3 Key Realities Regarding Automotive Digital Retailing - AutoSuccessOnline

3 Key Realities Regarding Automotive Digital Retailing

As the industry races to embrace digital-retailing solutions and integrate a DRS into their dealership, it is worth pausing to reflect on three critical realities: Digital retailing is not a silver bullet that will yield a sales bonanza. It is not for everyone. And, it is not going away.

Digital retailing is already helping many of the nation’s dealerships boost sales as a new demographic of consumers is buying vehicles just like they buy other products today — all online. These Amazon-like transactions put car buyers in the driver’s seat and allows them to enjoy a transparent and hassle-free shopping experience.

So, as the industry races to embrace digital-retailing solutions and integrate a DRS into their dealership, it is worth pausing to reflect on three critical realities: Digital retailing is not a silver bullet that will yield a sales bonanza. It is not for everyone. And, it is not going away.

  • No Silver Bullet Here

The best digital-retailing results come at dealerships that have made a commitment to change their processes. This involves heavy lifting and a buy-in from top to bottom across the management and sales teams. Change comes slowly in this industry, and many managers find it difficult to make the sweeping changes needed for digital retailing success. Sure, you can install a DRS package at your shop, but if your team is confused or threatened by its arrival, this tool won’t deliver results.

Dealers must invest in training so everyone at the store understands the process, its benefits and potential. Just because you have invested in this new DRS technology, your work is not done. Your sales staff needs to know how their roles may have changed. If the DRS offers a showroom desk or kiosk where buyers can finish up their online paper, will sales reps know how to assist them?

And you still have to dedicate resources toward customer retention strategies in the digital world. It is much more expensive to acquire a new customer, digital or not, than to keep an existing one. There’s a new challenge ahead to retain the all-online buyer and earn their repeat business as you have fewer personal touchpoints in the digital environment.

  • Not for Everyone

The arrival of a DRS to your dealership may be a non-event for many of your existing customers. They like your operation and your team and are comfortable with the “kick-the-tires, take a test drive” process. Sure, they may be computer savvy and shop online all the time – but just not for cars. They may read up on the latest models and features, but they still prefer a sales professional to guide them through the process. So don’t forget about them as your digital-retailing program takes off. Building relationships has been a big part of the business for decades. There is still a place for that in the digital world.

Some dealers will feel compelled to introduce a DRS to stay in the game. But if their heart isn’t in it, if they’re only using the solution in hopes of generating more leads, the introduction of the digital-retailing process will be a rocky experience at best. They need to find a best-in-class product that really meets the needs of today’s all-online buyers, aggressively promote it and train their team to do whatever it takes to assist these customers.

  • Here to Stay

Know this. Digital retailing is not the latest auto industry fad. Technology has forever changed the retail world, from clothing to food and furniture to electronics. The buyer is in control. They gather the product information they need independent of the retailer. They compare quality, pricing and reputations. Then they act. The process they follow is transparent and they trust it.

Look for more dealerships to be adding a digital retail champion or digital retail marketing manager to their team. They will be specialists with experience in the latest digital marketing strategies. They will work with their DRS partners to ensure that the all-digital customer journey is a smooth one from end to end.

The change in auto retailing will continue to play out rapidly at some dealerships and ramp up in fits and starts at other showrooms. But the change to all-online sales, driven by the new demographic of car buyers, is well underway. And they’re not turning back.

Mike Ohman, director of technical operations for WebBuy

You May Also Like

How Auto Retailers Leverage Advanced Connected Vehicle Data

Learn about real-time inventory management solutions, predictive analytics and the seamless integration of technology to optimize operations.

For many years, auto dealerships have constantly adjusted inventory expectations due to shifting supply chain constraints and lot management challenges. These constraints have impacted vehicle acquisition, parts sourcing and transport of new vehicles. Fleet allocations will only continue to grow, and it is important for fleets and auto retailers to identify new solutions via advanced connected vehicle data to maintain profits and customer expectations.

Why Today’s Auto Dealers and Lenders are Embracing AI Contracts

Learn how automated technology solutions, leveraging AI and digitized processes streamline vehicle transactions.

Identifying Gaps in Digital Retailing Solutions & 5 Easy Fixes
Live Chat Revs Up Automotive Marketing in 2024

Discover strategic shifts, like prioritizing digital marketing with live chat, to engage customers effectively and drive sales.

Live Chat Revs Up Automotive Marketing in 2024
The Myths and Truths Behind Artificial Intelligence

Learn how AI enhances efficiency and productivity in business settings, creates new job opportunities and promotes ethical practices.

Navigating Title Clerk Transitions

Discover solutions for dealership title clerk shortages to avoid backlogs and ensure smooth vehicle sales and registration processes.

Navigating Title Clerk Transitions

Other Posts

The Jury Is Out: How Many Dealers Are Utilizing AI?

Discover insights from industry surveys revealing the shift away from gut instinct to data-driven decisions.

Accelerating Auto Dealership Efficiency: 7 VoIP Trends for 2024

With these advancements, there’s a prime opportunity for dealers to harness technology for heightened productivity and efficiency.

How to Choose a Digital Marketing Agency: 7 Signs of a Bad Agency

Here’s a complete guide to identifying the red flags that signal a digital marketing agency might not be the right fit for your business.

Digital marketing agency
Paving the Way for Self-Discipline

Self-discipline is like a muscle, where the more we use it, the stronger it becomes. By being smart about how we use it, we can develop this key attribute and get the best return for our energy.

Paving the Way for Self-Discipline