Dealers who weathered the 2008 financial collapse likely know that you must adapt to survive in today’s increasingly competitive and rapidly changing automotive marketplace. When it comes to car shopping, consumers are making informed decisions and calling the shots more than ever before. As a result, many traditional sales tactics are largely falling by the wayside and the dealerships that adapt are the ones most likely to thrive.
This situation is impacted by a disconnect between online shopping activity and in-store sales processes that illustrates a gap in customer-dealer engagement. However, even if a dealer is successful at engaging car shoppers online, losses can still occur on the lot because of breakdowns during the offline buying process. Consumers who are becoming increasingly used to the convenience and efficiency of online shopping are becoming more dissatisfied with the sheer amount of time it can take to complete offline sales process activities at the dealership.
This white paper focuses on a potential solution to this dilemma: a sales process that integrates online and offline activities, and provides consumers with more autonomy and transparency while reducing the amount of time customers spend in-store. Such an integrated sales process would allow sales activities to be conducted either off-site or onsite — whichever a customer prefers. Implementing a truly integrated sales process will require dealers to move many processes “upstream” to give consumers the ability to complete purchase-related tasks online and will accommodate the variety of ways that customers are now using technology to shop. “Integrated” has implications that are both internal and external to the dealership. It means smoothing the transition between online and offline car-buying activities — offering a seamless set of options to meet consumers’ need to shop and buy the way they want to — as well as adapting store operations to make the vehicle-purchasing process as fast and painless as possible for the customer.