I’m just finalizing the working sessions for President’s Club, and one of the sessions I’m moderating is Online Retailing. I’ve enjoyed the discussions I have been having with the panelists. Three major factors have emerged from our planning.
The research project we did a few years ago on Customer Experience told us that consumers valued trust in the dealership and trust in the sales rep over other considerations in our global principal component analysis. Consistency builds trust. If you are going to jump into digital retailing, you need consistency from online to offline. Customers expect the process to be seamless.
Regardless of the technology you use to approach online retailing, you must engineer a process that is flexible. Customers need to be able to “jump in and jump out” of the process, shopping at their pace. Let them decide how much of the process they complete online and when they want to make contact with your dealership.
Online retailing is built to make a customer-friendly experience and add efficiencies to the process. Do these efficiencies mean dealerships will need to restructure their org? Does an effective online retailing strategy require a BDC to answer questions vs a sales staff to do customer demos? I’m not saying dealerships need to revamp their showroom floor right now, but we would be remiss if we didn’t analyze the efficiencies on online retailing.
Customers today want a seamless experience. Your dealership can – and should – take advantage of new technologies available today to streamline your lead handling and improve the shopping process for customers. These three factors prove that integrating online retailing into your dealership can enhance and augment your sales process, but this is still a “people business”.
Make sure you can address each issue and develop a plan to integrate online retailing into your sales strategy.
If you are a Dealer Principal or General Manager, we will be discussing different approaches to solve these three questions at the upcoming Presidents Club.