Time was when a prospect walked onto a dealership’s blacktop, the salesperson who took the up also took control. Those days are gone!
In today’s world, a successful dealership is a dealership that puts its customers at the forefront. It’s so much more than supply chain, or analytics, or attribution. It’s about reimagining every part of your business to focus on delivering personal, relevant, compelling customer experiences.
This attention to customer experience will become increasingly more crucial as dealerships look further into the future – but getting there won’t be easy. It’s a brave, new world, and dealerships need to invest in a wide range of technologies and capabilities if they hope to keep up and stay relevant.
Beyond today’s data and technology hot buttons, the dynamic shift in automotive retail is being driven by the transfer of control to the consumer – how they shop, buy, and the experience they demand. This will ultimately determine the winners and losers of the next 5 years!
Most consumers dislike the traditional car dealership experience. In fact, three-quarters said that “if given the opportunity, they would consider making their entire car-buying process online, including financing, price negotiation, back-office paperwork and home delivery.”
A dealership needs to understand its customers down to the individual level to truly deliver a personalized digital experience. For this, data is key! So, how do you reinvent your entire sales model and prepare for the future when your days are consumed with managing your current business?
Start with a simple, 4-Point Plan
1. Build a complete customer view
64% of B2B high-tech marketers see a holistic customer view as a prime digital marketing strategy. But the automotive industry is still very traditional, relying on their sales force to gather customer insights. If dealers marry their sales team’s insights with data gathered from across all departments, including web, analytics, CRM and DMS, they can build a complete customer view known as a buyer persona, and integrate it across all their marketing.
2. Develop engaging content
In order to develop relevant marketing and sales content that creates an emotional connection, dealers need to understand the entire customer journey. Predictive analytics, purchase intent, audience definition and look-alike modeling data can generate a unified view of your customer so you can deliver the right experience at the right moment.
3. Meet your customers where they are
Digital retailing is driving big changes and major disruption all across the traditional retail environment. Website widgets, car buying and financing apps, and new retailing models that bypass franchise dealers – these innovations and more place the onus directly on dealerships to accept that the landscape is changing and transforming. Successful dealers will embrace and incorporate these emerging technologies into their business models, all of which have one aim in mind: Make their customer’s experience simple, easy, frictionless and satisfying.
4. Equip your team with real-time analytics
Dealerships must improve their data-driven marketing strategies in order to stay competitive. Research shows that dealerships still make limited use of real-time analytics, and that’s a mistake. Operationalizing data to converge the in-store and online environments in real time is the key to improving the entire dealership sales and service experience.
The high you get from being a successful dealership is almost addictive. Whether it comes from increased sales, new customers, or higher loyalty, it’s a high you want to achieve again and again. But to get there dealerships must recognize that in today’s omnichannel marketing environment, they have to deliver targeted, personalized, authentic customer experiences at the speed of light. Ultimately, dealerships must evolve past their legacy systems and start investing in digital technology. Being good at just marketing, or just optimization or just analytics used to mean a competitive edge. But not anymore. Today’s dealerships need a well-integrated platform if they hope to deliver consistently great customer experiences in real time.
You can learn more about how to capitalize on the convergence of the online and in-store disruption while delivering the ultimate customer experience by attending Sean Marra’s session at the Digital Dealer 24 Conference & Expo, “How to Capitalize the Convergence of the Online and In-Store Disruption While Delivering the Ultimate Customer Experience.”
Author: Sean Marra
Sean Marra launched his first business at 16, and sold his first company by 19. At the age of 25, he co-founded BigGross.com, a web-based automotive sales, advertising and marketing company, which he grew to over $100 million in sales. BigGross.com is now respected as one the most innovative automotive advertising companies in the industry. Sean then went on to co-found ePush! in 2009, a behavioral data and marketing company, which was honored in the 2014 and 2015 Inc 500 as one of America’s fastest growing companies. Sean is still the CEO and CMO of ePush! and continues to innovate and disrupt the automotive data, marketing and advertising space.