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A Digital-First Approach to Winning Back the Trust of Car Buyers

Your customers want to buy cars the same way they purchase other goods and services, and that means making the transaction simpler, faster and increasingly transparent.

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Andrew Tai is the CEO and co-founder of Motoinsight, but his influence extends far beyond the company. A contributing columnist to The Globe and Mail and a prolific speaker, Andrew is a recognized authority on digital retailing within the automotive industry.

How to win back customers, build trust, and increase your sales.

Your customers don’t trust you. You probably knew that already, but it’s worth repeating. This isn’t entirely your fault; the car-buying experience is expensive and complicated, so any savvy consumer is going in with skepticism and reservations. But current sales practices aren’t helping, especially when a real solution is hovering right in front of you.

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Technology is your entry point into a more positive dealer/customer relationship, because technology offers you a blank slate to create a totally new dynamic with your customers. So when you rebuild your identity, are you going to stick to the same practices that have been bothering your more skeptical clientele for decades?

Here’s our digital-first approach to earning the trust — and the business — of your prospects:

Relinquish Control

Thanks to the internet, your customers know more than they did 20 years ago. In fact, they know just enough to be skeptical of pushy sales tactics. Our advice? Give up control of the purchase process. Try it; it’s not as scary as it sounds.

The first step is to let your customers transact where and how they want. Your customers are already starting their purchases online, so letting them direct their own digital retailing journey through your dealership website is the natural step to get their interest and their trust.

This isn’t just our opinion. An overwhelming 86% of car buyers would choose a dealer that enabled online buying over another that didn’t.The flexibility and convenience of starting the purchase process online resonates with even your toughest customers. When you offer them control over the car-buying experience, they will reward you with their trust.

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No Half Measures

Control doesn’t mean simply forcing the customer down a different, online sales funnel. Control is the customer’s autonomy to do as much or little as they want online with the knowledge that when they get to your dealership, they can seamlessly pick up exactly where they left off at home.

Customers still want a tactile experience, which makes the physical dealership an irreplaceable resource for any purchase. A true omni-channel experience is what ensures your dealership is the one consumers turn to.

Be Transparent

“When customers have all the information they need from your dealership, they don’t need to waste their time dealing with the competition.”

Transparent pricing is the norm in most industries. This transparency gives consumers control over their purchases, and that gives them the confidence they need to trust retailers. The automotive industry is already at a disadvantage due to the complexity of the product and the buying process, and that should be an incentive to bridge the gap.

With the top digital retailing platforms, your customers can assess all their options, review pricing and payments, submit an online credit application and even appraise trade-ins. The whole process becomes simple, intuitive and autonomous. When customers have all the information they need from your dealership, they don’t need to waste their time dealing with the competition.

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Offer an Amazing Customer Experience

Look at it in simple terms: buying a car should be exciting and fun, but it’s often time consuming and stressful. You need to fix that; you can fix that.

Show your customers you’re working with them and for them, not against them. By investing in technology that makes your customers’ lives easier, you’re making a commitment to them that they can feel throughout the entire buying process. That’s how you begin to earn their trust.

Your customers want to buy cars the same way they purchase other goods and services, and that means making the transaction simpler, faster and increasingly transparent. Take a digital-first approach with prospective car buyers, and you will earn their trust — and their business.

Andrew Tai – Motoinsight

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