Buying a 2015 model is a much different ballgame than it was in 1995. Or even in 2005.
Strides in commerce in general push retail sales to a quicker, simpler, user-friendly experience. That stands in contrast to the customary model for the auto industry, which relied on a sales-force jockeyed for customers in an experience that moved at the dealership’s pace.
McKinsey & Company investigated buyer visits to dealerships in 2014. Consumers average 1.6 dealership visits when buying a car, it found. In 2004, they visited an average of five. Today’s consumer researches online and arrives ready to buy. They come in car savvier than previous generations.
Here’s how two industry leaders have altered their approach, and how Insignia fits into the trend.
AutoNation Express has returned results favorable enough it should reach all markets in 2015.
AutoNation transformed its web site from informational to transactional. It mimics other forms of online shopping in a digital storefront. The new marketing model works with shopping consumers. This weakens a dependence on third-party lead providers and further streamlines the process.
The takeaway: Investment in a company’s own digital presence creates direct sales opportunities with fewer middlemen. If it works for the nation’s largest new-car retailer, it could work anywhere.
What’s next: A Buy Your Car function, with capacity to offer a price on a trade-in. AutoNation has already taken service appointment management online. It’ll centralize finances and electronic paperwork next.
What Insignia does like this: Vehicle personalization selling systems give 360-degree views of cars with accessories. It’s web-based, and easy to use on kiosks. It also works well on laptops, desktops and mobile devices. Shopping cart and order management functionality accompany the process, enabling consumers to increase the value of their investment through personalization.
Speed is central to the One-Sonic Experience. Sonic Automotive’s deliberate rollout of its 45-minute buy time initiative shows promise. The concept includes no-haggle pricing, and consumers will deal with one tablet-armed agent. Like AutoNation, Sonic seeks to move its process away from third parties. It would rather funnel activity to direct sales.
The takeaway: No need to rush a promising prospect. Sonic would rather fine-tune the process to become a preferred place to shop. It's banking on a gain of market share in the process.
What’s next: More work.! Net income tumbled in Q1 2015, with hits from the One-Sonic Experience and EchoPak, Sonic’s stand-alone used-car store. Sonic has fine tuning to do.
What Insignia does like this: The Guided Support program builds a dealership’s personalization profit center in a 12-month period. Consultants help to change the culture in a dealership, enhancing the customer experience and improving CSI.