It may be hard for to remember a time without the internet, but it was only a couple of years ago that consumers had to visit a dealership in person if they wanted to buy or lease a vehicle. Now it’s estimated that around 86% of consumers start their car shopping journey online. A dealership that embraces digital retailing will cast a larger net to help boost sales.

There are two prevalent opinions when it comes to digital retail in the automotive sector. One group believes consumers will buy cars strictly online in the near future, which completely disrupts the current sales model. Dealers that take digital retailing seriously are preparing for the massive shift in buyer behavior and psychology.

Meanwhile, on the other end of the spectrum, you have others who believe that the majority of shoppers will continue to research vehicles online but continue to buy cars offline. Regardless of which side you are on, digital retailing is here to stay.

There could also be a few outliers who believe digital retailing will not happen in their lifetime. Business, as usual, is still their creed.

Digital Retailing From the Consumer’s Standpoint

It’s easier now than ever for consumers to buy a car online. After all, it only takes a couple of clicks to make a purchase. Consumers don’t even need to own a PC or a laptop since almost every website is mobile-friendly and accessible on a smartphone. The average consumer has all of the information they need right at their fingertips and an infinite amount of possibilities to choose from, ranging from a car’s specific make and model to which dealership they buy it from.

Digital Retailing From the Retailer’s Standpoint

This brings us to our next point, which is why dealerships should incorporate digital retailing into their current business model. It can be challenging to cater to online customers, especially if your dealership does not have the right processes in place. However, digital retailing offers something dealerships never had a chance to know before: vast insight into what their customers truly want. You can easily use digital retailing to track online consumer behavior.

Using Google Analytics, you can analyze website traffic sources, email marketing statistics, and other data. Car dealerships can also see which online ads are effective and which should be scrapped based on their performance. Over time your dealership will be able to gather more data and give consumers a better experience by tailoring your marketing messages and recommended product suggestions according to their specific tastes and preferences.

Not to shamelessly promote here, but I think this will help: The AutoFi solution provides contextual leads at every step of the buying journey.

How Dealerships Can Implement Digital Retailing  

At this point, you’re probably wondering what this means for your dealership. Well, instead of chasing the latest digital retailing trends, we suggest that you take a step back and use the data gathered from digital retailing to further understand your customers and improve their online experience.

The best place to start is to ask your customers if they are getting all they need from your website. This can be done with an online survey tool. Showing you care goes a long way.

Enhance the Consumer’s Online Experience

Since consumers will go to your website and conduct research before they even drive to your dealership to check out your showroom, it’s important that you make it easy for them to navigate your website. After you test certain web copy, graphics and other components of your website, use the data to figure out what works and doesn’t work and enhance their online experience. For example, if your team discovers that a Facebook advertisement is performing well, copy the add and try using it on other social media channels.   

Bring Your Dealership into the 21st Century

AutoFi is an e-commerce software platform specializes in providing e-commerce solutions for car dealerships and consumers. We make it easy for anyone to buy and finance a car online by directly connecting consumers to an entire network of lenders. Have questions about our services? Feel free to head over to our website for more information.