The automotive retail landscape has changed in seismic ways. 20 years ago, automotive retailing relied on a singular sales strategy- physical in-dealership presence.
Today’s digitally-savvy consumers expect the vehicle buying experience to be much more than a showroom visit and a test drive. This shift in vehicle buying behavior has placed an immense amount of pressure on dealers to create engaging and customer-first experiences through automotive digital retailing.
With the pandemic and post-pandemic landscape fueling an accelerated push to go digital, automotive dealerships are scrambling to transform their retail operations. This has created an industry-wide challenge for dealerships, begging the question: How can dealerships create seamless, integrated, and optimal purchasing experiences for customers?
Digital retailing for the automotive industry
Digital retailing is an all-encompassing sales process that enables a fully integrated and connected purchasing experience that makes the entire vehicle buying journey one that is more convenient, quick, and satisfying for customers.
Just as fuel is injected into an engine to power a vehicle, technology is injected into the car-buying process, enabling customers to commence their buying journeys online and conclude them in person.
If done right, automotive digital retailing synergizes physical and digital processes into one seamless experience enabling a fluid omnichannel digital retailing experience.
Dealerships are also looking to produce unique experiences for their online customers through website tools such as live chats, AI chatbots, financing calculators, and 360 vehicle views to help with creating an elevated online vehicle-buying experience for customers.
Automotive digital retailing benefits
Car dealerships that have adopted automated vehicle purchasing processes into their sales funnel are experiencing positive differences in their sales performance. Some of the benefits of automotive digital retailing for dealerships include:
Automating the vehicle purchasing process does not just benefit dealership owners but the entire company as well.
Making the shift to automation will empower employees by removing a lot of the arduous and time-consuming tasks in existing sales processes, thus eliminating tedious administrative tasks and shortening the sales cycle. This frees up more time for them to focus on closing more deals.
Automotive digital retailing capabilities
A hybrid retailing experience should offer a clear, concise, well-designed purchase path that allows customers to shift effortlessly between online and offline, giving them full control to self-direct themselves throughout the entire vehicle buying process.
Purchasing a vehicle typically involves numerous steps and the exact process will differ from one customer to another, but the capabilities of your digital retailing solution should include the following basic features:
- Vehicle catalog
- Search feature
- Shopping cart
- Trade-in valuations
- Human/ AI assist
- Credit options
- Finance and insurance products
- Price comparison
- Financing calculator
- Payment quotations
- Digital contracts
- Test drive scheduling
Automotive digital retailing and what it means for your dealership
While the physical showroom continues to exist, its format will be tweaked. Newer retail models are being explored in an attempt to strike a hybrid balance. Digital retailing solutions are meant to complement existing retailing efforts instead of replacing them.
It has the power to convert members of a vehicle dealership’s sales team into online retail agents if used to its capacity. The power of a digital retailing solution is that it allows customers to engage with your dealership in their preferred method.
By using a digital retailing platform, dealership sales teams will be able to both assist customers in-person and connect with them online via the dealer’s website.
Overall, dealerships have nothing to lose and everything to gain from implementing an online retailing solution.
Selecting an automotive digital retailing solution that matches the needs of your dealership
Deciding on an automotive digital retailing solution should not be taken lightly. Working with an industry-recognized solutions partner that fits the needs of your dealership is the place to start.
Digital retailing partners are able to empower dealers with the ability to provide customers with the process and information that is needed to make an informed purchasing decision.
Annata has teamed up with Microsoft, Sitecore, a global leader in end-to-end digital experience management software, and Touchcast, a leading virtual experience company, to deliver digital-first engaging retailing experiences to automotive enterprises.
Connect with us to find out how Annata can help you power a more digital retailing experience for your automotive dealership.
More information on Annata’s solutions is available here.