Dealerships are no strangers to change, especially now with all the vehicle innovation that’s being introduced, as well as the flexibility consumers now have with shopping and buying. Professionals in the automotive industry have learned that, to be successful, they need to be able to turn on a dime and adjust to whatever comes their way—and even better, those leading change and setting the curve for everyone else are the ones who will continue to come out on top. And what about the ones who are still sitting back waiting for change to slowly reach them? You’re going to want to go ahead and put on your turn signal, get into the passing lane, and leave them in the rearview mirror—because change is already here!
Fast and Furious
President of General Motors, Dan Ammann, said, “We see more change in the next five years than there’s been in the last 50.” Dealerships everywhere can expect the rapid pace of innovation to continue—and even accelerate—as more manufacturers, technology partners, and even financing partners get in on revolutionary changes that are reshaping the automotive industry. In 1990, when GPS navigation systems were introduced by Mazda, it was a big deal to think about saying good-bye to paper maps and relying on in-vehicle innovation to guide drivers to their destinations. Since then, however, technology—both in-vehicle and in general—has exploded onto the scene, delivering powerful solutions for both businesses and consumers. And it’s showing no signs of slowing down.
Your dealership is positioned to gain tremendously by standing out as a leader, especially during a time when some businesses are still dragging their feet and trying to do the same things they’ve always done. Consumers today are busy, and they’re looking for businesses that appreciate their time constraints, their need for efficiency, and their affinity for technology. Shoppers have heartily embraced changes in the marketplace, namely because their lives are made easier through innovation, so when you pave a path for your dealership to step up and embrace change, you’ll stand out as a business that’s interested in the needs of modern shoppers.
To get you started on the right track, check out a few things today’s consumers are interested in:
- Car shoppers want to save time. One of the biggest complaints customers have about the car-buying experience is the lengthy process. From start to finish, from vehicle selection to final paperwork, it can seem endless—especially if you’re the one on the waiting end of the process. As a dealership, work on ways to speed up processes, or at the very least, improve communication between steps to keep customers informed of what’s going on behind the scenes. Often, customers will be more patient just knowing the wheels are turning. Innovative platforms like AutoAlert’s Pando are helping modern dealerships improve collaboration and communication between every department, ultimately making processes more efficient and improving communication overall.
- Your customers want to know they’re getting the best deal. Often, they’ve already done their homework and are walking into your dealership prepared with the knowledge of what they want to buy and what they want to pay. You’ll do best with modern consumers when you offer straightforward pricing and haggle-free deals. Shoppers who are in a hurry want to get to the best deal quickly, and they already have an idea of what’s fair, so you’ll be doing your dealership a favor by reviewing your pricing strategy and opting to deliver the best deals early in your customer interactions.
- Online convenience. You may not be selling vehicles online, but there are several things you can do to ensure your customers’ online experience with your dealership is excellent. Since shoppers are accustomed to turning to online sources for a majority of their needs, you’ll want to make sure your website is appealing, responds quickly, and is updated regularly with the latest makes, models, and current prices. Today’s consumers are so used to speed and convenience, in fact, that a recent shopper study confirmed over half will leave a site that doesn’t open in 3 seconds or less. It’s also wise to consider offering shoppers time-saving options like being able to fill out preliminary financing or trade-in paperwork online. These experience-boosting efforts will pay off for your dealership in the long run!
- In a market that’s full of competition, you’ll stand out to consumers when you remember their shopping preferences. Personalization is an impactful way to let customers know you’re paying attention, and chances are, if you’re more quickly able to meet individual customer needs, you’ll have a better shot at keeping shoppers on your site and in your dealership. When it comes to online consumers, marketers have seen an average increase of 20% in sales when they deliver personalized experiences, and emails with personalized subject lines are 26% more likely to be opened. There’s a wealth of data available to dealerships, and when you leverage all the in-market consumer insights that are at your fingertips, you’ll end up closing more deals. Dealerships have discovered AutoAlert’s One-to-One Intelligent Marketing and are successfully gaining more consumer insights and reaching exactly the right customers at the right time—with the right information. When you invest in a powerful and comprehensive platform, you’ll know more than ever about in-market customers, and you can deliver the best solutions for every shopper need.
This month is all about leading change to lead the market. Your dealership will stand out as an innovative choice for modern shoppers when you step away from the crowd and embrace the changes that are already here. Consumers are looking for convenience, personalization, online shopping, and haggle-free pricing in every buying category, so when your dealership makes these solutions available, you’ll earn the trust and favor of shoppers who’ve been looking for ways to streamline their car-buying experiences for years.
Author: Joey Little
Joey Little serves as Director of Digital and Social Engagement for AutoAlert. An expert in customer experience management, he educates automotive professionals at speaking engagements across the country. With results-driven advice and proven industry knowledge, he assists dealerships in reaching their audiences and increasing business via their social platforms.