5 Ways to Prepare Your Dealership Team for Digital Retailing

It’s where the auto industry is headed: the ability to buy a car online. More importantly, it’s what the vast majority of your customers want.

Your dealership knows this, which is why you have subscribed to Digital Retailing.

With this technology in place, your customers’ ability to complete a car purchase almost entirely online is practically here. But before things can get rolling, there are a few steps you’ll need to take in order to ensure a seamless adoption of online transacting practices.

Here are five steps to prepare your entire dealership team for the strategic and operational changes that should result from Digital Retailing, as well as the positive outcomes your business can expect.

1. Embrace deeper customer engagement.

There’s no doubt that Digital Retailing gives you finance and trade ready buyers. In addition to starting deals, shoppers spend more time on your vehicle display pages (VDPs) if you’re using Digital Retailing.

But don’t wait for Digital Retailing to go live at your dealership to maximize engagement opportunities on your website. Here’s how:

– Hold VDP activity review meetings with your sales, BDC, and management teams. If they constantly know the inventory that get the most VDP activity, they will be best prepared to effectively connect with the callers, walk-ins, and leads that are generated by those key cars.

– Workshop and share your merchandising strategy. Once you have Digital Retailing on your website, your inventory will have payments and calls-to-action for shoppers to start their deal online and save time in the dealership. This is a whole new layer of inventory merchandising. Document your entire merchandising strategy, share with your teams and ensure that you are operating efficiently.

– Recommit to focusing on your broader website performance with analytics. Once Digital Retailing is up and running, your entire website solution will perform in new ways. Get a head start on the conversations you will have by reviewing your performance based on your website, advertising, and inventory. These three are key because once you have Digital Retailing live, it’s going to create improvements and opportunities for keen insights in each of those three categories.

2. Meet with your team.

Digital Retailing is technology that can impact your whole team. Make it a positive impact by keeping your team members informed. Create awareness of the upcoming change, and even share some of the benefits that made you a Digital Retailing believer. When you share your motivations, your team will have a much clearer picture of what has driven decisions, and what your path forward looks like. Even your service team can benefit from knowing that, for example, customers can begin the appraisal process on your website.

And don’t just meet once. Make communicating about Digital Retailing a part of your regular meeting cadence.

3. Build and market your Digital Retailing brand.

It’s a tired cliché, but simply building a better mousetrap won’t drive traffic to your door. You will need to message, promote, and help shoppers create tangible emotional connections to Digital Retailing’s time savings and convenience benefits.

Remember these four key points:

– Brand your experience.

– Promote. Promote.

– Build upon successes with subsequent promotion.

– Consider in-store point of purchase.

4. Refrain from thinking of shoppers as leads.

Remember, shoppers who provide you with their trade-in and their credit application are far more close to purchase than a lead. Please don’t tread them like one. Make it clear who owns the contact, that it should be conformational and focused on ensuring that the dots are connected for shoppers so they don’t feel like they are duplicating any efforts, or not getting the full benefit of starting their deal online.

5. Include your entire leadership team in the Digital Retailing setup process.

Digital Retailing should effuse “all hands on deck” attention, especially for your leadership team during the setup process. If one of your managers doesn’t have the opportunity to see behind the scenes and get excited, then he or she is at risk of being less on board than the rest of the team.

Know that dealership business may go on. Let your team know where you are and what you’re doing. And if there is an interruption, pause the conversation and address your dealership question before continuing the setup meeting. Team members distracted during the setup call can spell Digital Retailing doom.

Growing beyond your current strengths and comfort zone is a formative process. It’s about gradual growth, process improvement, communication, and reinforcement. Remember that people and teams are naturally change-averse, and with a change that is oriented around the way that many of us have done business for decades, it will take a thoughtful, planned approach.

Questions or concerns about Digital Retailing onboarding? Reach out to us below.

Patrick Wyld is a Digital Retailing enterprise performance manager at Dealer.com