The automotive world is focusing on a different tactical approach to meet customer expectations and increase sales. While brick and mortar remain the dominant sales channel, the industry is hoping that digital can help drive additional sales.
The reason automotive companies are pushing mobile and digital:
- Easier buying and selling process for customers
- Existing customers are an easy channel to position service, vehicle, and upgrade offers, all in real-time
- Customers can search for cars more efficiently, based on search terms
- Social media is an indispensable part of the younger generation’s daily lifestyle
- An effective way to leverage dealers and their inventory to personalize service, such as home delivery
First and foremost, the buyers are continuing the trend of avoiding sales representatives. The perceived hassle of haggling is a long overdue obstacle that companies are trying to eliminate. Another reason for the switch to mobile is due to a consistent level of transparency. With user reviews and instant abilities to price match across the web, buyers are leaning more towards digital automotive purchases. Most experts say that nearly 80% of auto buyers shop online via third-party sites to make informed purchase decisions.
Perficient Research Reveals Flaws in the EV Customer Journey
We surveyed more than 1,000 EV and non-EV owners to learn about their car-buying preferences. The results showed issues with the current buyer journey that OEMs need to address to accelerate EV sales.
With the assistance of digital strategies and technology, a seller or a dealership can promote all their inventory to a wider audience, instead of solely hoping that the right customer will walk in finding the perfect car.
Many dealerships have been reluctant to make this sort of change in the past, but now dealers are seeing the growth of online dealerships and recognizing the need to upgrade their tactics and systems. For example, used car online dealership Carvana is expecting to sell 90,000 to 94,000 units by year-end — an increase of more than 100% year over year, according to the company’s latest earnings report.
The road beyond simple digital purchases
Joydrive, a newly launched online automotive retail marketplace is taking digital sales to the next level. Joyride wants consumers to order cars from their couch, arrange financing from their phones, and have the cars delivered to their driveways…without ever stepping foot in a dealership.
“While Joydrive is certainly bringing a unique service to the market, automotive manufacturers and dealerships have been toying with a variety of ideas that help improve the buying and lending experience for consumers,” said Tim Branham, an automotive industry expert at Perficient. We’re helping several big names, like Volkswagen, Toyota, GM Financial and others target consumers more effectively, and enable them to shop for vehicles, whether in-store or digitally. Every aspect of the retail transformation, from dealer systems to digital marketing, is inching us closer to consumer expectations.”