle at your dealership just to buy it cheaper from another dealer.
Trying to undercut every competitor is a losing strategy because there will always be someone who can lower their prices to beat yours. Dropping your prices too much will also destroy your profit margins.
When they showroom, shoppers aren’t really looking for the lowest prices — they’re looking for the best value. You can win these customers by using your merchandising strategy to highlight the value in your vehicles.
Your online ads, VDPs, and on-floor sales strategy should be built around price justification. Highlight features, packages, and other aspects of the car that show that it deliver the greatest value for the price, even if other similar models are priced lower.
Changing Shopping Trends
The days of consumers going to their nearest dealership to find their next vehicle is long gone. Now most consumers do extensive online research to find the best dealership, and they’re willing to travel some distance for a great deal. Often, they’ve already decided which vehicle they’re going to buy before they step foot on your lot.
With older customers slowly aging out of the market and more people who grew up with information technology starting to buy their first cars, this trend will only increase.
Effective digital automotive merchandising is necessary if you want your dealership to stand out of the crowd.
But what should auto merchandising look like in the modern era? With most customers making their decisions online, you want to make sure your online merchandising gives them the information they’re looking for. This info should include:
- Vehicle history
- OEM Information
How Automotive Marketing Tools Can Help You Improve Your Merchandising Strategy
Developing a marketing strategy that will help your dealership stand out isn’t easy. Ideally, any plan will have ways to reach customers at each stage of the car buying process. This includes taking actions like:
- Getting detailed ads to the right website
- Including important vehicle information in your online content
- Having attractively designed content
- Preparing your sales team for market changes
You can take a lot of the work and tedium out of the process by using MAXDigital’s suite of automotive marketing tools. We offer tools that help you optimize your online content, create relevant ads, and arm your sales staff with the vehicle information they need to make sales.
To see how our automotive marketing tools can help your dealership, sign up for a live demo of MAXDigital’s software platform.
Every month, MAXDigital recognizes and celebrates a dealership that demonstrates exceptional performance through our “Dealership-of-the-Month” program. Through the team’s hard work and effort, MAXDigital is honoring Capital Toyota with our February Dealership-of-the-Month! MAXDigital is celebrating Capital Toyota for managing inventory turn by getting vehicles online as quickly as possible and for using FirstLook’s historical data to make buying decisions based on previous vehicle performance. The team also uses MAX Digital Showroom on almost every transaction to build trust and confidence with their customers.
Capital Toyota is located in Chattanooga, TN and is part of Gates Auto Group (KY) which has 10 dealerships across Kentucky, Indiana, and Tennessee. Capital Toyota is also very active in their local community supporting organizations like Honoring The Sacrifice Foundation, McKamey Animal Center, The Kidney Foundation, just to name a few. We are excited about the team’s amazing growth, drive to success, and community activism. Congratulations to Capital Toyota from the entire MAXDigital Team
In today’s highly competitive auto market, it is getting more and more difficult for dealerships to protect their profit margins. A good merchandising strategy is key, but success starts even earlier. If you want to sell to modern customers, you need to make sure you’re offering the cars they’re looking for at the prices they want. MAXDigital’s dealership appraisal tool can make this easier.
Learn how MAX’s inventory management software can help your dealership with acquisition and pricing.
Get the Right Cars at the Right Price with MAXDigital’s Dealership Appraisal Tool
Find the Right Cars
When you use MAX’s inventory management system, you’re getting far more than just an appraisal tool. Our system makes sure you’re acquiring the right cars from the start. MAX’s acquisition software uses your dealership’s historical sales data and recent market data to help you find the vehicles that are most likely to sell. This way, you’ll always have your best-selling models stocked while being on top of growing trends.
Access to the Latest Market Data
Once you’ve found the cars you want, MAX’s dealership appraisal tool makes sure you get them for a fair price. Our inventory management system has access to the latest market research data. This appraisal information is analyzed, and the results are sent directly to your sales team.
Save Time for Your Sales Team
By moving appraisal to the MAXDigital, you’ll be able to take the hours of market research out of the hands of members of your team. This frees them up to focus more on merchandising and other activities that can help you sell more cars and grow your dealership.
Proper Pricing Starts with Proper Acquisition
Modern dealerships usually have to price their vehicles very close to market value to be able to sell. When you pay too much at the acquisition stage, you’re cutting out a part of your profit margins. Being able to price your cars correctly counts on the accurate appraisal that MAX’s software solutions provide.
In the information age, auto consumers have taken a more active role in their buying decision than ever before. In fact, there are shoppers looking for the cars on your lot right now. They’ve just moved their search from the dealership to the internet. The key to success in this new market is gearing your digital automotive merchandising strategy toward reaching consumers who are already interested in buying.
Adjust Your Automotive Merchandising Strategy to Attract Customers Who Are Ready to Buy
Targeting in-market customers offers the most ROI for your marketing strategy because these buyers are more likely to convert and are cheaper to reach than other consumers. Here are some tips to help you appeal to these buyers.
Know What Your Customers are Looking For
A good start to crafting your automotive merchandising strategy around the modern customer is being aware of how they search for vehicles. Our research has shown that the early stages their searches are fairly basic. They probably have a few models that they’re interested in. Within these few models, they’re also looking at the following:
- Model year
At this stage, they’re not interested in trim levels or options. What they really want is a good value vehicle for a fair price.
Take advantage of consumer search patterns by optimizing your ads and vehicle display pages (VDPs) for these buyers. Make sure the information they’re looking for is up front, well organized, and clear.
Perhaps the most important part of your content on these new pages will be the price information. Customers don’t want this information hidden behind a wall. Display the price clearly and justify it in your on-page content.
Know How Customers Make Their Decisions
Once you have a customer on your website or in your dealership, knowledge of what drives their decision-making will help you convert. Price is still significant here, but you can’t win sales by simply lowering your price because someone will always undercut you.
Luckily price isn’t the only point of data shoppers use in their decision. So what does drive customer’s decision to buy? The following factors play a major part in their choices:
- Perceived value
For this reason, you should have VDP’s that go above and beyond the basics. They need to show why your car is a good value and a great fit for them. This can be done by spotlighting special packages or features. If you’re successful, the customer will begin to become excited about the vehicle.
You can also foster trust by being transparent with the information you display. Include customer reviews of the model and the vehicle history report. This is information they’ll already be looking for, so providing it to them will show that you’re confident in your own vehicles.
Meet Your Customers Where They Are
Car buyers no longer start their searches at nearby dealerships. They usually begin their search on third-party websites, where they work to whittle down their choice to just a few vehicles at even fewer dealerships. To get feet in your store, you need to make sure their third-party research leads them to your website.
By distributing ads for your vehicles out to third-party websites, you can get them in front of in-market consumers. Make sure that the ads are well-made and informative enough to stand out.
Make Automotive Merchandising Easier
Need help optimizing your automotive merchandising strategy for consumers who are already prepared to buy? MAXDigital makes the process simple.
Our digital marketing platform helps you enhance your VDPs to appeal to the modern in-market customer. It also automatically creates ads and distributes them to third-party websites.
Schedule a demo of our dealership software solutions to learn how we can help you, or contact us at (888) 841-0884.
Every month, MAXDigital recognizes and celebrates a dealership that demonstrates exceptional performance through our “Dealership-of-the-Month” program. Through the team’s hard work and effort, MAXDigital is honoring Zimbrick Buick GMC West with our January Dealership-of-the-Month! MAXDigital is celebrating Zimbrick Buick GMC West for being the number one dealership in Wisconsin for 2017. The team uses FirstLook to analyze their data to insure they maximize all trade-ins before taking into inventory. They also use the MAXDigital tools on all transactions and are always looking for new ways to enhance their process by implementing best practices. Zimbrick Buick GMC West is part of Zimbrick Automotive which has 20+ dealerships in Wisconsin. The dealership is also very active in their local community and is involved with organizations such as the United Way, Meals on Wheels, and Susan G Komen Foundation, just to name a few. We are excited about Zimbrick Buick GMC West’s amazing growth and drive to success.
Congratulations to Zimbrick Buick GMC West from the entire MAXDigital Team!
Auto consumers are more informed and empowered than ever, and they are coming into your dealership armed with hours of research. In many cases, they’ll know more about the vehicle they want the salespeople on your showroom floor. MAXDigital’s innovative car salesman app gives your team the information they need to hold their own against customers looking to get a price decrease.
How MAXDigital’s App Lets Car Salesmen Keep Up with Customers
The internet has given auto consumers unprecedented access to product research, and they are using it. They expect detailed information on every vehicle they’re researching, and over the course of their shopping, they’ve come to know the car they intend to buy backward and forward. They will use this information to try to drop the price.
Compare this to your sales team. There are dozens of vehicles on your lot, each with its own specs, history, features, and packages. Even the best salesman can’t memorize every one of them. MAX Digital Showroom, a part of the MAXDigital merchandising app suite, empowers your sales team with the info they need to combat price reductions.
All Your Vehicle Information, in the Palm of Your Hand
Through the MAX Digital Showroom car salesman app, your sales team will have convenient access to the vehicle information for every car on your lot through their smartphone or tablet. All they need is a quick scan to pull up an intuitively laid out vehicle information page (VDP.) This lets any salesman easily and quickly respond to customer concerns and field questions. By proving they know their stuff, your salesmen will also gain the trust of shoppers.
Easily Share High-Quality VDP’s
Showing off an impressive feature of your vehicle? Customers don’t just have to take your word for it. MAX Digital Showroom let your sales team send attractive, MAX for Website-optimized VDPs directly to their smart devices.
Justify Pricing for Those Tough Negotiations
Customers are hoping that they can use their knowledge of your vehicle to knock some money off the price. MAX Digital Showroom fights this drop, by providing detailed price justification. Your sales team will be able to show how your car compare to market averages and demonstrate the value each unique feature or package adds.
This app also helps combat showrooming. If your customers show you lower-priced versions of the same car nearby, you can easily explain the price difference by showing what your vehicle has that the other doesn’t.
Stop lowering your prices on your vehicles. Let MAXDigital give your sales team the information they need to protect your profit margins with our convenient car salesman app. Schedule a product demo or contact us to learn about how MAX can help you.