Automotive, Education, Insights

Why isn’t digital retailing working for me?

By Andrew Tai - Oct 14, 2021

Digital retailing works... most of the time.

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.

That's the other side of this coin.

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?

Look inward.

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.

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.

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.

But digital retailing isn’t a widget

...And 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, that 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.

It’s not all hard work, either.

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.


Andrew Tai is the co-founder and senior advisor to Motoinsight, but his influence extends far beyond the company. A contributing columnist to The Globe and Mail and a prolific speaker, Andrew is a recognized authority on digital retailing within the automotive industry. Connect with him today to learn how your dealership is going to change, or see the future yourself at motoinsight.com.

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