The retail landscape is rapidly evolving.
Consumers should have the ability to connect with your dealership from almost anywhere as they adapt to technological changes in the marketplace.
In today’s omni-channel world, it’s a good idea to be able to reach buyers no matter where they start the shopping process: online, in-store, or a combination of several channels.
Consumers arrive at your virtual or actual doorstep at various skill sets, but with one common goal - more control over the purchasing process. Everyone is embracing new technology at some level and enjoys taking the driver’s seat on a path that could previously feel confusing.
Many dealerships are experiencing favorable outcomes in this new era when equipped with the appropriate digital retail tools that capture leads from anywhere and offer options for a smooth and enjoyable vehicle buying experience.
The New Consumer Empowerment
With the advent of digital retail technology, many consumers are empowered to start shopping for their new vehicle on the internet, on their own devices. According to a recent survey, ninety-five percent of vehicle buyers use a digital channel as a source of information. In fact, twice as many consumers start their research online versus at a dealer. If you rev up your dealership’s online presence, you could be the space that consumers flock to for research on finance options, trade-in values, inventory, and much more.
Armed with knowledge gleaned from their online research, buyers can choose which dealership they feel will suitably serve their best interest. They should feel confident that when they walk into your store, they’ll drive away in the latest car of their dreams with minimum hassle.
Some technologically savvy consumers would prefer the option of completing much of the purchasing process online from the comfort of home. Many buyers are comfortable with selecting a vehicle, completing an online credit application, using a payment calculator, and more. With the proper parameters in place, customers can digitally send their data to a dealer who can generate a contract, add aftermarket products, and either remotely send the documents back to the customer for review and signatures, or have the paperwork waiting at the dealership for the final contract execution and vehicle delivery.
Many consumer shopping preferences are a hybrid and fall between choosing an immersive online experience or a complete in-store process. Let’s say a customer selects a vehicle from the available inventory listed on your website. Maybe they will explore payment options, fill out an online credit application, and then call your dealership to ask questions. Any number of shopping scenarios are possible in our digital world.
No matter what purchasing path a customer chooses, everyone will likely assume that any research or paperwork performed at home will translate to a seamless transition with the in-store encounter. Buyers should feel sure that your dealership will have the vehicle they want and that their online credit application is waiting at your store.
Adapting to Demands with Technology
What sets your dealership apart from the rest? Today, it should be the customer experience you provide. Advances in technology are continually altering the course of shopping. Consumers are leveraging the new frontier for a better all-around buying process.
Managing these new customer expectations can be daunting. The digital retail tools and resources available to dealers are flexible to the full range of consumer abilities and demands. Contemplate a platform that serves your unique business needs now and is adaptable to the changes ahead, complete with the transparent solutions you’ll need to build a vehicle purchasing and financing workflow.
You should consider connecting to a central hub, a management system capable of connecting with customers that arrive at your virtual or actual doorstep from all possible channels: your website, in-store, your DMS, or wherever your dealership is discovered. Think about a digital retail platform that will provide consumers with the various tools they might desire, like an online credit application, an estimated vehicle payment tool, and a payoff quote product. All of these solutions can be uniquely configured to run on your dealer-defined rules and business requirements.
The winds of change are altering the path to vehicle ownership. It seems it’s not enough anymore to run a website with a few tools thrown in for fashion, not function. Think about the digital adjustments your dealership could make to manage a dealer-directed process that meets and exceeds buyer expectations across several channels, now and into the future.
By Amanda George VP of Product Development, Customer Solutions, and Program Management for RouteOne LLC.
Originally appeared in the May 2018 issue of Dealer Marketing Magazine.
Learn more about RouteOne's Digital Retail Services HERE.