There are a number of great tools out there to help dealers move with the times and increase sales in the face of an increasingly digital marketplace. Here, we take a look at just some of the technologies on offer to the dealership industry.
As a dealership owner you will be in no doubt that the tide is shifting towards a more digital approach to car buying. Consumers are increasingly using the web to browse their options for buying both used and new cars before visiting dealerships. Many of them will know exactly which car they want and what price they want to pay before they so much as step onto your forecourt. So how can you, as a dealer, move with the times AND boost sales?
Marketing is probably your first area to consider when looking at ways to adopt digital tools. Improving your digital advertising can attract shoppers to your website and into your dealership. There are a number of businesses offering solutions that incorporate search, display, video and social media marketing for your dealership.
A number of social media management tools allow you to align your social media advertising with your customer data, resulting in hyper-targeted adverts and information, which can drive sales and engagement in your particular dealership’s activities, promotions, events and stock. Influencing consumers at every stage of the car purchasing process now involves ensuring you are getting your dealership brand out there right from the beginning of a driver's online search activity.
Utilising digital retailing tools ties in with digital marketing and can help you to gain a better understanding of customer purchasing behaviour and desires than would ever be possible without today’s new technologies. Using digital retailing tools dealership owners can target their advertising more effectively and even approach customers with the right kinds of deals and offers to suit their needs, without them even realising.
As well as the greater scope for data collection, digital retailing tools can also greatly simplify your sales process, with tools to help streamline the entire experience, online or in person. It is now possible to digitalise the deal-making process, the financing process and the transaction process.
Another area in which dealers will be fast to part with their cash is the installation of virtual reality technology to enhance customers’ in-dealership buying experience. Franchises are about to start pouring thousands into VR tools and there’s nothing to stop independent dealers from using these tools to attract customers, increase engagement and drive sales. Jaguar Land Rover trialled the tech in the UK before rolling it out in the US to promote the 2017 Land Rover Discovery model.
"As if our vehicles weren’t exciting enough already, this new way of buying a car will engage customers further with our innovative capabilities," said Andy Goss, Jaguar Land Rover’s sales operations director.
Using VR, customers are able to view new models from a variety of angles and in every colour and finish available. They can open doors, look inside and examine trim before using the tool to help them make their final choices on the configuration of their new car. VR offers another level of customer engagement that, at this point, can only be experienced in dealerships.
Investing in these kinds of digital tools doesn't always come cheap, of course, but during periods of strong sales and at such a crucial period of change in the industry, you'll need to put your hand in your pocket for some of these technologies if you are to take advantage of the sales potential. Remember, any additional equipment, software or hardware needs to be included on your new and used car dealerships insurance.
Shoppers are not about to stop browsing and buying online and it's up to dealers to embrace these changing buyer habits in order to maximise sales and increase customer service levels. Reaching potential buyers through targeted online marketing, ensuring your website is fully optimised for online sales and using technology to engage drivers in the sale experience when they visit your dealership, will all help you to grow your business and take a large slice of a very lucrative pie.