3 Things to Consider When Implementing a Digital Retail Solution for Your Dealership

3 Things to Consider When Implementing Digital Retail Solutions

Make sure to your digital retailing partner can deliver a blueprint of best practices as a starting point for your store.

As you evaluate various solutions, make sure to include input from your BDC and pre-owned managers. The BDC process is critical, and you must understand this buyer is different. They demand a self-guided process, and the follow-up process must take this into consideration.

First, functionality/design is the centerpiece of a best-in-class solution. Even with the best training and marketing, the solution itself is critical to be successful with meeting consumer demand and expectations.

The following key pieces should be looked at:

  • Application Design: Does the consumer experience emulate the process the consumer would expect? Does the flow seem logical? For example, would you ask the consumer to pick accessories before they are asked to appraise their trade in? Probably not. Likewise, the digital retailing tool should emulate the flow of an actual in-dealership experience.
  • Technical Functionality: Does the digital retail app open a new window or change the URL? Consumers will know they’ve been redirected and will almost certainly bail if they didn’t click and choose to be redirected. Consumers trust the actual dealer website. So, while this may seem like a minor detail, it could have a large and negative impact on engagement.
  • Application Features: Pay attention to the details like tax calculations. How does the platform address tax calculation discrepancies? Is it “penny perfect,” down to the local municipality? Flexibility is also important to protect profit centers for the dealership, given all of the variations from one deal to the next.

Surprisingly, providing transparency and maintaining profitability are easy to do if the application is designed properly. It’s OK to put the selling price of accessories and protection plans online. One distinction that car dealers have a hard time getting their heads around is the fact that the more transparent you are, the more profit you make. The important part is to explain the how the product or service helps the consumer.

The best way to do this is with videos. Make sure you can show brochures and videos in the application partner you choose. The trade-in step is also huge opportunity for dealer customization. For example, when completing a trade-in process, make sure the solution allows for local market and dealer customization of all trade-in inputs, there’s control of the base trade value and the ability to adjust, based on market/dealer needs.

Does the digital retailing solution truly allow the consumer to submit a credit application and get a real-time decision 24/7, not a “pre-approval,” including dealer profit inputs?

Second, training will be key to a successful implantation of your digital retail solution. Installing and implementing a digital retail solution are two vastly different things. The typical website widget may not require much change in process but implementing a digital retail solution does require training, starting with the BDC.

Will your digital retailing choice result in multiple call-to-action buttons, creating a confusing journey and experience for the user, resulting in them leaving, or will you choose a solution that has an “all-inclusive,” single button experience? Make sure your digital retail partner is committed to helping the sales and BDC teams understand how to handle the four different digital consumer engagement journeys.

The BDC will need to have clear instruction on how to route a digital retail customer. Make sure to your digital retailing partner can deliver a blueprint of best practices as a starting point for your store.

Last, does the digital retail partner provide marketing support? Make sure the solution has experts with actual dealership experience in selling a car and provide thought leadership on how to creatively maximize the competitive advantages your dealership offers with a digital check-out solution.

Do they provide the necessary blueprints to exploit social media engagements, click-thru improvements and Google Analytics data? Can they provide templates of verifiably successful social media posts and email sequencing tools?          

In summary, the entire team associated with a digital retail solution must have dealership experience in their DNA. If they do, every aspect of the solution, from the user experience, to the technical pieces to the training and marketing support to the enhanced profitability will be easy to spot, and with the right digital retailing partner, your digital retailing strategy will be a huge success.

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