Before the pandemic, shopping online was a fairly common occurrence for most of us. We’ve all purchased items from online businesses and taken advantage of Amazon’s gigantic selection of products and quick shipping.
However, the past year has really challenged us to seek even more of our products and services online. It challenged businesses to become more innovative to offer their consumers a digital option, and many people tried to take as much of their lives virtual as possible.
And you know what?
Consumers liked it.
This preference for online shopping has extended into unexpected spaces, including the automotive industry.
If you are still relying on a brick-and-mortar dealership to compete, you’re already slipping behind. If you’re not careful, another company will swoop in and clean up your business.
If you want your dealership to remain competitive, then it’s time to go digital. In this blog, we will show you the sales and service tools you need to take your dealership online so you can meet your customers where they are.
What is a Digital Dealership?
With a Digital Dealership, you are bringing the dealership to the consumer. Your physical showroom isn’t the only place people will go to purchase a new car. Even more so, your physical storefront is not where someone is coming when they want to purchase parts or schedule a service appointment.
Whether someone is shopping for a new vehicle, parts, or wants to book a service appointment, your Digital Dealership can let them do that from wherever they are.
Going digital isn’t just about selling online; it helps make more in-person sales, too!
Benefits of a Digital Dealership
As more of our lives are going virtual, some dealerships have already begun to create a digital retailing space. The dealerships that have gotten a jump on this are experiencing massive growth that helps them crush their competition.
A digital dealership means you don’t have to rely on the foot traffic that comes to your physical location. Plus, the extra online traffic can help drive revenue and success for the entire dealership. Here are some benefits you get from going digital.
Increase Vehicle Sales
With sites like Carvana popping up and driving a lot of success, dealers should be looking for ways to stay competitive and gain more business. The biggest takeaway we can get from Carvana is that people will and do buy vehicles online.
And your dealership should, too.
Not only does offering new and used vehicles for purchase online help deliver more business to your digital dealership, but it also brings more people into your physical showroom. Did you know that in most cases your consumer’s journey starts online? Look at these crazy statistics about vehicle shoppers and their online activity:
- 14+ hours spent researching online
- 76% of buyers search vehicle information online
- Average auto consumer visits 4+ websites before purchase
Sell More Auto Parts and Accessories
If you are trying to sell parts and accessories, sticking to a brick-and-mortar-only strategy is like being offered easy money and turning it down. In 2020, parts eCommerce became a $16B+ business, and if you are not selling online, you are missing out.
Last year, parts departments that began selling online with RevolutionParts saw a 27% increase in revenue.
Right now, most dealerships only offer a parts order form on their website, and they rarely bring in much business. The truth is, most people will not fill out an order form. They want to be able to choose their part and checkout without having to wait for a response from the parts department.
When most customers reach the order form, they will leave and search for another site willing to sell them the part online. This means you just lost your customer.
Schedule More Services
The internet has changed the way we all do things. Today, consumers are using it to research information to make better decisions about where they get their vehicles serviced. Dealerships must go to where their customers are, and right now, they are online.
Providing the consumer with digital options to get information and estimates, schedule a service appointment, or get updates on their vehicle in your service lane, can:
- Build trust with your customers
- Increase profits (for the whole dealership!)
- Boost efficiency
All this means your dealership makes more money!
Vendors for Digital Dealership Solutions
Creating a digital dealership doesn’t need to be complicated. There are several digital tools specifically made for all the departments in your dealership, from the sales floor to the parts department.
Here is a list of digital tools available as you consider taking your dealership online.
This eCommerce solution offers end-to-end solutions that empower your consumer to ‘buy from home’ at their convenience. Digital Motors provides your customer a flexible online journey, where they can easily find the vehicle they want and complete their entire purchase online.
The Express Storefront from Roadster helps you provide a great customer experience to consumers looking to purchase a vehicle, whether online or at your physical dealership. When customers choose to purchase their vehicle online, Roadster’s Express Storefront makes it easy for them to find their vehicle by offering extensive search filters and vehicle recommendations.
They also get upfront pricing with the ability to choose convenient payment options, value their trade-in, add service and protection plans, accessorize, and finalize their purchase. The consumer will also be able to schedule a delivery or pick-up to complete their shopping experience.
With Tagrail, you can showcase your inventory and allow customers to purchase their vehicles online. When a consumer lands on your site, they can easily search your inventory and shop by payments, making it easy to find a vehicle that matches their budget.
You are also able to interact with your customers in real-time to assist them during their purchase. For customers who prefer to stop into your showroom, Tagrail can provide kiosks that will enable them to streamline the buying process for a better in-store customer experience.
Finance and Insurance (F&I)
RouteOne offers dealers vehicle financing solutions with a credit application system that connects you with over 1,700 finance sources and more than 200 Dealership Service Providers. Their solution helps streamline the financing process, from filling out their credit application to eContracting and eSigning, to provide a great digital retail experience. Once the customer is approved for a line of credit and all documents have been signed, the documents are stored in a centralized, automated, and secure location.
Taking your F&I services to the next level is easy with Darwin Automotive. They provide dealers with solutions aimed at increasing F&I add-ons after the sale and reducing chargebacks. By utilizing big data and predictive analytics, Darwin Automotive gives your customer a custom buying experience suited to their individual financial situation and vehicle needs.
The DealerTrack UniFI system helps your F&I team streamline the deal-closing process and provides consumers with contracts that can be easily generated for both retail and lease deals. You can also provide your consumer with personalized product recommendations through this intuitive software.
Text2Drive offers your customers a simple yet innovative way to communicate with your dealership through a powerful text messaging platform. Now you can send your customers coupons, service reminders, and recall notifications automatically. Your customers can also use texting to schedule a service or pick up, receive invoices, and easy checkout. Having a simple two-way communication between you and your customers means more vehicles in your service lane and fewer missed appointments.
Bring your service lane online with Xtime and empower your customers to make appointments online, access text communication, track services, and complete an easy online checkout. They also provide solutions to help you recapture declined services and bring your customer back to your service department for those recommended services.
AutoPoint provides a service solution that helps your customers make appointments and easily approve or decline services in real-time. They also help your dealership process appointments, interact with customers and deliver inspection reports and recommendations digitally.
Parts and Accessories
If you want to sell more parts, you need to be selling online. With RevolutionParts, you can easily sell auto parts through multiple digital channels, including your dealer site, a branded parts web store, Amazon, and eBay. Your parts catalog is readily available to online parts shoppers, including wholesale customers.
And, whether you are new to eCommerce or have been selling online for a while, RevolutionParts offers full training and support to its customers.
With fast Local Delivery, your local customers will have the “Amazon-like” experience they’ve come to expect–even when shopping on your dealer site and web store. This means they will be able to order their part and receive it in as little as an hour. This can help improve the customer experience so you can sell more parts and increase revenue. Parts departments using RevolutionParts see an average 27% increase in revenue, and an average of $8.75 for every dollar spent on digital marketing, which only costs $300 a month, plus 3% of sales.
SimplePart is an eCommerce platform that helps parts departments sell online and connect with DIY-ers. They will help your parts department set up a web store and add inventory to eBay for an additional fee. Dealers who use SimplePart see an average of $5.60 for every dollar they spend on online digital marketing, which costs $500 a month plus 15% of sales. They also offer training and support for an additional fee.
If you want to sell more accessories online and improve the customer experience, Insignia Group provides an innovative way to do so. Their solution allows customers to virtually view accessories right on their vehicle. All the customer needs to do is select their vehicle model and the accessory they’re interested in and instantly see a preview of how it looks. This feature is available for online shoppers and on a kiosk right on your showroom floor.
If you want to stay competitive as the world becomes more digital, you need to learn how to adapt. With new innovative digital dealership solutions, it is easier than ever to provide your customer with easy, convenient, and demanded alternatives to your physical storefront.
Get started today by implementing digital solutions in your parts department and partnering with RevolutionParts. Schedule a demo today and see how easy it is to create your digital dealership.