The car dealership trends that will define 2022

In 2020, the industry scrambled for solutions in response to sudden and unexpected showroom restrictions.

In 2021, dealerships tried everything to combat the massive supply shortages that now plague nearly every industry. So how does that shape the dealership trends going into 2022?

Well, in case you hadn’t guessed, you’re going to want to double-down on digital. A lot of dealers have maintained an enduring distrust of digital tools and trends, and still want to view traditional methods as the “default.”

Unfortunately for those dealers, digital is the new default. The massive digitization of every service over the past two years has shown consumers how much easier life is when all their options are clearly and transparently laid out online. They’re not interested in giving that up. A focus on your online presence is the dealership trend you need to understand in 2022.

Like it or not, the digital revolution presents new opportunities

In a recent interview, Shark Tank panelist and infamous businessman Kevin O’Leary admitted that his priorities have shifted permanently as a result of the pandemic.

“I used to tell people, there’s three careers if you’re going to go to college and invest in yourself: engineering, engineering, and engineering,” says O’Leary. “But now, you know who I’m hiring? Story writers, videographers, photographers, editors… because all of my companies are telling stories on their websites.”

all of my companies are telling stories on their websites quote by kevin o'leary

The digitization of consumer purchasing isn’t just about the online sale itself; it’s about the potential to connect more thoroughly with a much broader audience. Digital content marketing is now the gateway to sales success in 2022. For more on that, see our digital marketing tips here!

Why is this trend good for dealers?

You now have more tools than ever for engaging and converting your audience. The internet puts all your prospects in one place, and gives you countless ways to prompt them down the path to purchase. It’s what your customers are waiting for, according to O’Leary.

“Never in our lives… have we had such a captive customer,” says O’Leary “…they are willing and able to purchase products and services, but they want it done conveniently and delivered directly to them… This is the digitization of America in a very fast way.”

Even so, strong digital marketing and storytelling can only get the user to engage with your dealership – it can’t sell the car. That’s where an equally powerful (and transparent) online platform shines. You can read up on how to get the right platform here.

Your website needs to shine

When your Facebook ads, video content, or email campaign has brought a customer to your website, the experience can’t suddenly end in a Y2K approximation of online shopping; that’s not the convenience and transparency your customers came looking for.

they want it done conveniently and delivered directly to them

Instead, you need the power of a flexible, configurable digital retailing tool that continues to offer customers a convenient way to buy. All possible options should be clear and present, including payment calculators, accessories, and trade valuations.

This is the trend that will define your dealership in 2022

It’s the consumer demand for a complete online experience that seamlessly carries them from storytelling to prospecting to the online purchase. If you want a customer to do something, you need to make that action equally easy whether they do it from your showroom or from their couch.

The path to purchase has changed, and so has the purchase itself. To reach as many customers as possible – and convert them – you need to view your sales process and your marketing activities as a single, continuous system that tells a story, promotes your value, and offers a simple way to buy remotely.

Ready to sell more cars? See how your dealership can thrive online today.

The hidden bright side of the automotive inventory shortage

The supply shortages that people can’t seem to stop talking about (sorry) have had a split impact on the automotive industry. On one hand, sales volumes and inventory levels are a fraction of what they were in 2019; on the other hand, every car that enters your lot is a guaranteed sale.

This has had a strange effect on the market. Just look at this window sticker for a 2022 Toyota 4Runner, which has a $30,000 price hike listed on the options list as a “market adjustment.” Strange times, indeed.

“With limited inventory due to a computer chip shortage, 82% of consumers are paying above sticker price for a new car” via CNBC and Reddit

Source: Reddit

While the lack of automotive inventory has thinned out the sales pipeline at most dealerships, the actual act of selling a car has never been easier. According to Car & Driver, dealership revenues in the United States increased for July 2021, compared with the same month of 2019.

Supply scarcity is good for dealers

This trend won’t last, though. Eventually, supply will rebound and lots will once again be full of shiny new cars complete with all the requisite semiconductors. When that happens, dealers may find that, despite all the supply insecurities we face today, there’s a lot to miss about car sales in the year without inventory.

Dealerships across the world are desperate for inventory, but that’s only because car buyers are equally desperate. Many shoppers are so eager that they’ll buy sight-unseen, often taking a car that doesn’t meet their initial expectations. No heated seats? Well, if that’s what’s available…

Not feeling the love? We have some great tips for selling more cars with less inventory!

What happens when things go back to normal?

Right now, you could probably sell a low-mileage 2019 model over the phone. But what happens when shoppers once again hold all the cards? Do things really need to go back to the way they were?

Well, not quite. Many dealers will certainly return to the previous status quo that had them frantically working every lead in the hope that, maybe, one of them might become a sale. Emails, phone calls, follow-ups… it’s a cycle to which many dealers are doomed to return. But you don’t have to.

How can you keep this advantage?

One thing that the pandemic proved was the effectiveness of a good digital retailing platform. With the right online tools, many dealers found, even before supply shortages, that they could sell cars faster and to a wider audience than ever before. See how a MotoCommerce user sold cars to people hours away, long before the pandemic!

When inventory returns to the automotive industry, customers won’t feel the same pressure to buy the first available vehicle they find. Instead, your shoppers will gravitate towards the dealership that offers the right vehicle and the right shopping experience.

Your dealership, but better

The best shopping experience isn’t just a benefit for buyers, though; it’s a major advantage for you and your team. A strong, omnichannel digital retailing platform is largely automated, allowing your customers to do most of the shopping on their own. When they do reach out, the top digital retailing tools also offer automated follow-ups and price-drop alerts as well, increasing engagement without any effort from your staff.

That’s how good digital retailing platforms will lead your team into a future that has all the inventory you need, and all the consumer interest you’ve become accustomed to this year. The right digital tools don’t just make life easier for your customers; they make life better for you.

Ready to sell more cars? See how your dealership can thrive online today.

What is automotive digital retailing, and how will it affect your dealership in 2022?

Everything you need to know about automotive digital retail

What does digital retailing mean for your car dealership? Automotive digital retailing is your dealership’s most powerful new tool, and it’s going to bring you into a shiny new future. More engagement, more sales, less work: keep reading to see how it’s done.

Digital retailing is the all-in-one sales process that makes it easier and more exciting for customers to shop for cars at your dealership. Done right, automotive digital retailing ties your physical and digital processes into one seamless experience that can be navigated in any direction, no matter how many times your customers want to jump from internet to showroom and back again.

This article will show you all there is to know about digital retailing, but if you’re already familiar, check out some of our other resources for making the most of your shiny new digital retailing platform:

what is digital retailing

Automotive digital retailing: what it is, and what it isn’t

Digital retailing isn’t digital marketing. It’s not your Facebook page, or your online inventory. Digital retailing is the customer’s ability to go deeper into the car buying process online. It’s the future of how cars will be bought and sold, and it’s ready today.1 But first, let’s get some context.

In 2000, car buyers visited an average of five dealerships before pulling the trigger.2 Today, you’re lucky if a customer visits two dealerships during their search. Your customers know what they want to buy and where they want to buy it long before they show up at your door. Consumers are in search of a different way to buy cars, and the dealership is going to play a very different role.

If it feels like the internet is pulling control from your dealership and limiting your influence in the car buying process, you’re not wrong. Your sales team has fewer chances to interact with their customers, and when they do finally get face-time, key decisions have already been made under the influence of content on the internet.3 Dealers are losing control, but that doesn’t have to be a bad thing.

Where does this leave me?

The challenge is to find a way to make sure it’s your dealership people are engaging with from home. The internet has altered the automotive consumer landscape, and your sales team can’t change that by pushing harder. In fact, pushy sales tactics are the last thing customers want. They know your dealership exists, and they know how to find you. When they want to come in and talk, they will – you don’t need to tell them to.

That’s where we circle back to digital retailing. For over a decade, customers have been shopping online; it’s the new norm. Not only that, but consumers are more informed than ever, and they’re comparing their digital experiences across industries. Customers want to buy a car the way they buy every other product.

See how digital trends in other industries are shaping your dealership’s customers.

Think about the last time you emailed Amazon asking for a price on that pair of headphones you wanted. Or when you filled out a multi-page form to request an Uber. We’ll save you some time – it has never happened. Yet these are the conditions customers have to navigate to purchase a car. Amazon deemed their already streamlined checkout process too clunky, and now offers “1-Click Ordering”. Traditional car buying practices simply can’t compete.

Omni-channel digital retailing is more effective

The best digital retailing solutions are omni-channel. Omni-channel is the central solution that integrates your customers’ online and in-store experiences across every touchpoint. A true omni-channel digital retailing platform erases the rough transitions where you lose customers, and keeps leads involved and interested no matter how they want to shop.

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The online options and format were easy to use and understand. I was able to research all of my options and even calculate finance and lease payment possibilities to help narrow down my search. I would definitely use this tool again in the future.

Lindsay M. | NewRoads Customer & MotoCommerce User

From the outset, you control how your leads interact with your brand and your inventory. You can funnel people to a general inventory page, or to a specific model you’re trying to push. From there, your customers have complete control over the process – but this time, it’s different.

Each step builds on the last, allowing the users to lead themselves deeper into an experience that you own. That lets you reach your customers directly instead of waiting around for them to find time for you while they make decisions on their own. No emails or phone calls required – go grab a coffee.

omnichannel graphic

One digital retailing solution for every customer

The real power of your digital retailing solution is that it lets your customers engage exactly how they want. Some people are in a rush to offload their trade-in, secure financing, and pull the trigger; they can do all of that in an hour from any device, and simply show up at the dealership to sign the dotted line and grab the keys.

Other people need time to think. You know the type: they’re going to buy the car eventually, but they really need to sell themselves on the commitment first. The omni-channel solution gives these clients the flexibility to explore all their financing, configuration, trade-in, and delivery options without subjecting your team to hours of repeated questions and circular conversations.

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We’re working with customers who expect perfection in all areas of their lives, and MotoCommerce brings that to their car purchases – no matter what “perfection” looks like to each individual. Genesis Markham is committed to a purchase experience that matches the caliber of our cars both in quality and consistency, and I believe we’ve achieved exactly that.

Chris Han | GXM, Genesis Markham

No matter what type of customer you’re dealing with, they ultimately end up at your dealership. Once they’ve identified their preferred dealerships, four out of five buyers jump repeatedly between internet and showroom.4 With a fluid omni-channel digital retailing experience, they can bounce between your website and your dealership as many times as they want without losing their place or having to provide the same information over and over again. When you offer your customers transparency and control, your chances of closing skyrocket.

The takeaway

The automotive industry is going digital,5 just like everyone else already has. And just like every other industry, there are going to be winners and losers – Facebooks and Myspaces. A strong digital retailing experience seamlessly integrates your dealership and online presence, and that gives you a new way to leverage customer data, build trust, generate leads, and increase your closing ratio. The best part is that when you do it right, you can close more deals with less manpower. The future is always going to be a challenge, but we can make your effort pay off.

Ready to sell more cars? See how your dealership can thrive online today.