Breaking Down the Online and In-store Divide for Shoppers

If you had a chance to tune in for the Cox Automotive Forward Focus session Breaking Down the Online and In-store Divide, then you would have heard Wayne Pastore, General Manager of, and Bob George, AVP Product Management for, discuss the changes that this year has brought to automotive digital retailing. While some aspects of the automotive industry began to slow down in March 2020, the need to connect the in-store and online buying experience was accelerated. Read on to learn how data and insights gathered during the consumer’s path to purchase can help you guide your customers through a more personalized and meaningful online buying experience. 

Retailing Everywhere 

The automotive shopping experience is evolving. While the end goal for the consumer remains the same – to buy a car that meets their needs and budget – the process by which they reach this decision is streamlining with better data and technology. In years past and till recently, a dealership website was used more for vehicle research, while the automobile leads were generated inside the dealership’s walls. Fast forward to present day, and new digital products and processes make it easier than ever for a shopper to purchase a vehicle without stepping inside a dealership showroom.  

Considering recent digital advancements, is there a way to bridge the online and in-store experiences that would benefit both the dealer and consumer? This brings us to Retailing Everywhere, a singular, multi-channel consumer retailing experience designed to drive profitable transactions and customer loyalty. Let’s look at the key components that make up this type of experience: 

  • Automated marketing and advertising 
  • Guided 1:1 consumer experience 
  • Advanced communication 
  • Deal connectivity across CRM and web 

When a consumer encounters a seamless digital experience, they stay on the website longer and go deeper into buying process. Keep reading to learn about innovations that support the Retailing Everywhere experience. 

Automated Marketing and Advertising 

Many consumers are spending less time on the road, for both professional and personal reasons. With more people staying home, what tools and tactics should you use to reach the right audience? If there is one thing most consumers are doing these days, and possibly more than a year ago, it is watching TV.  

Consumers are increasingly “cutting the cord” to cable programming in favor of Connected TV options, such as HULU and Netflix. This trend, combined with consistently positive performance in video advertising, has led to the expansion of our video advertising services on Connected TV channels. Placement is driven by the same data that powers display advertising, Facebook targeting, and other services. And since traditional TV does not offer the flexibility to target specific audiences, we can spend more effectively in this space. Robust reporting is available, so you know when and where your video ad is being shown, and to whom. 

Guided 1:1 Consumer Experience 

When a shopper lands on your Digital Storefront and begins to move through the site, either to view inventory or explore fixed ops deals from your automotive service marketing, the platform responds with a highly targeted, personalized experience. Our Experience Optimization product uses data from past shopping behavior to inform and customize experiences throughout the website. This includes slides, specials, banners, content. The goal is to introduce the most relevant offers and content to consumers on the first visit. 

Once the shopper has found the perfect vehicle, they will likely explore the digital retailing tools. Modeled after tax software, our brand-new Digital Retailing experience takes a complex process and breaks it down into small and simple steps. It’s a flexible, consumer-driven process, as shoppers can jump in and out of the pieces as needed to learn more about the deal. As a bonus, we’re finding people are using more of the tools and engaging more because it’s not a one-way street.  

Advanced communication 

The goal with shopper communication is to enable 1:1 conversation and offer a guided experience, and there are several ways to do this. Two examples include video chat and co-browse in Digital Retailing. Explore these services to see which ones would be the best fit for your Digital Storefront. 

Deal connectivity across CRM and Web 

Your dealership CRM plays an important role in moving the retail experience forward to a transaction. The reason is this platform provides visibility and understanding into consumer intent, and both of these inputs may be used by sales to deliver a personalized sales experience. 

With our latest offering, a deal can cross both your CRM and website, and it can originate in either space. Choose to review a deal in your CRM, and you’ll find a clean, simple view of the customer’s online deal activity that is accessed by a link. With CRM integration, leads fed directly into your CRM under one customer record update automatically every time the shopper changes their deal structure 

Driving interactions is essential in the Retailing Everywhere model. The technology you employ should support your activity instead of just replacing it, like talking across a table inside your showroom. The easier that information passes between the shopper and your dealership team, the better the shopping experience. Let our team help you to put the right message and interaction out to the consumer, regardless of where they are in the process.