Recognizing digital’s role in auto sales, a $150-million dealership gets proactive about driving presale engagement in its showrooms with GoMoto

Todd Marcelle

http://www.innovativeretailtechnologies.com/doc/digital-engagement-drives-sales-0001?immediate=true

Michael Smyth doesn’t deny the negative stigma that’s often attached to selling cars. While some consumers thrive on a lively dialogue and negotiations with a good car salesman, many more tend toward independent research and self-discovery before sitting down at the dealership desk. Smyth’s consciousness of the often-negative connotation associated with the car-buying process — and the steps he’s taking to change the paradigm — is just one reason luxury Philadelphia-based auto retailer The Great Britains Automotive Group is so successful.

Smyth is president and COO at The Great Britains Automotive Group, but he’s not your average dyed-in-the-wool car salesman. He’s past chair of the Jaguar/Land Rover Technology Dealer Committee, he sits on the Jag/Land Rover Dealer Cabinet and Dealer Marketing Committees, and his experience prior to The Great Britains Automotive Group was in consumer products. That background is central to his worldview on the consumer experience, and it’s that worldview that led him to an innovative showroom kiosk project with GoMoto.

Unlimited Opportunity For Customer-Facing Technology
Smyth acknowledges that the auto sales industry hasn’t been quick to embrace new customer-facing technology in showrooms, but he says that’s changing. “There’s an unlimited opportunity to bring in new applications to enhance the showroom experience,” he says. “For us, that meant moving in the direction of letting customers continue the shopping experience that they’ve most likely already begun on a tablet. That’s where they’re doing their research prior to walking into a dealership.”

"Applications that mirror consumers’ in-home shopping experiences enable us to make consumers comfortable with the car-buying experience."

Michael Smyth President and COO, The Great Britains Automotive Group

In 2015, Smyth rolled out GoMoto-powered kiosks in both of his Philadelphia-based showrooms. The kiosks extend new model brochures, which are expensive for dealerships to procure and distribute to customers, to a digital format that can be browsed in the showroom and emailed to interested shoppers. That cost savings is significant, but it’s just a small piece of GoMoto’s value. “Empowering the consumer to browse and research on their own is very important to us, and so is capturing customer information. Within just a couple of minutes spent using the kiosk, we capture the customer’s information through a scan of their driver’s license, and we gather critical information about the models and features the customer is looking for,” says Smyth. That data is immediately accessible by management, and the GoMoto application is directly integrated with the dealership’s Autobase CRM system, creating a seamless opportunity for follow-up via mail and telephone.

Consumer Empowerment Drives Product Engagement
Of course, few car shoppers make a purchase without taking a test drive. “It’s so critically important to create a test-drive experience, and getting there as quickly as possible is extremely important to our dealership,” says Smyth. GoMoto minimizes the time to test drive by enabling a consistent and efficient initial presentation to the customer, which narrows down model selection by systematically walking the customer through features and price points. “Selecting the right product to test drive enables us to have people driving cars that are within their budget. It doesn’t benefit anyone to be test driving cars if they haven’t been exposed to prices, for example,” says Smyth. “If a customer is looking for a $399 lease deal, there’s no sense in them test driving a $147,000 Range Rover. We’re confident that when a customer who’s used GoMoto gets to the test-drive stage, we’re in the right car, experiencing the right product.” This approach has enabled the dealership to improve closing ratios and improve customer satisfaction on the dealership sales experience.

While The Great Britains Automotive Group has less than a year under its belt with GoMoto, Smyth says the volume of customer information it’s feeding the dealership’s CRM system has increased significantly. “That creates opportunity, and the more customer opportunities you have, the more sales you make.” Smyth admits that it’s difficult to ascribe a specific ROI to increased customer engagement, but in the luxury car business — where every sale is incredibly important to the dealership — the payback is obvious. “Applications that mirror consumers’ in-home shopping experiences enable us to make consumers comfortable with the car-buying experience,” he says. “We are confident that we are delivering the right dealership experience for today’s consumer, and this will help us drive our market share in the luxury car segment.”

mark rask

This is interesting....we are in the process of building a new showroom....hmmm

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