Why Car Buyers and Dealers are Primed for Digital Retailing - Cox Automotive Canada

Why Car Buyers and Dealers are Primed for Digital Retailing

New technologies that allow us to access goods, services, and information are being developed at an unprecedented speed, and consumers have come to expect a fast and efficient online experience in every aspect of their daily lives.

New technologies that allow us to access goods, services, and information are being developed at an unprecedented speed, and consumers have come to expect a fast and efficient online experience in every aspect of their daily lives.

When was the last time you booked a vacation through a travel agent or went to the box office to buy tickets for a night out or even purchased electronics from a big box store? Digital Retailing is revolutionizing our lives – and car buyers, dealers, and lenders are primed for the experience.

Digital Retailing makes the online car buying experience easier

Given that the average car buyer spends 17 hours online researching a vehicle, I can’t stress enough how essential it is to deliver a rewarding online shopping and financing experience for the customer. Convenience is king, and an automotive Digital Retailing solution will make the online car buying experience more pleasant for your customers.

Overall, the automotive Digital Retailing experience is very similar to today’s typical car buying process: start the deal; make the deal; transact the deal. But let’s be clear, Digital Retailing will not replace the traditional bricks and mortar dealerships.

Car buyers are looking for a more convenient experience. They want to be able to start deals online, while also having the option to head to a dealership to test drive and finalize the deal. Based on Cox Automotive data, 54% of buyers say they would purchase from a dealer who offered their preferred experience over the lowest price, and 84% say it’s extremely important to test drive a vehicle they’re considering.

Simply put, an automotive Digital Retailing solution will provide the customer with an opportunity to start the deal online, but it also promises to save you and your customers time, while ensuring the dealer has the ability to maintain control and profitability.

How to bridge online shoppers into in-store buyers

While car buyers spend a lot of time on the Internet, research has shown that these buyers visit an average of only 1.6 dealerships before making a purchase. So how do you ensure your dealership is one of the 1.6 they visit? The answer lies in becoming more present and accessible to customers online and then delivering them transparent tools and information via your website – one that will give car buyers the research and shopping tools they want.

Cox Automotive Canada President Maria Soklis recently explained that one of the most critical investments in any automotive Digital Retailing solution that will have the most immediate results is a dealer advertising strategy that targets buyers, utilizes intelligent data, and offers convenience to the customer.

The key is to match your advertising message from traditional and digital advertising to the message that greets shoppers who visit your digital showroom. For example, your call to action after buyers select a vehicle could be “structure my deal”, or “calculate my payment”, or whatever term best suits your approach to the market.

A Digital Retailing solution should also include a seamless online credit application process.

Reducing the amount of paperwork and shortening the in-store F&I experience are just a couple of things that are beneficial to your customers, and because the experience is faster and more convenient, these buyers are more likely to purchase additional F&I products and other add-ons. By the numbers, car buyers purchased 62% more F&I products using digital platforms, in comparison to those sold face-to-face.

Digital Retailing is the future—now

One thing is for certain: automotive retail is and will remain an evolving industry. With solutions like Digital Retailing available, however, you can give your dealership the tools necessary to not only survive in the current car-selling landscape, but to thrive as automotive retail accelerates into the future. Cox Automotive data has, in fact, shown that dealers who deploy our Digital Retailing tools see their buyer satisfaction grow two to three times.

Given the changing demands of consumers, by implementing Digital Retailing, car buyers will have a much more enhanced digital vehicle shopping and financing experience, while car dealers substantially bolster their bottom line.

Skilled in Canadian retail and automotive lending, Richard Evans is the head of Dealertrack Canada, which includes sales, account management, product management, software engineering, and dealer operations.

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