When it comes to selling cars, the latest trend is toward a consumer driven experience, which relies heavily on digital retailing.

What is Digital Retailing?

Essentially, digital retailing is a way to market online to consumers based on their wants and needs. The experience should be 100 percent customer focused. According to measured market technology and promotions company PERQ, digital retailing is a very personalized thing, based on a specific business' goals.

It’s also true that the dealership experience remains an important piece of the auto buying process, just as much as the online experience. PERQ notes that true digital retailing should allow the customer to start and stop the process at their leisure; and when they’re ready to come back, these buyers should be able to pick up where they left off.

Adopting New Technology to Accommodate Consumer Trends

A recent survey conducted by eLEND Solutions shows a disconnect among dealers regarding digital retailing. The survey shows that 84 percent of dealers say they’re willing to adopt more digital retailing tools, yet the majority of that group defines digital retailing as simply posting inventory online. These same dealers report that more than 50 percent of their selling process remains paper-based.

The reality is that digital retailing is a much more in-depth process than these dealers may realize. A complete retail experience happens when the consumer is in total control of their shopping experience. These buyers are typically looking for an experience that allows them to understand what’s happening at each step, and to choose when they’re ready to make their next move – whether it be online or in person.

Dealers Definition of Digital Retailing Can Miss the Mark

digital retailingA deeper look into eLEND’s survey revealed how the participating dealerships define digital retailing:

  • 52% – Listing inventory on their own website, a third-party shopping site, or social media platform.
  • 19% – Letting customers begin the process online using “first pencil” tools, but excluding F&I product sales, contracts, and delivery.
  • 13% – Using a dealer-initiated, in-store sales platform or tool that uses web-based or smartphone technologies, or other touch-screen apps.
  • 10% – Facilitating the entire sales and F&I process online, including financing, transaction, and contracting of the sale.
  • 6% – Having a dealership website.

The dealers surveyed all say customer service is what sets them apart, and believe that digital retailing can be a key to having shorter transaction times. In fact, 90 percent of dealers strive for a transaction time under two hours, but less than half of those surveyed are achieving that.

“One thing that remains consistent over the years is the disconnect between the progressive, streamlined digital process dealers say they want to offer and their ability to deliver it,” said Pete MacInnis, CEO of eLEND Solutions. “Customers’ expectations are passing beyond dealerships ability to deliver on those expectations. The dealership ‘will’ is there – they overwhelmingly want a solution that connects the online and offline dots.”

Connecting the Dots for a Better Customer Experience

Bridging the gap between the digital retail experience and personal experience at the dealership can be challenging, but it doesn’t have to be. Auto Credit Express not only offers quality subprime leads, but the tools to streamline and manage those leads, as well.

Our LotPro dealer software can give your store the benefit of increased productivity. Features such as the Deal Excelerator can help you identify the most profitable units in your inventory, while our inventory management module simplifies the vehicle booking process.

LotPro also features an intuitive CRM. The Customer Module can help you manage and process subprime leads, walk-ins, and phone prospects to effectively shorten your subprime sales cycle. To maximize on your customer experience, Auto Credit Express also offers a full-service automotive BDC that can make first contact for you and get consumers in the door, so you can focus on selling cars.

Learn more about our LotPro software and all our products and services by calling us at 888-535-2277, or simply fill out our online contact form and we’ll be in touch with you.