Shaping the Buying Experience is the Auto Dealership's Main Advantage
Constant change is something those involved in the auto industry are used to — auto dealerships understand this more than most. Dealerships are asked to bear the brunt of these changes, as they constantly adapt to stay relevant in the marketplace. OEM incentives, government regulations, changing consumer expectations, advancing technologies, and consolidations – are some of the main change agents involved.
When it comes down to it, shaping the buying experience is the auto dealership’s main advantage. Marketing and converting sales is something dealerships have always been good at, otherwise they’ll find themselves eaten up and absorbed by those that are. What this means for dealerships in today’s modern technologically advanced world is, once again, adapting to survive.
Future Trends in the Auto Industry
Autos are starting to reflect the IoT transformation, as driverless cars, 3D laminated glass, advanced safety aids, entertainment display screens, and integrated web-based smart cars, begin to more prominently emerge on the scene. Ultimately, technologically advanced autos are driving up the cost for OEMs and reducing profit margins for everyone down the line.
Environmental regulations and green expectations from consumers are also changing how autos are designed and manufactured. While autos continue to become more expensive to manufacture and relationships between OEMs, suppliers, and dealership networks constantly shift, auto dealership owners are hoping profitable margins and consumer demand will remain constant in the future.
Focusing on the Main Advantage
At the end of the day, the auto dealership is the one that moves the autos into the hands of the consumer. How they accomplish this, largely, has to do with how they shape the buying experience, which encompasses their marketing and sales efforts.
Effective marketing has always involved reaching a target audience where they’re at, which in today’s digital environment means developing an online presence; not just any online presence will do though, as cloud and mobile computing technologies continue to advance and change consumer expectations.
Mobile apps with push notifications, pre-approvals online, real-time inventory, easy to navigate and use website formats, interactive inventory website displays, and mobile accessibility, are some of the innovative tactics and tools auto dealerships are using to attract online shoppers for sales conversions. Basically, the buying experience starts online, accomplishing the bulk of the sales and F&I processes, thus, reducing on-site services to: test drives, ID verification, and finalization with automated information.
In other words, shaping the buying experience in today’s auto industry means: focusing on adopting digital tactics and tools for marketing, sales, and F&I processes. The vast majority of auto consumers will always desire to test drive and physically check out their vehicle of choice at the dealership, which means the buying experience needs to seamlessly transition from online shopping to on-site finalization processes.
Streamlining On-Site Sales and F&I Processes
Shaping the buying experience ends with streamlined on-site sales and F&I processes. An article on Forbes called: “Do We Need Car Dealers And Used Car Salesman In The Future?”, written on May 9th, 2016 by Sarwant Singh, explains what this may mean in the future:
“The brick and click dealership store itself needs to at least meet, if not exceed, the best high-street experience. The physical store portfolio needs to tick a few 21st-century boxes, like using digital technology (screens, tablets, holography, simulators and power walls instead of cars on display) and using augmented or virtual reality experiences.”
While holograms and virtual reality are yet to be standard on-site tools for dealerships, the use of mobile devices and SaaS services are beginning to be. For instance, MobiLot™ from eLEND Solutions gives dealerships the ability to facilitate sales processes remotely with their mobile devices.
Essentially, dealerships will improve the buying experience by reducing paperwork and wait time during sales and F&I processes; this can be accomplished with eLEND Solutions SaaS products, which include: CreditPlus, ID Drive™, and MobiLot™.
Optimizing the shopping experience, then streamlining the sales and F&I processes online and on-site with innovative digital tools, will improve the buying experience and give auto dealerships the advantage they need going into the future. If interested in learning more please contact us today.
Author: Pete Maclnnis
Author Bio: Pete brings over 37 years of experience in automotive finance and technology as Founder and CEO of eLEND Solutions™. Founded in 2003 as DealerCentric, eLEND Solutions™ is an automotive FinTech company specializing in online and in-store digital credit, identity and finance solutions designed to create a more efficient and profitable vehicle purchase process for the retail automotive industry.