Support The At-Home Experience

By Kevin Byer, Director of Sales at Dealer.com 

The past several months has brought lasting change to the automotive industry. While consumers adjusted their shopping behavior to comply with social distancing mandates, your dealership rolled out or enhanced digital solutions to meet their needs and keep the business in operation. The sales process is undeniably shifting to and advancing online, which means your marketing should too. Adjust the processes and technology for digital retailing and advertising in order to support a seamless sales and services experience. 

It’s become essential to support a new, at-home shopping experience that enables the car-buying transaction in the comfort, safety and convenience of the shopper’s home. Services like 100% online purchase, home delivery and test drives, and remote vehicle service and repair have long been a dream for consumers.  This dream is becoming reality.  So, if your business still requires an in-person visit to your dealership, then it’s time to make some improvements. 

Start by generating a list of your current marketing activity and mapping it to your sales process. Does each activity align with the story your dealership is telling?  Better yet, does your marketing enhance this message? Connect and align your dealership story and shopper convenience. The recommendations listed here can help you accomplish this. 

Evaluate Website Tools 

Explore your website through the eyes of the consumer. Start from the homepage and navigate through the search, vehicle deals, and service pages, paying close attention to communication tools: 

  • Can shoppers easily find a way to connect with a sales associate?  
  • What communication options are available?  
  • Are communication prompts visible and prominent? 
  • What deal building tools are available? 

By evaluating your website from the shopper’s point of view, you may uncover opportunities to build a bridge to your sales team. And the more convenient and direct these pathways can be, the better your chance to connect and generate quality leads. 

Invest in Technology  

Once you’ve assessed the communication options that are available to shoppers on your website, the next question is whether you have the right mix. In today’s automotive shopping environment, some consumers are still warming to digital retailing, while others are embracing it and would welcome more features. Enter: video chat. What better way is there to offer one-to-one engagement and foster connection with shoppers, while conducting the conversation from different locations?   

Video chat enables a sales team member to guide the shopper through the buying experience as if they were sitting in your dealership together. Explore reallocating a portion of your budget to launch this tool. In addition, CoBrowse is a service that allows shoppers to share their computer screens with their sales associate. Both technologies support seamless communication with shoppers during the car buying process. 

Audit Your Content 

By now, you’ve compared marketing activities against your sales plan, researched communication tools currently available on your site, and explored adding modern technology to connect with shoppers.  Last on this list but not least, have you updated your website content recently? 

While communities are in a period of transition, emerging more and more from their homes for work and play, now is the time to perform a content audit.  There are two recommendations to focus on for the sales context:  

  • Develop clear steps for building a deal, sharing them across all digital communication channels. 
  • Create consistent messaging that tells the seamless experience story, remembering to manage several key customer touchpoints like social media and the Vehicle Deal Page. 

Support Sales to Support Your Customers 

The answer to where and how your customers makes a purchase from you is increasing online, whether it’s a new vehicle or vehicle service. Take a look at how your dealership is operating now.  Do you have the right marketing processes and tech to effectively support your current and ongoing sales process? Support sales to create an amazing experience for your customers. 

If you have questions or would like additional resources to help you check these boxes, please reach out to your team of Cox Automotive Performance Managers.