By Jasen Rice, Founder of LotPop
The rising success of automotive disrupters like Carvana, who sold more than 90,000 cars in 2018 without a single salesperson, may have some dealers worried traditional dealerships are going by the wayside.
There’s nothing Carvana is doing that a dealer can’t provide themselves. The appeal of Carvana is that they are making the process of buying a car easier and more convenient. So can dealers.
A dealer can provide a 3-day, 5-day, or 7-day return policy. A dealer can deliver a car to the customer. There are software and products that allow financing to be done online. Dealers have the ability to give customers the experience they want.
What Dealerships Have That Carvana Doesn’t
The key differentiator—and your biggest advantage over Carvana— is your staff. Your people. The truth is people buy cars and buy products from people they know, like and trust.
Sixty percent of customers still end up leaving the dealership in a different vehicle than they intended, even after conducting 11 hours of research before arriving.
One way dealers can highlight their people is by building a robust staff page on their website. This should include at a minimum:
- Names and positions
- Professional headshots
- Emails and phone numbers
The best dealers even include videos interviewing staff about personal information e.g. how long have you lived in the area, what do you like about the car business, how many kids do you have, what are your hobbies, how are you involved in the community.
Product Experts Make or Break an Experience
Dealers should not only highlight their staff, but educate them. An uninformed salesperson will turn customers away. Think about the frustration you feel if you go to Walmart of Best Buy and a staff member can’t answer your questions. That’s the reason people turn to Amazon because they can’t rely on product experts in traditional brick-and-mortar retail. Consumers are getting accustomed to this and it’s translating into the automotive industry.
If you can educate your customers, answer their wants and needs, and give them peace of mind they are making a good decision, they will leave happy. That simply can’t happen at Carvana.
Jasen Rice is the owner and founder of LotPop, which provides staffing and system guidance and ongoing consistent review of dealership inventory processes to build sustained results over time. You can contact Jasen at firstname.lastname@example.org. LotPop and MAXDigital announced a service partnership in May 2019.