3 Min ReadOctober 23, 2023

Dial Down the High-Pressure Sales Experience to Win Today’s Car Shoppers

Dial Down the High Pressure Sales Experience to Win Today’s Car Shoppers.

The verdict is in: Consumers enjoy shopping for cars on their smartphones and computers. So how can dealers embrace it?

Traditional approaches won’t work in this information age. One change that might be difficult to let go of is pushing consumers to show up at the dealership early in the buying process. Pressuring every lead to come into the store doesn’t cut it anymore. A better approach is to adapt the car buying journey to meet new consumer needs. This can be achieved with a two-point strategy.

  • Provide a convenient and transparent online experience that focuses on helping customers and answering every question so the natural next step is to come to the store.
  • Create complimentary in-store processes so customers can move seamlessly from digital to physical and back again.

An Assistive Online Experience

Research shows that new car buyers visit, on average, only two dealerships before making a purchase — a big departure from the days when people comparison shopped in the showroom rather than online. Today, the relationship between a dealership and a potential customer starts virtually.

Yet, when we talked with dealers about their outlook for the year, the top issue was providing a great customer experience. Digital retailing was a distant third priority in our 2023 Friction Points Study.

However, the two are inextricably linked. A dealer must have an assistive website equipped with tools to guide them through the process if they want to engage with buyers at the start of the car buying process and provide a positive experience. Customers want to select a vehicle, calculate a payment, get a trade-in value, and get help from the dealership when they need it. Make sure your website is up to the task because people want to make decisions before they come into the dealership.

Dealers can help build a relationship between the customer and the dealership by answering questions via the channel used by the shopper, providing more information when asked, and being transparent with information.

Far from pressuring people to come into the store, this type of consultative approach delivers the convenient and trusted experience that today’s shoppers demand.

Complementary In-Store Processes

Even though the majority of shoppers want to start the process online, they still want to come to the dealership. In fact, 91% of shoppers surveyed in the Friction Points Study bought from a dealer.

What they don’t want to do is spend hours at the dealership completing steps they already completed online. That’s why it’s important to have a seamless connection between your website and your physical location.

One way to assist in the online-to-offline sales process is to target areas that slow down decision-making and frustrate buyers. For example, more dealers are adopting technology that allows sales associates to digitally guide and help consumers in real time and through every step of the process.

The sales team can then pick up, in-store, exactly where they left off with the customer online. Other points of friction may include the trade-in payoff, helping buyers navigate service and protection plans, and contract execution via eSign.

Another strategy: Use the same digital retailing tools in-store that customers use online. Sales staff and customers can work side by side on deals and see the exact same information. The process is convenient, transparent and trusted.

Digital retail is here to stay. Future growth will depend on dealers embracing an assistive online experience and complimentary in-store processes to provide a seamless path to purchase for consumers online and in-store.

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CDK Global
By CDK Global

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