What Consumers Want From a Digital Shopping Experience

Why are some digital shopping experiences more successful than others? What motivates consumers to move through the digital shopping experience with one dealership and drop off with another? 

These are complicated questions with more than one answer, but in the end it all comes down to the consumer experience. What consumers want, consumers get, even if they have to shop at a different dealership.  

Pay attention to these key consumer interests when it comes to implementing your digital shopping experience. 

Complete More Steps Online 

Consumers don’t want to spend a lot of time at the dealership, no matter how they choose to buy their cars. One major difference between various digital shopping experiences involves the number of steps the consumer can complete online (and as a result, the amount of time spent at the dealership). 

As recently as 2018, consumers were spending approximately 3 hours at the dealership, just to get a deal done. Two years later, with more dealers incorporating elements of a digital shopping experience, that time decreased to an average of 2 hours and 37 minutes.  

For consumers who complete at least 50% of the car buying process online, time spend at the dealership went down even more dramatically to about 2 hours. Even more telling, consumer satisfaction increased as more dealers offered a digital buying experience and the amount of time spent at dealership decreased. 

Implement Steps Customers Want 

It’s not just the number of steps in your digital shopping experience that matter. The specific steps that you include within that experience can convince car buyer leads to do business with your dealership. 

The following steps are the basic building blocks of a digital shopping experience. Even if you already incorporate them as part of your digital shopping experience, it’s important to communicate and promote their availability to your prospective dealer leads. 

  • Personalized Payments: Most customers are payment shoppers. They want to know as much about their future car payment as possible. This key information will help them decide whether or not to continue down the path to purchase. Give your consumers the tools to create all aspects of their deal structure online. 
  • Incentives and Rebates: Every consumer wants to get a good deal on their new car purchase. They want to know that they’re getting every possible incentive and rebate available. Be upfront with your shoppers about what they can expect to receive and make incentives and rebates an integral part of the digital shopping experience. 
  • Trade Valuation: Consumers know that their trade-ins carry value. If they don’t think they can include their trade-in as part of the digital deal, they may shy away you’re your digital shopping experience. In fact, according to Cox Automotive data, 80% of all digital deals include a trade. It’s an important part of the car buying experience for the majority of consumers. 
  • Credit Application: If one of the main goals of the digital shopping experience is to promote convenience (and reduce time at the dealership), including a credit application is near the top of every customer’s digital shopping checklist. Offer an online credit application to give you a better idea of consumers’ credit worthiness and allow them to pre-qualify, even before they step foot in the dealership. 
  • Test Drive: What would the car buying experience be without a test drive. It’s the time when consumer meets car and matches are made. Including the ability to self-schedule a test drive as part of the digital car buying experience allows consumers to make their own appointments and take that all-important next step toward buying their next car. 

Transform Your Digital Shopping Experience 

Again, what motivates consumers is a complicated question, and these are just a few of the basic elements of a digital shopping experience. You may also consider including: 

  • Offsite test drives 
  • The option for home delivery 
  • The ability to view and buy vehicle protection products 
  • Virtual tours and test drives 
  • Remote deal signing 
  • Vehicle reservation 
  • Service scheduling 

Just remember, in general, consumers appreciate the opportunity to complete more steps online and spend less time at the dealership. It saves them time and differentiates your dealership’s digital shopping experience from the host of online competitors. 

To learn more about how your dealership can transform the digital buying experience, check out Dealer.com Manager of Performance Management B. Malaczewski’s recent webinar, all about differentiating the digital buying process. You can also learn more about delivering the kind of digital shopping experience your customers want at Dealer.com