The automotive retail industry has undergone some serious changes in the last 12 months. To say that things will return to normal does a disservice to the progress made to enhance the experience of buying and selling cars. Dealers need to embrace digital retailing as a method for properly merchandising inventory. Doing so in the wrong fashion degrades the experience that the customer deserves. As a result, a hybrid version of in-store and online is the way to go. The best path to get to where you want to be is by adopting a data-driven approach. Technology innovations will continue to traverse normal activities and create new opportunities to connect with consumers and sell vehicles.

With that being said, here are the top 5 digital automotive retailing blunders to avoid making today.

Mistake 1: Over-complicating the Customer Experience.

Purchasing a car is one of the bigger investments a consumer will make. Their experience needs to be well thought out and streamlined. All too often, dealerships bloat this process with unnecessary steps. The path to purchase needs to be quick. That’s why digital retailing has skyrocketed to the forefront of the consumer experience. Put yourself in your customer’s shoes and think out your sales process holistically. Create a bridge between online and offline to provide a truly hybrid experience.

Mistake 2: Not Understanding What Your Customer Wants or Needs.

An extension of over-muddling the customer experience comes from simply not understanding what your customer wants or needs. Traditionally, many dealers tend to sell the car they want to move off their lot. This practice of putting a consumer into a car, or pushing only popular vehicles can leave a bad taste in the mouth of your customer. Try to adopt a more forward-thinking mindset and be progressive in anticipating your customer’s needs. Of course, they want a car. That’s why they are on your website or on your lot. But really dig deep to gain footing as to what vehicle packages are available and cater the buying experience directly to customer desire.

Mistake 3: Fostering Unrealistic Customer Expectations 

The days of bait and switch are over. Circulars were formerly utilized in a fashion to intrigue people to your lot…only for them to discover that the car featured in the advertisement is long gone. Things move a lot faster now. Online and mobile properties mean your inventory needs to be up to date. Consumers are ready to move and the sales cycle is shortening. With digital retailing accelerating, the more touchpoints you can provide, the better. Only a small portion of sales are completed online, but that number will grow. You need to cater to customer expectations by providing opportunities and information. But that works both ways. Because the customer is more knowledgeable than ever before, your sales staff needs to operate at a high level. Information needs to be at their fingertips. Provide the right digital touchpoints for your customers while also implementing next-generation solutions to turn your staff into superstars.  

Mistake 4: Focusing Solely on Moving Product, Not Providing a Memorable Experience.

Think of your first car. There is probably a story attached to it. Whether that story is a fond memory or something you wish you could forget, you will always have the event in retrospect. Because of this, the car buying experience needs to be well thought out and streamlined. Your customers are going to remember this day. So, supplying them with a negative experience will resonate poorly for your dealership. What’s worse is that with the advent of social media, this negative experience is magnified and multiplied. One way to avoid this is to stop focusing solely on selling cars and put an emphasis on selling an experience. When the customer leaves your lot with a smile on their face, they are more likely to speak fondly of your store and your staff. That’s how you get repeat customers. Connect touchpoints for consumers and put the hard sell where it belongs: in the past.

Mistake 5: Not Keeping Pace With Technology Advances.

Technology comes at you fast. Especially in the auto retail industry, these advancements are accelerating the way cars are bought and sold. There is no old-school method that works today. In order for you to stay competitive, you need to adopt new technologies as they become available. Next-generation solutions put you in the game. You will hold more gross, sell more cars, and provide the best customer experience possible.  

Now is the time to stop making mistakes. If you are serious about being successful, then you need to up your game. Adopt a no-nonsense attitude and focus on improving the customer experience. The performance of your staff coupled with the quality of your technology solutions will result in an overall better dealership. Take the time to develop a roadmap and establish the key performance indicators needed to drive results. Don’t know where to start? Let MAX Digital give you a hand. Schedule your free consultation today.