3 Min Read • September 1, 2023
Avoid Top Online-to-In-Store Modern Retail Mistakes
Are your sales managers and employees fumbling with buyers who prefer to do some of the purchase steps online? Or in the store, where online customers prefer to finalize deals? You may need to take a closer look at your team’s modern retail process if you want to win in a competitive market.
We’ve compiled the top online-to-in-store mistakes and how to avoid them before they cost you sales.
Mistake: Treating an Online Customer as a Lead
Too many dealerships continue to see modern retail as deal generation or enhanced lead generation. This mindset leads to frustrating conversations in-store where customers assume they’re going for a test-drive and to sign deal paperwork, yet the sales associate is still trying to “sell” them a vehicle. That hurts the experience.
You can avoid this mistake if you train sales staff to ask customers if they’ve done some of the buying steps online. Then immediately use the CRM (or digital retail tool if you use it in the showroom) to see all activity and move forward in the deal where the customer left off.
Mistake: Asking for Documents the Customer Already Uploaded
Modern retail tools save time in the store by allowing customers to scan and upload documents such as a driver’s license, pay stubs, current vehicle registration and more. This will prevent the need for customers to duplicate paperwork they already completed.
You can avoid this mistake if you review daily sales appointments and cross-check those with customer records before your doors open. This way you’ll know what customers have already provided before they come to the showroom.
Mistake: Providing Inconsistent Numbers
Do customers get a different payment in-store than they saw online? You can avoid this mistake if you test-drive your monthly calculator and use the same modern retail tools in-store that customers use online. This will ensure both parties have the same information, which builds credibility and trust in the deal.
Also, remember that third-party sites have generic calculators that won’t give customers payments specific to your dealership. Notify customers of this discrepancy and encourage them to access your site directly during email, text, and chat conversations.
Buyers care about hitting the perfect monthly payment amount. That’s why your modern retail solution needs to offer penny-perfect calculations. The final online price must include state and local taxes, fees, and F&I products.
Mistake: Pushing F&I Products the Customer Declined
It’s a good idea to introduce F&I into the sales process early and often. A recent CDK Global study found that 61% of consumers spend over 30 minutes waiting for the F&I Manager to finish the sale.
You can avoid this mistake by giving customers the information they want upfront so they can make informed choices and come to the dealership without so many questions. The photo carousel on a vehicle inventory page is the ideal place to insert a slide with a list of recommended F&I products and services for that vehicle. Link each product to a page that includes
- Downloadable brochure or explainer video
- Description of the product
- How it works
- Link to a third-party source that explains pros and cons
Mistake: Confusion Over In-Stock Vehicles
There’s a shift underway, from selling stock to selling pipeline and special orders, which may be the new normal even when inventory rebounds. It’s a good idea to include a vehicle display page (VDP) for virtual inventory on your website to drive leads and SEO, but confusion can set in if it’s unclear which vehicles are virtual or in stock.
You can avoid this mistake if you update search results pages with a Build/Locate tag next to models that aren’t in stock. Include virtual, new inventory on third-party lead sites to help drive leads to your CRM.
Don’t let modern retail mistakes cost you a sale. Review your sales processes as well as your online tools and tweak where necessary. The reward will be more sales and a better customer experience.