The Download on Shifting Consumer Preferences

Have you had a chance to watch the video recording of Dealer Forward Marketing Edition: Shifting Consumer Preferences? If not, we strongly recommend you do! And if you have watched it, you’ll know it covered highly relevant topics for dealers like you, including recent trends in automotive digital marketing and automotive service marketing, and tactics you can use to embrace shifting consumer behavior.  

Keep reading to get the highlights from this discussion between Wayne Pastore, General Manager of Dealer.com and Vice President of Operations Dealer Marketing, Cox Automotive Dealer Software Solutions, and Jeff Ramsey, eCommerce & Marketing Director at Jones Junction. Learn how Shifting Consumer Preferences influence how your dealership operates, and how to exceed customer expectations to close the deal. 

Keep communication seamless. 

Consumers today expect to have digital retailing options when they go to buy a vehicle. The enduring question here is how far each customer will want to remain online through the purchase process. For instance, some may prefer to “Get Today’s Price” online and visit the dealership to complete all other steps, while others may not want to leave the comfort of their home at all.   

The dealership sales process and staff need to be organized and equipped to handle the full range of consumer digital preferences. One essential factor is seamless communication. The better your team communicates, the greater success you will have with your digital retailing solution, resulting in the progression of more leads. Sales managers, internet managers, the service team, and others need to be comfortable with processing customer information that was shared through digital forms and using this data to inform future interactions.  

Acknowledge the shopper’s digital effort.  

Shoppers submit a wide variety of information through the forms on your Digital Storefront. Think of all the fields available for them to complete, from the Finance and Lease sections on the Vehicle Deal Page, to the details required for your automotive service appointment scheduling software. The good news is you can easily score customer service points by acknowledging all the work that they’ve done.  

Make it a habit to thank shoppers for investing time to share down payment, trade in value, and other details. Some may expect this show of appreciation from your team, which means there may be more at stake from not doing this than just hurt feelings. If you inadvertently “break” the customer experience, there is a risk you may be punished with lower gross or even a lost sale.  

Adjust your channels and messaging to stay relevant. 

Are you familiar with the term “cord cutting?” This is a topic that deserves its own article, but it refers to the trend of traditional Cable TV subscribers who are ending their contracts (i.e. “cutting the cable cord”) and moving to Connected TV offerings, such as Netflix, HULU, and more. The key here is that what consumers watch and where they watch it is dynamic, and so your advertising strategy should be too.  

Be willing to explore new online channels, including social, and update your messaging on a regular basis. For instance, do your Ads show people standing close together in a dealership and giving high-fives? This image is now outdated due to social distancing guidelines. Demonstrate through words and images to your shoppers that you are paying attention and acting accordingly.  

Above all, keep in mind that your online experience is the store experience. With all of your dealership departments becoming more reliant on digital retailing and scheduling, you need everyone bought in and taking full advantage of what these experiences have to offer. As always, Dealer.com and your performance manager are available to help you explore products and strategies to grow from shifting consumer preferences.