3 Stepping Stones to Successful Digital Retailing

To say the car-buying experience has seen significant changes in recent years would be an understatement. Customers can get a whole host of information about their purchase before ever setting foot on the lot or in a showroom. What’s more, car shoppers are demanding a digital aspect to this experience in increasing numbers—86% of consumers said they’d rather work with a dealer that offers online buying capabilities, according to a study from Root & Associates and CDK Global.

This means brands (and their dealerships) that don’t provide digital retailing could be seriously missing out.

Build the type of digital experience today’s consumers gravitate toward with these three stepping stones: a collection of digital retailing apps, integration with a robust digital messaging network and dedicated consumer advocates to offer concierge support.

1) Digital Retailing Apps

Help shoppers save time by offering the appropriate digital retailing apps, such as bank pre-approval, trade-in appraisals and support for digital paperwork as well as payment. When integrated correctly, digital retailing apps help consumers complete paperwork and processes online, giving valuable time back to them…and dealership sales teams.

2) Digital Messaging Network

The digital messaging network is the bridge that connects consumers with product specialists who help shoppers find information and complete digital retailing processes when it’s convenient for them. As customers shop and use digital retailing apps, they will surely have questions. Messaging provides a quick, simple way to reach out for assistance.

Messaging networks should provide live-person connections for customers—wherever they’re shopping, your brand or dealership is there. This level of engagement helps build relationships and ensure consistency of experience. (If it’s hard to get in touch with your team, it’s hard to believe any other claims of great service!)

In fact, the best digital messaging networks are those that can be deployed at any touch point within the digital retailing process. This includes brand sites, dealer websites, in apps, car search and other third-party platforms, as well as on Google and Facebook. In this way, no matter where a customer is in their car-buying journey, assistance and support is never out of reach.

The support provided by such a robust digital messaging network matches the level of service customers now demand:

  • According to the Root & Associates’ study, 53% of customers are very or extremely likely to complete their car purchase online, and only visit the dealership for a final review. The digital messaging network ensures customers are engaged during every step of this process, and understand how to use the necessary digital retailing apps.
  • Consumers prefer live messaging 83% of auto shoppers prefer to message with businesses about purchases. And 60% are more likely to purchase if they get help from a human being via messaging like chat.
  • Messaging networks now account for 73% of customer satisfaction, beating out email and phone combined (61 percent).

3) Dedicated Consumer Advocates

Finally, dedicated advocates who provide personal assistance for consumers complete the digital retailing picture and support the kind of concierge experience today’s car buyers want. From answering queries submitted through the digital messaging network to ultimately connecting shoppers with a dealer salesperson, these product specialists make the digital retailing process as efficient for the dealer team as it is for the consumer!

These 3 components can help you build a smart, effective approach to digital retailing. In fact, you can take a deeper look by downloading our guide: “A Playbook for Winning with Digital Retailing.”