Here is the truth: COVID-19 didn’t create or even drastically alter digital retailing in the automotive industry. The fact is that digital retail has been a critical function at dealerships for a long time. True, some dealers have stepped up their digital retailing functions as a direct response to the pandemic because showrooms in many states faced closures. But as the sale of new and used cars has seen unexpected ebbs and flows, digital retailing has become more prevalent than ever before. To be successful and competitive, dealers really have to dig in with digital retailing.
Think about it like this. For a customer, the action of shopping for and buying a car should be simple. Digital retailing aims to create a streamlined experience, but for some consumers, this step throws a wrench in the process as they are used to purchasing their vehicles in the “traditional” manner. Digital retail isn’t a replacement for that tried and true method. Rather, it is an enhancement. And as an enhancement, you will only get back as much as you put in.
When you are considering the customer experience and buying process, it is critical that you recognize the importance of integrating innovative digital retail opportunities with traditional shopping mentalities. This allows you as a dealer to move beyond passive touchpoints. As the first contact between you and a potential customer is important, you need to realize that providing a top-tier customer experience needs to be at the core of your business strategy. However, doing so requires moving beyond technology. This includes optimizing staffing, structure, and providing touchpoints where your customer can seamlessly transition between your digital and physical properties.
The simple fact of the matter is that an all-online experience isn’t going to be the solution for all of your customers. Not today, anyway. You need to scale your processes to meet the various points where consumers interact with your dealership. The future holds a slew of new opportunities to engage with consumers on a variety of levels. So engage them where they are today and help them solve their problems for tomorrow. Buying a new or used car can be a cathartic experience. It has the potential to be invigorating and exciting, or physically and psychologically numbing. Your goal needs to be to provide steps that deliver information to your customers. In doing so, you also capture valuable data to help you best stock your lot, manage your inventory, and merchandise your vehicles. You gain valuable insights that empower your staff while delivering a top-notch shopping experience for your customers.
On top of that, offering a solution such as a digital showroom helps alleviate any tension revolving transparency between the dealer and the customer. It is necessary to be honest with ourselves and realize that customers young and old will battle against the stigma that comes with new and used car salespeople. While things have evolved leaps and bounds, there is still a chip on the industry’s shoulder. Digital retailing acts to mitigate those preconceived notions and replace them with a more structured and modernized process for buying cars.
At the end of the day, digital retailing in our modern era results in more sales. There is no way around it. But you need to do it right. You need to provide opportunities and interactive touchpoints for your customers. You need to empower your sales staff with quality data that will ease the sales process. And you need to make sure your inventory is up-to-date with competitive pricing that also entices customers. Have you dug into digital retail yet? Now is the time to do so, as the market is guaranteed to continue to fluctuate.
Want to learn more about digital retailing for the automotive industry? Check out all of MAX Digital’s products and services which are geared toward helping you provide the best possible customer experience while managing your inventory and maximizing the output of your sales staff. Schedule a demo today