Automotive, Education, Industry Ideas, Insights

What is Digital Retailing, and How Will it Affect Your Dealership?

By Motoinsight - Jun 07, 2019

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 do more. It’s the future, 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 the dealers, 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 the internet.3 Dealers are losing control, but you can make that work for you.

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 changed 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.

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. That sounds absurd, but 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 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.

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.




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.

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 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.


Since 2011, Motoinsight has been working with dealerships and OEMs to realize a new vision for the automotive industry through our leading solutions including Unhaggle and MotoCommerce. If you’re ready to find out how your dealership can thrive in the digital future, visit motoinsight.com. Let’s redefine automotive retail, together.



1 https://www.autoremarketing.com/arcanada/s-dilawri-employs-motoinsight-deliver-new-omni-channel-tech-across-10-rooftops
2 https://www.theglobeandmail.com/globe-drive/news/industry-news/as-car-buyers-head-online-auto-stores-adopt-a-new-way-ofthinking/article37194398/
3,4 https://www.bcg.com/en-ca/publications/2018/new-way-to-sell-cars.aspx
5 https://www.mckinsey.com/industries/automotive-and-assembly/our-insights/disruptive-trends-that-will-transform-the-auto-industry