In this day and age of online sales and digital retailing, showrooms are still a vital piece of the car-buying journey. While it certainly feels like the conversations and perception around the industry do not support this argument… The data does.
A Harris Poll survey conducted by Urban Science earlier this year revealed that 93% of all buyers had concerns about buying a vehicle entirely online. It also found that visiting more than two dealerships prior to purchase was the norm, especially for millennials.
Consumers have plenty of sources for getting general questions about a desired vehicle answered. Most get their fix while researching their car online, going so far as having a guaranteed trade-in price and financing locked in. However, the dealership is and will always be the only place a consumer can work with a subject matter expert, see firsthand a vehicle’s convenience features and truly experience how it will fit and perform within their lives.
There are many paths to the dealership. Many of today’s customers come in having done their research and basically ready to buy after a quick test drive. Others might come in “just looking” and needing more guidance through the sales process. Regardless of whether a customer travels through 90% of their journey online and only 10% in-dealership, or 10% online and 90% in-dealership, the experience they have on their visit will determine whether the sale is yours or ultimately goes to another dealer down the street. Just remember the Harris Poll Study. Showroom visits have risen, not fallen, and it’s because there is a disconnect between the buyer’s online to in-dealership experience.
The instant a customer walks through your showroom door can make all the difference. That well-researched buyer has familiarized themselves with your dealership as well. They chose you, but that also creates an obligation on your part to know who they are. This person should not be frustrated by having to repeat everything they have done so far. There should be a clear continuation between the buyer’s online and in-person interactions with your dealership.
A digital appointment board right at the receptionist station immediately lets that customer know you value their time, are ready to work for them, and are excited to take care of their business. Contrast that with someone coming in, introducing themselves, waiting on a salesperson then getting the usual pitch like they know nothing about what they are looking at. Which approach do you think would yield more sales? Which one ties that online experience to your showroom?
In addition, digital signage welcome messaging introduces that buyer to your dealership in style. It allows your dealership to sync up the messaging that you have shared with the consumer during their online experience. Enhance that appointment board with information about your dealership like current offers, your “brand promise” message and community involvement. That customer immediately has multiple reasons to feel comfortable in your dealership and want to do business with you. You are immediately building a foundation of trust with the customer and that helps validate why they chose to visit your dealership to purchase their next car or truck.
Don’t forget, customers visit 2.4 dealerships on average prior to making a purchase. Isn’t your goal for them to only visit one? You certainly do not want that customer to leave and defect to another dealership or brand. Whether they have done their research and decided to do business with you online, or they are planning to just shop around and see what’s out there, let them know what it means to you that they chose your dealership for this huge purchase as soon as possible, and create an environment that helps them to make the decision to trust you with their purchase decision.
Dealerships will always be vital to the car-buying process. Make sure yours is always reminding your guests how important they are too. You only get one shot to make a lasting first impression. Find out how you can create an immersive, consistent customer experience from online to in-dealership, and from delivery to their service visits and beyond, by visiting www.abnetwork.com.
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