New Digital Retailing Survey: Increased Adoption, Sales and Profitability, But Integration, People and Process Challenge Success

eLEND Solutions Digital Retailing Report Card report reveals widespread adoption of Digital Retailing (74%) among dealers surveyed, as well as a positive impact on sales (92%) and profitability (68%) – but challenges with training, leadership and process integration remain.


The Digital Retailing Report Card Report from eLEND Solutions, released today at NADA 2020, indicates a significant shift in dealer acceptance and application of digital retailing. Based on analysis of a recent survey of auto dealerships, the report indicates that a majority of dealerships respondents have adopted Digital Retailing (DR) technology online or in-store. Of those, the effectiveness of DR is emerging: 92% see a positive impact on sales and 68% claim increased profitability.

Not surprisingly, 80% agreed that DR has a positive impact on the customer experience – but it is important to note that the success reported was also based on related process changes having been made. And, challenges to DR adoption and success remain – integration, personnel and process loom as barriers, according to the dealerships surveyed.

Is your store currently using a digital retailing (DR) solution(s), online or in-store?

74% Yes
26% No

Critically, the vast majority of dealers surveyed now agree with a common definition of DR, clarifying the perceived intent of the technology and dealer understanding of the role it plays in the transaction process. Of those surveyed, 83% said that DR was best defined in the following way: “Digital retailing combines technology and process/workflows to help customers move themselves down funnel online and seamlessly pick up where they left off when they get to your dealership.”

“Seeing this clarity about the point and purpose of digital retailing represents an important step in dealer adoption,” said Pete MacInnis, CEO of eLEND Solutions. “This common understanding shows that dealer acceptance of – and challenges with – this technology are real, evolving and key to further adoption.”

When asked what they saw as the biggest challenges with today’s digital retailing tools/technologies, dealership responses centered on process, staff communications and integration, i.e. having the right in-store process, modernizing communication strategies and missing integrations. Note that modernizing communication strategies was ranked as a top three concern by 54% of dealers (tied with Integration).

“Moving away from lead capture to interaction with consumers on the dealership website is critical for DR to be successful, but in our experience, weaning off lead-gen addiction is the most difficult mindset change for dealers,” said MacInnis. “That leads back to the theme of this report: people and process change will lead the charge to success.”

And, when it comes to a seamless online to in-store transition, in addition to integration challenges, dealers also worried about making the necessary culture change, and having a training strategy for personnel.

“Among the surprising things we learned from the scorecard was actually the decidedly “non-tech” way dealers look at DR effectiveness,” said MacInnis. “When we asked what equals success, the answer was clear : Digital Retailing works best when dealers apply the right processes and people to the work. That was more important than having the best technology and tools.”

Key Highlights from the Digital Retailing Report Card:

74% of dealers surveyed have adopted Digital Retailing tools.
92% who are using DR, say it has made a positive impact on sales and 68% claim increased profitability.
80% who use DR, agree that it has a positive impact on the customer experience.
75% of dealers surveyed found that online payment calculator tools that return qualified rate, term and payment information are a desired function of the ideal digital retailing experience.
Dealers already using tools that return qualified rate, term and payment information say more car sales, higher closing rations and faster average transaction times are the major benefits of specific retail calculators.
54% worry about having in-store processes aligned with expectations set online and say that moving from lead capture to online consumer engagement is a top concern.
43% say website-based DR solutions that don’t include direct integrations with a desking tool, DMS, or showroom-based DR solution are a challenge.
To download the full report, click here.

eLEND Solutions will be at NADA 2020 in Las Vegas, Booth 3795C.

About eLEND Solutions:
eLEND Solutions™ (DealerCentric rebranded) is an automotive FinTech company focused on providing a simplified vehicle purchase process for the retail automotive industry. The platform specializes in online and in-store digital credit, identity and finance solutions – enabling a more efficient, faster moving sales and finance workflow that sells more cars at higher profits in less time – benefiting dealers, lenders and consumers.

Media Relations
Melanie Webber, mWEBB Communications, (424) 603-4340,
Crystal Hartwell, mWEBB Communications, (714) 987-1016,

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