Digital Retailing: Where There’s a Will, There’s a Way

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Dealers know the value of digital retailing and how effectively it can increase visitor to sales ratio’s and make the showroom process more satisfying and profitable.

Yet the adoption of digital retailing solutions is still fairly low. In fact, we recently surveyed dealers and found that, though dealers understand its value. Most are still reluctant to move financing information online. ½ of surveyed dealers say their process is still manual and paper-based. The question is why?

We also discovered a fair amount of confusion over just what defined the term “digital retailing.” 52% said that it was nothing more than listing inventory across digital channels. On the other end of the scale, 10% thought it to be all-inclusive e-commerce, including arranging the financing, transacting and contracting the sale.

The reality is digital retailing is the cornerstone of a truly integrated virtual showroom that initiates and bridges the consumer’s transaction into your physical showroom. Digital retailing describes the tools that enable consumers to begin parts of the deal online and delivers the three key pieces of information they want most: 1) transparent pricing on their vehicle of interest; 2) trade-in valuation; and 3) qualified payment information. Most importantly, these online tools must connect with your in-store sales process, because today’s shoppers expect to seamlessly pickup in store where they left off online. If you agree, as most dealers do, that profits are determined by sales – and sales by your sales process – a more transparent and transactional virtual showroom is a huge trust builder, and promises to fast track online shoppers to in-store buyers.

Ultimately, the point of digital retailing is to create a virtual shopping experience that best fits your business. You have to decide for yourself what technologies and workflows work best for your unique business needs, your customers as well as your brand. Some dealers might choose to slowly transition their processes – and consumers – to the future or automotive retailing, while others might be prepared to move faster towards a truly connected online solution. Regardless of your implementation strategy, the overall goal of digital retailing remains the same: connect online and in-store experiences to create a single, unified experience.

Letting customers do more of the deal online opens the door to increased sales opportunities – and likely less time spent inside the dealership. Letting customers feel in control of the process, ultimately helps YOUR team take control of the sale and maximize the experience. It seems like that – along with a more transactional website – is the true point and purpose of digital retailing.