How Technology is Changing the Car Buying Business
Online Browsing – and Buying
Drawing buyers to the lot has always been a substantial hurdle to overcome as for auto dealers – perhaps now more than ever. Before the digital age, dealerships had to take calculated efforts to entice buyers to visit and purchase from their specific business instead of a competitor. This often meant print advertisements touting best-in-class customer service, the most up-to-date models of new vehicles, and a vast inventory from which buyers could select their next ride.
Now, auto dealers are faced with the reality of the Internet, where buyers do the majority of their shopping online. A good sales team and a top-notch customer service experience do little when buyers are coming in the doors.
Incentives for Buyers
In addition to a different car-buying process, auto dealers are facing more competition in the market overall. This means new incentives must be offered to prospective customers in order to win their business. Instead of swinging signs on the side of the road to gain visibility, some dealerships are offering a fully immersive experience online to entice buyers to come to the lot.
Social media ads, a user-friendly website, interactive calculators for auto financing, and other technology-infused tools are now the norm for dealerships. To keep up with the influx of solely online auto dealers, those who have been around for some time have to innovate to stay relevant and profitable.
Streamlining the Process
Auto dealers already put time and energy into meeting dealer licensing requirements, training, and operating in-line with regulatory guidance in order to do business. But, in this day and age, dealers must be willing to go that extra mile.
That means shifting traditional models of sales and service to encompass technological tools and resources that customers want. For instance, working to optimize a website, including the ability of mobile functionality, and creating systems for financing pre-approval are key to bringing in new customers on a consistent basis. Auto dealers may also work with a technology partner to implement inventory updates in real-time, or use the power of data integration to speed up and simplify buyer identification verification and financing requirements.