Why isn’t digital retailing working for me?

As an early proponent of digital retailing, I’ve seen more success stories than I can remember. The part that always makes me smile, when I hear from thrilled digital retailing users, is how surprised they are by the magnitude of the results.

Of course, no one buys into digital retailing without expecting some positive results; with so many dealers, though, the outcomes are beyond even their wildest expectations. Except for when they aren’t.

Every so often, I talk to a dealer who doesn’t see the value in their digital tools. Their platform, whatever it may be, just isn’t working, and they give up.

It’s disappointing to see people abandoning a way of doing business that has so much potential to change their lives for the better – and to change the industry for the better. A happier digital future is already a reality for more and more dealerships every day, so why do some shops feel left out?

People are now choosing to do more communication online, and they're expressing less insistence on going out to take a test drive. Car and Driver

Make sure your team is engaged

The answer turned out to be simpler than you’d guess: you can’t get customer engagement before you get dealer engagement. If your dealership hasn’t bought into your digital retailing platform, then your customers never will.

When I talk to dealers who get great results with some form of omnichannel digital retailing platform, their methods are always different. Some centralize their entire process around the BDC, while others deputize their sales team to do targeted prospecting through the tool.

What the winners had in common

The only unifying factor among these success stories isn’t in the details, but in the people telling them: every person who had success with digital retailing approached the platform with enthusiasm, and built out a sales process that relied on their online shopping tools. Check out some automotive digital retailing success stories here!

What the unsuccessful had in common

Dealers who saw no meaningful benefits also had a unifying factor: their lack of enthusiasm and active buy-in for the tool. They saw their digital retailing platforms as “just one more widget” that could plug into their websites and generate leads in the background.

What does good automotive digital retailing look like?

Good digital retailing isn’t a widget. If your tool looks like a widget, then it probably can’t offer true digital retailing to your customers. Real DR is a way to mirror your in-store processes online, and to connect those two twinned sales funnels into one seamless and effortless experience for customers and sales professionals alike.

Just like selling a car in the showroom, this requires enthusiasm and training. To be successful, a dealership needs to work with its tool – and the customer support team that goes along with it – to build, maintain, and evolve a better process. You can learn more about training and process development here.

The benefits of a great digital retailing implementation

One of the things I hear from every satisfied digital retailing user is how much easier it makes their lives. With a strong, tested digital retailing sales process, each sale takes less time and less effort to close.

We’ve seen dealerships closing up to 80% of their digital retailing leads. We’ve also seen dealerships closing ~10% of their online leads, and that gulf is down to dealer engagement. Digital retailing isn’t just another lead-gen. tool that sits on your VDP: it’s a powerful and flexible funnel that not only creates leads, but closes them, too.

The only thing you have to do is use it.

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

Sell more cars with less inventory (yes, it’s possible)

As if supply shortages weren’t bad enough already, automakers in every corner of the industry have made it clear that we won’t be getting an influx of new vehicles any time soon thanks to a major consequence of the pandemic: semiconductor shortages.

It’s odd to think that our entire industry could stall like a teenager learning stick on a hill, especially over something as minor as a few microprocessors. But then again, have you been in a car lately? Of course you have, which is why you know how much of even the most basic vehicle depends on computers.

Can you do anything about it?

Great, here we are; no supply, even as demand escalates. Car and Driver recently reported that 40% of car buyers are willing to pay an average of $5,000 USD over MSRP on their next car. It’s basic supply and demand, of course, but increases in demand don’t amount to much if you’ve got nothing to sell.

HOW MUCH BARGAINING POWER DO YOU HAVE? average sold vehicle price vs MSRP

Or do you? Let’s look at some proven ways to sell cars during the supply shortage.

Look beyond the automakers

Car makers may be cutting back their manufacturing with wild abandon – GM suspended production of the Camaro back in March due to semiconductor shortages, and they’re far from alone – but there are still cars out there. Just look out at the nearest street. See any cars? You could be selling those.

Well, not those exact cars… but then again, maybe. When new cars are hard to come by, you need to turn to your preowned car lot.

Get the right tool to power your new strategy

A good digital retailing program is your best friend here. Many platforms are rigid and linear, meaning the customer can’t decide where to start. The top-tier digital retailing solutions, however, do away with these restrictions. We have some great info here about the different types of digital retailing platforms.

This is critical, because it’s how you get more trade-ins, and that’s how you sell more cars during this inventory shortage. By leveraging your flexible digital retailing platform, you can create site-wide CTAs that lead directly to the trade-in module of your online purchase.

Get more trade-ins with TradeFirst from MotoCommerce

Even if your customer isn’t sure what model to buy – or if that model is available right now – they can still engage with you through your trade-in tool. Once they complete their instant appraisal, you’re in complete control.

Encourage customer activity that can be done today

The premiere digital solutions will seamlessly pass the customer through to the next step in the sales process, encouraging them to turn that trade-in evaluation into a complete purchase. Of course, you’ll also receive activity alerts, so you know to reach out when the customer has submitted their trade.

That way, you can deal on your terms. Want to guide the customer preemptively to an in-stock vehicle? Easy. Prefer to secure the trade-in, and leave the customer’s purchase for later? The right digital retailing platform can make that happen. In any case, these tools make it easier to sell, but also easier gain new inventory at a time when that’s the biggest challenge you face.

Success during inventory shortages means building a digital pipeline for preowned vehicles

Carry that momentum forward

Your dealership can no longer afford single-purpose solutions. The industry is changing so rapidly, with so many new hurdles and evolutions, that the only solutions worth having are the ones that grow alongside your needs.

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

How to get the best automotive digital retailing platform for your dealership

Technology is amazing. Anyone who has spent more time at home this past year is well aware of the incredible tool, distraction, resource, and entertainment that digital tech can be. New digital technology is so good, in fact, that we have come to expect effortless utility of all new technologies. And that’s a problem.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, I’ve seen dozens of new automotive digital retailing solutions materialize in the dealer space. Each one effectively promises the same thing: do more online with our plug-and-play widget. So why is this a problem? As technology makes cars more autonomous by the month, why is it so hard to believe that a piece of tech can turn your dealership into an online showroom overnight?

What’s the difference between the best digital retailing platforms and the subpar options?

Good automotive digital retailing will never be plug-and-play

Let’s look at what makes cars autonomous. It’s not as simple as updating your 2005 Camry with a quick ECU flash for instant self-driving luxury. Autonomous cars, even in their current not-quite-autonomous form, are the product of years of research, trial, error, and improvement. Even now, the best “self-driving” cars still need human oversight and frequent software patches to keep them on the right track.

Selling cars online, autonomous or otherwise, is no different. Much as we’d love to believe it, there’s no simple tool that instantly turns your traditional dealership website into a high-conversion online showroom. Just like autopilot, digital retailing takes a degree of effort to generate results. The best automotive digital retailing platforms make that a possibility.

Plug-and-play technology can’t be configured to the unique needs of your dealership

You get out what you put in

Don’t worry, I’m not saying that good digital retailing will keep you up at night. There’s no code to tweak, and it’s an easy way to generate high-quality, low-effort leads—once it’s up and running.

Your dealership is different than the one across the street, or another in a different town entirely. You need a solution that is complex enough to support your unique needs, and simple enough to make your life easier every day. And that requires a custom-tailored implementation process. Read up on the dangers of a basic digital retailing tool here.

This isn’t what you get with simple, widget-based online tools. The implementation might be easy, but the results are reflective of the effort you put in. Your customers want to shop online, and that means a sophisticated digital system that recreates the entire dealership experience. They need something they can dive into.

The right platform comes with the right people

Have I made this all sound very complicated? It’s not—rather, it doesn’t have to be. You don’t need to be a tech expert to get the best digital retailing implementation, because the best solutions have their own experts.

You’re not expected to be a digital retailing genius. All you have to do is find good, omnichannel digital retailing provider who has a dedicated genius set aside to work with you, to learn your dealership, and to guide your success. As long as you make the effort to work with this person, your determination will be rewarded with higher-quality leads, better closing rates, and easier sales.

Want more tips on building a better digital process? You can find some great ones here!

Selling online is no different than working out of a dealership; the infrastructure and processes take a bit of time and effort to create, but those efforts guarantee your continued success.

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