Dealer Imran Ahmed using digital retailingWith the convenience and safety that comes from shopping online, it’s no surprise that used car buyers are increasingly gravitating to dealerships who offer digital options. Whether it’s viewing inventory or completing their car purchase virtually, car shoppers are engaging with some form of digital retailing 50 to 60 percent of the time. Independent dealers should take note and look into creating a positive, intuitive online experience for these customers. Here are some tips for using digital retailing to create that better customer experience.

  1. Create an Intuitive Website – If you’re not posting inventory on your website, you’re missing out on a huge opportunity. On average, customers spend 64% of their shopping time online before coming into a dealership. Make sure that you’re providing multiple photos and detailed information on each vehicle and that you’re using your dealership’s social media channels to showcase your inventory.
  2. Embrace Customer Self-Penciling – If you really want to hone in on getting your inventory in front of the right customers, you should include an online calculator on your website. When car buyers are interested in purchasing a vehicle, they want to make sure they’ll be able to afford the monthly payments. Making a tool that helps calculate payment information easily accessible to potential customers will help them understand what they can afford before coming into your dealership.
  3. Make the Approval Process Easy – Customers are always looking for ways to save time, so allowing them to complete as much of the paperwork digitally beforehand can help set you apart from your competition. Providing them with online credit applications and paperwork they’re able to fill out electronically will save you both time and create an added layer of protection against sensitive information potentially ending up in the wrong hands.
  4. Adapt to Your Customer’s Requests – Even if you make your entire sales process digital, not all car buyers are going to want that kind of experience. While they may love the convenience of shopping online, when it comes time to decide if they’re ready to make a purchase, they may still want to come into your dealership and test drive the vehicle. It’s important to remain flexible to everyone’s preferences to cast the widest net possible.
  5. Focus on the Final Touches – Whether it’s delivering a vehicle purchase to their home, providing them with a follow up online survey or offering them a discount on their first maintenance appointment, make sure you’re providing a high level of customer service through the end of the sales process. While they may not require your assistance once the purchase is complete, this may be your last chance to leave an impression, so make sure it’s a positive one.

Even if the majority of your business is still completed at your dealership location, by creating a convenient online sales experience for your customers, you’re going to attract more potential serious car buyers. By focusing on creating a streamlined approach with a high level of both online and in-person customer support, you’re putting your dealership in the best position to capture as much business as possible, regardless of the consumer’s buying preferences.