The 2020s will be defined by the age of digital retail. As the internet has taken over our lives, customers have increasingly headed to the internet as they search for their next vehicle.
The pandemic has only sped up this process for consumers. Some dealerships are hesitant to embrace this shift, but that’s a mistake. Rather than viewing digital retail as the enemy, instead, view it as an extension of your showroom that helps you make that sale.
Now more than ever, clients (and potential clients) are doing as much of their shopping online as possible. So what does that mean for the automotive industry? It means your digital retail needs to be as top-of-the-line as the cars you are selling. If you want to expand your reach and retain your current clients, an excellent digital retail experience is the answer.
What Is Digital Retail?
Digital retail allows your customer to perform as much of the car-buying process as possible online. It also allows you to reach a wider audience of potential customers. These days, customers already know what they want by the time they show up at your dealership. According to Autotrader, 88% of shoppers use the internet for vehicle shopping. That is why your website and your entire online experience need to be top-notch, just like your dealership itself.
At the end of the day, digital retail allows your customer to complete as much of the vehicle-buying process online as they want, at their convenience. It helps your customer to make their purchase in the least stressful, easiest and most enjoyable way possible.
This means customers are allowed to structure a deal online, including their payments, valuing their trade, reviewing and pricing add-ons, submitting a credit application and even chatting with a dealer.
How Digital Retail Works for Car Dealers
Though most customers prefer to start their car-buying process online, oftentimes, they still want to come into the dealership to finalize the deal, see the vehicle in person and sign the paperwork. For car dealers, it’s important that the digital retail experience transitions seamlessly to the in-person experience.
The online and in-person buying processes should mirror each other as much as possible. Nothing will frustrate a potential car buyer more than spending a ton of time moving their way through the sales funnel online, only to have to start all over again once they make it into the dealership. The digital retail process should build trust and transparency for the consumer.
How Digital Retail Benefits Dealers
Digital retail not only benefits customers but auto dealers, too. Though it may feel to car salespeople that they are losing out on some of the process, it doesn’t have to be that way. In fact, it can actually play a huge role in helping car salespeople. Now, instead of a stranger, you have a whole bunch of information to work with when someone comes into your dealership after spending time on your website. This saves you time and provides you with plenty of buyer information well in advance.
This way, your website doesn’t replace your showroom or your salespeople. It simply makes the job easier on everyone!
Digital Retail in the Automotive Industry
Let’s be real: digital retail can be a challenge in the automotive industry. After all, a vehicle is a major purchase. It’s a much bigger decision than simply hitting “Add to Cart” on that $25 t-shirt you’ve been eyeing on Amazon.
However, if you use digital retail correctly, it gives you the opportunity to increase car sales, CSI scores and gross profits for your dealership. It also improves your relationship with your clients and makes them happier in the long run.