Below are some helpful points to consider when looking for the perfect solution if you are considering jumping into Online Retailing. And in reality, there are 10 points to consider for the consumer and dealer alike – we even snuck in one bonus point!
Lately it seems as though there are widgets popping up left and right as automotive finally catches up with the giant consumer demand for automotive eCommerce. Automotive seems to be the last business vertical to jump into the Online Retailing space, but the dealers whom offer the consumers the ability to escape the showroom floor experience are reaping large rewards.
We are seeing reports of dealer websites jumping as much as 200% in leads and doubling their conversion ratios. Interesting what happens when we give the customers an ‘Easy’ path that increases their vehicle purchasing pleasure.
We’ll be looking at both sides of the automotive online retailing equation, but let’s start with the consumer and identify what THEY want, as based on readily available consumer behavioral studies.
Consumer point of view
1. Pleasant and inviting customer call to action.
2. Low Friction – no lengthy entry forms
3. Informational (Video). This technology is new for customers – what’s in it for them? But show, don’t tell.
4. Pulls interested vehicle, picture, pricing and details into the technology
5. Allows for immediate and seamless communication with a desking/deal manager
6. Allows Trade ins, including uploads of customer pictures for trade in vehicle
7. Must be mobile friendly – responsive.
8. Allow for financing with secure site/digital signature.
9. Proposal should be a perfect payment with multiple options and include a detailed full disclosure of taxes and fees.
10. Should offer the consumer peace of mind that their car can be held until they have time to come in for the test drive and offer home delivery as an option.
Dealership point of view
1. Should integrate with CRM/DMS/inventory/Dealertrack’s & V-Auto’s of the world.
2. Should be flexible for all dealer processes and cultures.
3. Should be able to automate ‘first response’ proposals so a BDC or Internet sales person can create with the push of a button and be the deal manager until there is an offer made, then the desk managers can get involved if necessary.
4. Should have real time alerts on both mobile and PC.
5. Should be able to send full proposal or desk the entire deal and send proposal on a mobile phone or tablet.
6. Should NOT offer the customer the ability to create their own payments or trade values prior to offering their lead form. If they do, you will lose mass leads from your website traffic. The dealer must keep control of the entire deal. As we know, it takes mant facets to create a winning deal.
7. Should be able to send full proposals offering the entire online experience to Service, No close showroom and first response to all 3rd party leads.
8. Should have inventory filtering and the ability to send multiple proposals on multiple cars to the same prospect.
9. Should be a full desking tool, allowing to you complete and customize the entire deal and communicate perfectly, seamlessly and with ease.
10. Should support home delivery and be committed to consistent evolution of the product.
Now, we are going to cheat a little bit by adding an extra talking point, which may just be one of the more important factors if adopting automotive online retailing for your dealership or dealership group, especially if you want to see a good return on that investment:
11. It should come with training and a performance coach that takes responsibility for your success on your website, in your showroom and in your service dept. The training of your team is key as this is a very important new talent our team members must perfect.
One last thought; and possibly most important of all, it should not affect your margins and the product team should have real in-dealership experience as a general manager. That alone makes all the difference.