Turn times improved through digital retailingOne of the most frustrating portions of a customer’s car dealership experience is the amount of time it takes for a vehicle transaction to take place. For dealers, it can be frustrating to have a less-than-acceptable inventory turn time. Digital retailing can help both dealers and customers have a more ideal overall car buying experience. For customers, digital retailing means they can easily research all their options, and improve the amount of time it takes to negotiate a deal. For dealers, improving dealership websites with digital retailing tools can help them to acquire warm leads and qualified buyers, which in turn, can improve inventory turn times.

According to the 2017 Cox Automotive buyer’s journey study, among the customers that shopped online to purchase a vehicle, they spent 60 percent of their time searching online for a vehicle. On average, customers will spend an average of 15 hours in the process of looking for a vehicle to purchase. In addition, 21 percent of a customer’s total shopping time is spent at a dealership. However, the more time a customer spends at a dealership, the more overall customer satisfaction begins to decrease. Beyond 90 minutes, overall customer satisfaction begins to significantly decline. Customers who show up with money in-hand and ready to buy leave frustrated with the amount of time it takes to complete a transaction. For some dealers, it means that they just spent 90 minutes turning a buyer into a frustrated customer.

So how can digital retailing aid in improving dealership turn times and customer satisfaction?

Transparency

Many current customers are used to purchasing a variety of products online. They can research products extensively, and track where their purchase is at any moment. This proliferation of online shopping has fueled customer desire for this convenience in the automotive space. According to a Dealertrack study, 87 percent say the buying process needs to be more transparent. Customers want to know exactly what is needed to complete their car buying transaction, and they want the ability to research and gather information about different dealership options before they fill out paperwork to make a purchase.

Allowing customers to fill out purchasing options on dealership websites improves overall dealership transparency and customer satisfaction. According to the Dealertrack study, 71 percent of those surveyed don’t want to feel pressured to fill out paperwork. Digital retailing gives customers the ability to conduct research and complete purchasing activities in a space where they feel comfortable.

Allow customers to negotiate online

When negotiating in a dealership setting, customers are put-off by multiple handoffs, missed communication between dealership team members in addition to the amount of time it takes for a deal to be put together. Many customers are already comfortable making purchases online. However, many automotive customers will still want to negotiate a price for their vehicles. For customers that are comfortable, give them the opportunity to negotiate price on dealership websites. This can help save time when completing a vehicle purchase, and aid in improving overall customer satisfaction.

Bridge the gap between in-store and online

Customers will frequently expect a seamless online-to-in-store experience. If they complete part of the purchasing process online, they will often expect dealership team members to be able to immediately access and complete the transaction they initiated. Is your dealership website able to easily allow customers to complete purchasing actions online? If they fill out an application online, will it be simple to complete their transaction in-store?

Improving turn times with digital retailing

It is clear that current dealership strategy must include digital retailing tools. According to the Dealertrack study, 30 percent of shoppers who submit a lead through digital retailing tools ultimately purchase the vehicle. Digital retailing not only makes it easier for potential customers to find and view dealership inventory, but the additional ability to complete purchasing activities also means that more qualified leads are able to be pursued and potentially closed by dealership staff, which helps to improve dealership inventory turn times.