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Today, technology must create a customer journey that allows a consumer to buy online, or start online, and pick up right where they left off in the showroom.
The technology exists to accomplish this. Proof of that is right in front of our eyes in the Carvanas, Beepis, Vrooms and other such companies. They’re already leveraging technology to take sales away from dealers. Sadly, it seems that in many cases dealers either don’t recognize the peril, don’t think these companies will gain traction, or are simply turning a blind eye.
In my experience, the most successful dealerships today have chosen to change their showroom culture and have adopted technology that resonates with consumers.
Through the adoption of technology, many of the pain points consumers relate when discussing the car buying experience can be eliminated. Transaction times can be reduced and sales departments made more efficient.
All of the components of the retail transaction should be available in a streamlined process that includes pre-screening shoppers; accurate trade evaluations; desking abilities that enable customers to change variables on their own to find a structure that fits their needs; menu-based finance offerings; and digital contracting. Make sure these technologies are in place in your showrooms. In addition, let’s not forget that today’s car shopping experience starts online. So, be sure that your dealership also makes it a seamless process – make it easy for today’s car shopper and give consumers the ability to complete as much of this process online before coming into your dealership.
Have you ever wondered why the world’s largest retailer – Amazon – continuously finds innovative new ways to speed up delivery times? They’ve played with drones and started one-hour deliveries in some markets. The logical guess is that most of Amazon’s customers buy from them for convenience. It’s much easier to order that book, movie or whatever, online and have it delivered right to your doorstep, versus a trip to the mall. They make their message all about convenience. You want something? They’ll get it to you! They know that the more quickly they can deliver it, the more likely you will be to buy it from them, versus a brick and mortar store. Consumers are now used to this type of service. And they love it. In the 3rd quarter of 2015 alone, Amazon reported almost $26 BILLION in sales. And this is the exact strategy that the auto retailing disruptors are using.
Today’s consumers are far less willing to spend much time at the dealership.
Confrontations and adversarial interactions during negotiations are things that they will no longer put up with. The longer our industry falls behind in transforming the consumer car buying experience, the more these start-ups will gain ground. We are at a crossroads in a world that is going to change -- with or without us.
The answers and solutions are already there to transform your dealership. Leverage today’s technology and provide a better start-to-finish customer experience.
Once we as an industry embrace this, customers will slowly forget how painful they used to perceive the car buying process. They will take advantage of the tools and technologies forward-thinking dealerships adopt – as these offer the buying experience they want.
I am tired of the old media reports and people that talk down about this industry – I LOVE this industry as, honestly, we have some of the smartest people working here.
The bottom line is that consumers want to buy cars. And we want to sell them. Let’s make it as easy as possible for both of those to happen. Sounds like a win-win to me.