Dealers and the New Art of the Transaction
Master convenience, manage what you can control, and be consistent to ensure a great customer experience and seamless transaction process
The transaction process at the dealership has evolved. We have gone from a process where you need to get people to a dealership to the reality of getting the dealership to the people.
There are three common problems for dealers during the traditional transaction process.
The first problem is customers want more convenience.
Customers are spending more than 60% of the purchase process online. Why? They’ve come to expect an Amazon-like retail experience with all transactions.
They prefer the convenience of filling out the needed forms at home and educating themselves about new features or optional products before they come to the dealership.
What do they not enjoy? Having to fill out those forms again because there is a disconnect between what’s online and what’s in the dealership . . . or having to wait around in the dealership as they get handed off through the different phases of the purchase process.
Lack of convenience can have a significant impact on your transaction. Unfortunately, in many cases the transaction does not end up happening, and out of frustration, your customers take their business to the competitor down the road.
Find ways to leverage technology and streamline your sales process to add ease and speed to the purchase.
The second problem is while consumers want convenience throughout the transaction, dealers are looking for more control.
Dealerships have only so much flexibility when it comes to pricing and rates to remain profitable. OEMs also have incentives and other pricing rules that can vary based on region.
Dealers need to balance a customer’s expectation against all the external factors surrounding pricing to make a successful transaction. That is not an easy task.
As costs continue to go up and the selling prices for vehicles do not, you need to look at where you can exert control. Where can you find efficiencies in the selling of the vehicle?
The third problem is a lack of consistency.
As previously mentioned, dealerships need to face the new reality of what consumers expect before they enter the dealership, when they get to the dealership, and while at the dealership.
They expect no surprises. They expect the shopping process to be seamless and trustworthy.
Consistency begins where the transaction process begins: advertising.
Marketing across many channels costs a lot of money, and if the channels aren’t working together, they are eating away at your dealership’s profits—and even worse, consumer trust.
Make sure your ads are consistent across Tier 1, Tier 2, and Tier 3, and that vehicle information, especially pricing, doesn’t vary as a shopper goes from your third-party listings to your website to your showroom. This is critical.
If you are not demonstrating consistency, your competitors are taking away your customers.
The actual transaction of a car deal shouldn’t be a burden for customers or dealers. By offering greater convenience, managing what you can control, and being consistent, you can ensure your customer has a great experience and your transaction is a seamless process.
Andy MacLeay is the Director of Digital Marketing at Dealer.com.