As part of the digital retailing evolution, it is now normal to buy a car online from start to finish for the first time in automotive history. The Business Development Center is perhaps the most critical part of the sales process today.
Customer experience will make or break you.
In a world of Google reviews and social media, the power belongs to the people. In 2021, customers want charcuterie boards and live streams of film festivals in the waiting room. Somewhere along the way, the automotive industry married into the hospitality industry, and now here we are—selling cars and imitating the Marriott at the same time. After a collective sigh and a group therapy session, we should all accept reality and transcend. CSI scores, referrals, and front-end gross are at stake. Dealerships in 2021 can meet and exceed OE goals, sell online and in-store, socially distance, provide a stellar 5-star experience, and create repeat business. Yes, even you, and we'll tell you how.
Make no mistake: customer retention is a full-time job. The process of cultivating and maintaining loyal customers should be emphasized as highly as the sales process itself. There are many opportunities, between introduction and post-sale, to build a lasting relationship with a customer. So many of those opportunities involve Vehicle Personalization. From building rapport as you start at the trade, or inviting customers to relax between F&I, as well as offering a tune-up service six months later—accessories are integrated in all of it. This makes personalization the key to customer retention.
The pandemic rocketed the automotive industry forward one to three years in accepting digital retailing. Years before COVID, we knew Carvana and Vroom were changing the way consumers bought cars. The option to buy online affected dealerships some, however we weren’t comparing apples to apples.
Consumers did, and still do, like to sit in a car before they buy it. With the majority of customers buying cars traditionally, online retailing was a secondary focus. Just one year ago, merely having a web inventory and an active social media presence made your store competitive in the digital space.
Well, now, everything’s changed.
Why Does Automotive Digital Retailing Matter?
Google published some astonishing statistics about online buyers. Their data showed that 84% of Americans are shopping for something in any 48-hour period. Additionally, 63% of all shopping began online. The research went further, examining trends when people buy specific products. Those in the market for a car took to Google to gather information. Said consumers ranged from 20 to 68 years old. Over time, these shoppers researched the best dealership, brand, and trade-in online. We can infer the end result. The consumer likely bought a car they chose from their research. The vehicle was likely purchased from a highly rated dealership, also found online.
No dealership has escaped the evolution of the automotive industry due to COVID-19. Since the onset of the pandemic, businesses around the globe have had to respond accordingly. As the world slowly re-opened in a new way, consumers were quick on the draw to review businesses' safety precautions, interactions, conveniences and more.
Those who rose to the occasion attracted clients. Those who made mistakes, no matter how small, suffered at the hands of the Internet. How you continue in your COVID-19 response will set you apart as the pandemic and coming months unfold.
As dealers across the nation adjust to selling vehicles online, it’s imperative that we don’t skip vehicle personalization. The easiest way to ensure customers and salespeople have a fair shot at a perfectly adorned vehicle is to make your accessory link easy to find. Trip and fall over it easy. “There it is again” easy. “I didn’t find the link, the link found me” kind of easy. When you strategically place your personalization link, you make your salesperson’s life easier, and your customer more likely to buy.
Topics: Accessories System, Sales Best Practices, Customer Retention, Increase Profits, Dealership, Vehicle Personalization, accessories, sales, customers, Accessories sales, configurator, online catalog, Margin Compression, COVID-19
St. Patrick’s Day has got us all toting rabbit’s feet. Donning green from head to toe, decorating our cubicles with four leaf clovers, and holding out hope for uncommon luck--all while being largely unsure of what we’re observing on this obscure holiday.
Is there a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow? Is the rainbow literal, or figurative? Do leprechauns really eat marshmallow cereal? Don’t take this same level of confusion into your Vehicle Personalization program. Follow me into the magic of the metaphor, and sell more accessories this March 17th.
Topics: Accessories System, Sales Best Practices, Customer Retention, Increase Profits, Dealership, Vehicle Personalization, accessories, Showroom, accessory program, Best Practice, Accessories sales, tips, increase sales, profit, cash
You know what’s terrifying? The amount of high fructose corn syrup America will eat today.
There’s something more horrifying. Dealerships that are still focusing all their efforts on adding profit and neglecting the customer experience.
This Halloween, lavish every customer that darkens your doors with sweet goodness--even the witchy ones.
Topics: Customer Retention, Presentation Tools, Improve CSI, Customer Success, Dealership, Vehicle Personalization, accessories, Showroom, sales, accessory program, seasonal, customers, creative, increase sales, dealer, profit
When it comes to selecting an accessory champion for your dealership, there are about three good ways to skin a cat. Dealers should examine their process and store volume to determine who to lean on as their expert in vehicle personalization.
Whether you go the route of a dedicated accessory manager, utilize an emerging leader from your sales team, or mix the two methods together, the key to your success is a well-laid process.
Topics: Accessories System, Sales Best Practices, Customer Retention, Word Tracks, Reducing Turnover, Increase Profits, Vehicle Personalization, staff, sales team, accessory program, accessories installations, F&I, Best Practice, Accessories sales, increase sales, we-owe, preload, Aftermarket, OE, salesman, building, guided, profit