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Bill Wittenmyer

Bill Wittenmyer VP Sales, Layered Apps & Competitive Accounts

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3 Digital Retailing Mistakes that Cost You Customers

Various industry studies show over 80 percent of customers want to start the car buying process online. So, it makes sense that more dealerships are implementing digital retailing tools.


Today’s customers expect an Amazon-like online shopping experience that is connected, seamless and easy. If your digital retailing tools and process don’t deliver, customers will choose another dealership that can accommodate their needs.

The right experience is more important today as people distance themselves from each other to stay healthy. If proven valuable, the big shift away from physical stores to online shopping and buying may continue after health concerns pass.


It’s important to note that just having online shopping tools doesn’t guarantee success. Are the following three digital retailing mistakes costing you money? Now is a crucial time to evaluate your processes to ensure you are providing the online experience customers want.


Mistake #1: Implementing inadequate shopping tools.


Your digital retailing experience should allow shoppers to build a deal online that reflects a realistic car-buying scenario. Essential tools include penny-perfect payment calculations that include taxes and real lender programs, accurate trade-in valuations, credit app submission, and F&I product information and pricing.


It doesn’t do any good if customers have to repeat what they’ve done online when they enter your store. The online and in-store experience must be seamlessly connected or your customers will get frustrated with the inefficiency. Synchronizing your digital experience with your showroom CRM, desking software and a complete set of integrated shopping tools delivers the fast, connected experience that is crucial to winning online business.


Mistake #2: Running the same old sales model.


Digital shoppers need nurturing, not a hard sell. That’s because they are much further down the sales funnel than traditional Internet customers. When they call your dealership or send an email, they’re often looking for more information on their vehicle of interest.


Running the same old sales model of pushing for the appointment before providing the information requested or answering every customer question signals your dealership is aggressive or hard to work with. This can make customers eliminate your dealership from consideration.


To win sales, focus on rapport and building a relationship. Two new sales models will help you do this.


In the first, a sales manager handles every aspect of the deal from start to finish - including F&I. In the second, a product specialist nurtures the customer until he or she is ready to come into the dealership; then, a manager takes over in-store and transacts the deal in one sitting.


Both of these models respect and honor the work customers have already done online and limit the number of transfers between salespeople. They also make it easy and comfortable for customers to transition from online to in-store for a faster and more convenient experience.


Mistake #3: Limiting your knowledge of customers.


Creating rapport and relationships is difficult when salespeople have a limited view of what a customer needs and wants.


That’s why flexible shopping intelligence technology is gaining speed as dealerships use it to maintain a 360-degree view of each customer’s overall online browsing behavior inside the CRM.


With shopping intelligence tools, you’ll know what vehicles your prospects and customers are looking at and on which sites they are shopping in real time. And when you know what they’re searching for as they’re searching for it, you can communicate smarter.


A better understanding of the customer’s challenges or needs enables salespeople to stay in touch at key points in the customer lifecycle. You will have insight as to which vehicles the shopper is researching. This means you can deliver the perfect message – for example, a list of similar vehicles that the customer is searching for - at the perfect time for better results.


Ultimately, digital retailing is a powerful channel for selling more vehicles – if you do it right. Avoid these three common mistakes to create an experience that is connected, seamless and easy. As shopping behaviors change due to health concerns, you’ll be prepared for digital customers and your bottom-line will reflect that.

Good selling!

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