It used to be that you couldn’t sell cars without letting the would-be buyer take the driver’s seat. With this, the only way to convince anyone to buy a car would be to get them interested enough to come through your dealership’s doors and try driving one of your cars for sale. The tactic of enticing buyers somewhat changed with the development of digital advertisements, but you still had to tell the buyer to come over to your auto dealership showroom.
In the past few years, though, the growing pervasiveness of the digital transformation trend has been causing sweeping effects on the way cars are being sold. In many American states such as Washington, car dealers have had to sell to buyers who didn’t want to go to their stores for any reason, not even to test drive the cars. To meet this challenge, businesses like Walla Walla Car Dealership came up with various digital strategies and tools so they can sell to prospects entirely in the digital space.
Here are some tools you would need for your digital car dealership to succeed.
1. An Optimized Website
One of the first things you need to have if you’re planning to transform into a digital car dealership is an optimized website. The basic requirement for online business presence for any enterprise is to have its own company website. Having your own functioning and user-friendly website has become an essential tool in digital car dealerships.
A car dealership website is indispensable. Roughly nine out of 10 people buying cars do their online research before deciding whether to buy a new car or not. The only way to attract and catch the attention of prospective buyers is to have your own functioning, user-friendly, and optimized website.
Your website should be optimized for the most popular search engines. This is the best way to enable your website to rank high in search engine results. Your dealership website should also be friendly to users and potential buyers. Make sure they can easily navigate your website’s features and functionalities.
Remember that effective sales and digital marketing strategies are based on a well-functioning and powerful website. Your other digital car dealership tools won’t work if you don’t have a good website. It’s like having marketers distributing pamphlets and flyers all over the city, but you don’t have a brick-and-mortar showroom yet that people can go to and visit.
2. Customer Relationship Management Solution For Car Dealership
The next thing you’re going to need if you want to build a digital car dealership is a central hub to power your website processing and customer engagement operations. Customer Relationship Management (CRM) is your central hub. It’s a powerful software application platform. It comes with multiple tools that you’ll find highly useful to keep all your events, activities, and transactions organized.
One of the most powerful features of a CRM is its database management tools. A digital car dealership CRM platform will enable you to store information about your leads and prospective customers. You can configure your CRM according to the settings and functionalities you’ll need for your digital car dealership.
Another powerful feature of the CRM software is its communication hub. Integrating a CRM into your website will enable you to send communications to your leads, prospects, and customers and use all communication channels such as email, voice calls, text messages, and chat messages without leaving the hub. This enhances the interoperability of all your communication channels and further improves the monitoring of communication messages.
3. Live Chat Messaging
One of the most powerful tools in your digital car dealership CRM platform is your live chat messenger. This could be a standalone tool or integrated into your CRM software package. From the point of view of leads, customers, and prospects, this is a superbly convenient way to access your sales or customer service frontlines. This means they can easily get in touch with your people if they have questions or inquiries about your products or services.
Having a live chat customer service channel is a great way to engage your prospective leads and potential clients. It gives them the feeling that they can reach you within just a few clicks if they have questions about your cars or services. This is particularly true for those who offer 24-hour and multilingual services.
From your point of view, a live chat messaging service is a great way to engage your leads and keep them hot. Email is an effective way to engage, but it usually feels cold to send to an impersonal email address knowing you won’t get your response immediately.
Phone calls have a lot more warmth, but only if you do get hold of the lead or customer you’re trying to reach. Otherwise, you’ll end up leaving your message in the voicemail box if you’re lucky. If they didn’t set that up, you won’t get past the ringing sound if they never pick up your call.
With chat messaging, you can reply to your customers or leads as soon as you see their messages. There’s always a written record of what each said, and either you or the lead can pick up where you left off. More importantly, though, you and the lead can entertain the reasonable expectation that the person on the other end of the chat box can and should send a reply as soon as they see your last message. This is a great tool for asking follow-up questions, qualifying your leads, setting appointments for test drives, and follow-through messaging on sales requirements and documents.
4. Transparent Pricing
Another tool that you can use in your digital car dealership is to come up with a mechanism for transparent pricing. Aside from the make and quality of the cars, buyers are also primarily concerned with how much money they’d have to shell out to buy a car.
In the past, the only way for them to know the price would be to go to the car dealer and ask for a quote. There are car dealers who would, for their own reasons, prefer that they’d be able the breakdown of the price quote to the buyer in a face-to-face meeting. This helps avoid making the buyer feel it’s not worth it and to take the opportunity to upsell additional products and features to the buyer.
The best way to do this in a digital car dealership would be to put a usable price calculator on your website. Others would say they’d email the quote if a buyer could pick a make and model and state the basic features. But this won’t sit well with the emerging generation of online car shoppers. They tend to expect instant results than wait for an email which can take several days before they receive the information.
With a user-friendly calculator, you can provide dropdown menus. They only have to select the make and model they plan to buy. Make sure you run your own and avoid errors that could frustrate a prospective online buyer. You could also add more advanced calculator features for buyers to have some control over the features and amenities they can include. For example, you can add a dropdown for insurance coverages, trailers for pick-ups, sunroofs, entertainment systems, and global positioning systems (GPS) tracking devices and services.
5. Online Financing Options
Another thing that could be of immense help to your digital car dealership is to help your prospects or would-be buyers come up with a way to raise the money needed to buy the car they want. This is usually done after the test drive when the prospective buyer has already decided to buy the car.
The sales professional attending to the buyer usually hands a stack of paperwork to the buyer. These typically include the documents about the car purchase and the deed. It would also typically include the documents about car financing. This can be in-house financing provided by the auto dealership or external financing provided by a partner auto financing company.
The best way for a digital car dealership to do this would be to set up a usable financing calculator on their website. The calculator can include dropdown menus that would compute the applicable financing based on the make and model selected by the prospective buyer. They could come up with computations pegged against the terms of the financing.
Having an auto-financing calculator on your website could be a powerful tool. It can attract more leads and potential buyers. There are buyers who would feel great that there’s a digital car dealership company that lets them do their financing computations on their own. Make sure that the interest rates in your calculator are updated in real-time based on those offered by your partner banks and auto-financing companies.
The continuing trend of digital transformation for many businesses and the emerging culture of remote work from anywhere have combined to cause sweeping effects on the way that most enterprises do business and sell their products. Car buyers are no exception—more buyers have been entirely buying their recent car purchases online. The competition is now on building the digital car dealership giving this emerging market a customer experience that can match their demand for doing things the digital way.