Consumers are in constant search of information – before, during, and after visiting a store. It’s no secret the growth of the internet has affected the way businesses communicate with consumers during the buying process. Being able to go online from the safety and security of one’s home has become more of an expectation as entire industries are moving online. Both sides of the exchange must now reevaluate what is most important to them when it comes to making the sale or the purchase. How do we connect the dealership to the consumer, and vice versa?
When we look into the causes and effects of the evolving purchasing process, there are three things to keep in mind:
- The expectations of the consumer.
- Responses from retailers.
- How dealerships adapt their methods to marry online experiences with in-store processes.
When it comes to consumer expectations, the bottom line is satisfaction with their buying experience. People know the car buying experience for its long waiting periods and piles of paperwork. Two out of three shoppers are unsuccessful in finding the information they need in the store. When they’re online, consumers are in control of their experience. And when 72% of people in the U.S. consider themselves accomplished online shoppers, why would consumers want to rely on others to get what they want?
To respond to this, dealerships must make it their priority to create an easy transition from one aspect of the buying process to the next, eliminating redundant steps. Retailers in other industries, like electronic, grocery, and clothing stores, have embraced the digital age and make their products and services available both online and in-store. Some dealerships are also moving in this direction, offering some parts and in the rare case, all of the buying process, available online. But, many dealerships fall short when trying to bridge the gap between what consumers do online and their experience in the store.
It’s not about reinventing the wheel; it’s about getting this new wheel to fit on the existing car. Dealerships will always be there to sell vehicles to consumers, but they must be aware of the changing industry as it moves towards an era of electronic convenience. Dealerships and the online world are not competition, actively working to take away business from one another. Consumers still want to experience in-store offerings from the dealership, like the test drive and physically seeing the car; the online world is just offering something different and, in some ways, better – providing an easier way to research information and giving the consumer some feeling of control throughout the purchase process. Dealerships must take this opportunity to integrate the old with the new.
Learn more about marrying online and in-store consumer experiences on Tuesday, August 9 at 3pm in the session, “Clicks to Bricks — Transitioning the Online Buyer into the Dealership,” at Digital Dealer 21, presented by Ed Pontis, Director of Product Planning at Reynolds and Reynolds.
Author: Ed Pontis
Ed Pontis is the Director of Product Planning, CRM and Variable Operations Solutions, for Reynolds and Reynolds. Ed and his team are responsible for the product direction of all Reynolds CRM and variable operations solutions, including Contact Management, docuPAD®, Desking, vehicle management, and more. Prior to joining Reynolds and Reynolds, Ed was a director with a large international consulting firm. There, he was part of the CRM practice focused on the consumer product industry. Ed brought with him some of the leading practices from these other consumer segments to Reynolds’ CRM solutions.