Get Newsletter Submit a Tip

Future Trends of Online Retailing

May 10, 2018 0 Comments

Everyday more and more consumers get online and research which car they want to buy. Parents want to know which car is best and safest for a family and recent college grads get hit with headlines titled, “9 best cars for the recent college grad”.

Cox Automotive says 60% of total car shopping is spent online, and because of that 74% of car buyers know exactly what car they want before coming into the dealership.

Due to more potential customers starting their car search online, cohesive online retail plans are very important. This last weekend the country’s top specialists in online retail got together at DrivingSales Presidents Club Conference in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, to discuss the future trends of online retail.

From that discussion three themes became apparent. First, omni-channel retailing will take over. Next, online trade-in tools will be used differently, and lastly, dealership transparency will be at an all time high.

Omni-Channel Retailing

Speaking to a room full of dealers and vendors at the Ritz Carlton, Chief Marketing Officer for Roadster, Michelle Denogean said if you’re not implementing omni-channel retailing, you’re doing it wrong.

Omni-channel retailing creates a smooth process for car buyers from beginning to end. In other words, it allows the customer to start buying a car online, and then go into the dealership without missing a beat.

Denogean says this isn’t a more common practice because the process of making all the systems inside the dealership work together can be tedious and difficult, “I think that’s the key is having it all work and integrate together so that experience can be seamless… but I think that that’s hard.”

Nobody likes to repeat themselves, and that’s what omni-channel retailing is trying to avoid, according to Denogean, “At Least in today’s world for the foreseeable future people are coming into dealerships. And while there are a small percentage buying online, they still want that same efficient experience in a show room and don’t want a groundhogs day experience where they have to restate everything and build the deal again.”

Trade-in Tools

Trade-ins are not a new concept. But one automotive industry specialist says online trade-in tools will start to be used differently, “I think a lot of dealers do trade-ins, but they just have an old approach to doing it.”

Doug Van Sach, Vice President of Strategy Analytics and Data Services at AutoLoop says the big problem is that dealers aren’t listening to what their customers want in a good online trade-in tool, “I think the issue with trade-ins is that the tools dealers typically use online don’t match what customer preferences tell us through research. What we find is that customers want a guarantee and a verification through a third party.”

Van Sach goes on to say that if dealers don’t change the way they use trade-in tools, their business will suffer, “So a lot of dealers think that they provide the right experience. But at the end of the day because they don’t have the right features within their tool they have a lower conversion rate.

Dealer Transparency

Customers will begin to hold dealers accountable for lack of transparency.

Brett Miller, Head of Customer Success at Drive Motors says trust and transparency will dictate the success of any dealership, “If I’m a car buyer I’m already resistant to the dealership because I’ve been conditioned over the years to really resist that (car buying) interaction and the one thing that will change that is transparency.”

Miller says there are a few questions you need to ask yourself to help your dealership improve in online retail transparency, “Did I offer online pricing that is transparent, honest and true? And when you come into my showroom am I giving you that experience I promised online?”

Filed in: Featured

About the Author: