There’s no shortage of impediments to dealership growth: anything from the weather to the national economy can dampen consumer spirits and limit your sales activity. It’s pretty hard to control the weather or the economy, but there are easier solutions than getting a graduate degree in economics or turning yourself into a James Bond villain by altering global weather patterns.
One of your biggest limitations is your geographical reach, and the marketing regulations that go along with that. Some dealers have come up with novel ways of reaching customers far-afield, like offering shuttles or at-home delivery. But how do you bring those customers to the point of purchase? What’s to draw them into your sales experience when their neighborhood dealer is so much more convenient?
Bring the Showroom to Your Customers
A lot of dealers have started trying to bring key aspects of their in-store experience to customers irrespective of physical location. Some lead response emails now include walk-around videos of the piece of inventory in question, and as mentioned, some dealerships even offer to bring the test drive to your doorstep.
These methods are a great start, but they’re at best a patchwork solution to a problem that requires a comprehensive system.
To fight back against your PMA in a meaningful way (without losing your co-op), you need to provide your most remote customers with the complete showroom experience, minus the showroom. That’s only possible with a complete digital retailing solution.
It’s important to emphasize “complete” here: there exist plenty of simple widgets and build-and-price tools that can simply plug into your existing website, but these aren’t complete, and they don’t help. A true digital retailing platform is one that brings the complete sales experience to customers on their laptops, tablets and smartphones.
Omni-Channel Is Critical
Not only that, but a good digital retailing platform is omni-channel, allowing customers to save their progress on one channel (such as a smartphone) and pick up on any other (in-store, for instance). The best platforms are complete ecosystems unto themselves that never rely on external resources or widgets.
That’s what captivates customers outside of your PMA. When they can configure their vehicle, choose accessories, appraise their trade-in, and secure financing or lease terms in one streamlined process, customers don’t need to bother with their local dealership. What’s more local than the phone in your pocket?
With digital retailing, you’re everyone’s local dealership. Not only that, but you can offer the sort of customer experience to make your shop a buzz-worthy destination which draws an audience simply by the power of your brand. People will do what’s easiest and most convenient, and nothing is more convenient than buying online.