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Digital Retailing and Engagement Need to be a Dealership’s Top Priority in 2021


There is a lot of competing noise in the automotive industry in 2021 in regards to best practices and what dealerships need to gain a competitive edge. One of the loudest and most persistent “voices” demanding attention is the need for digital retailing and a digital retailing tool.


Digital Retailing Tools have been around for many years, but were catapulted into importance with the pandemic and the need for more and better virtual sales options. Where some dealerships may have been holding out on adoption of such tools, a digital retailing tool is now commonplace on most websites and the options in tools have grown exponentially as providers saw the opportunity to gain market share in a growing sector. 


But just putting a widget on a website will not ensure success in this area nor will it produce an ROI for the tool. There needs to be processes in place for every dealer that will help secure the success of a digital retailing tool.


Here are the top 3 tips for a successful and robust Digital Retailing Tool.


  1. Branding and Marketing


Finding the right DR tool for you and your dealership is important, but it is not the only step in creating a successful “Buy Online” message. Once you have the tool set up correctly on your site, you need to discuss how you will brand and market your process to the public. This starts with a discussion of what the “Buy Online” process looks like for your customers and internally. 


Brainstorm with your team (if you have not already done so) and walk through the process of what it looks like for an online customer. Remember, you are meeting them where they are, not creating a path that you think will be best. Discuss what it looks like to start the process, take a few steps in the online process, or complete an entire virtual deal.


Once this is figured out, you can market your process via Paid Search, Paid Social, Google My Business, and your website. 


  1. Education


This is one of the most important aspects of the Digital Retail world we live in. In automotive, we have become accustomed to adding widgets to our websites and assuming that they will work and that customers will want to and know how to use them.


We know this is not true, and that we have to educate customers on the solutions we provide for them and how to use them.


Educating the customer means taking all the information you brainstormed when developing your marketing and branding strategy, and using that to teach your customers how easy it is to do business with you. One of the first things you should do is create a landing page on your website that walks the customer through the entire experience. Highlight all of the ways a customer can interact with you virtually, from your digital retailing tool, to FaceTime calls, to online credit apps, to at home deliveries--highlight how you make it safe, secure, and easy to business virtually and face-to-face. Because there are some customers who will want to start the process online, and then come to the dealership to complete the transaction. And then there are some who will want to do everything online and have you deliver the car. 


Meet your customer where they are and let them know all of their options.


  1. Engagement


With all these elements in place, the final and most important component is engagement with the customer. With fewer “walk-ins” and more calls, chats, texts, and emails, it is critical that you have a team who not only understands the importance of quick and quality engagements, but also knows how to talk to automotive customers, answer questions, and set appointments. Digital Retailing customers need to be handled differently than a regular form-fill lead. They have done research, taken steps online, and did all of this to save time. 


Your team needs to ensure they are picking up where the customer left off, and not making them start from square one. How frustrating is it when you are talking to a customer service agent and tell them the issue, and then they transfer you to someone else and you have to retell everything you just stated? Don’t let that be your customer’s experience. 


Hire quality BDC agents who know how to talk with your customers, give them the information they need, and guide them through the process (whether online or in-store).


If you do not have a BDC team and are looking for automotive specific US based agents who know how to engage customers and set appointments, we are here to help!



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