It’s a good time to be in the automotive industry. Research shows that car sales are projected to steadily rise through 2020. That upward trend has been consistent for the past several years, with 2016 ending with about 75.24 million cars sold internationally — compared to 68.65 million just several years ago.
However, other trends are showing that consumers are steadily trading the “kicking tires” experience with an online experience. According to a study by Accenture, a significant number of consumers — 75 percent — would be open to buying a car online, from start to finish.
That means auto dealers need to better optimize their websites to provide consumers the experience that engages them — long before they test drive their new vehicle.
Here are 3 upgrades in dealer software solutions that you need now to get more competitive in a challenging digital marketplace:
In most cases, consumers trade in a vehicle as part of the car buying process. If you’re going to focus on the trade experience, be sure to make it easy for them to get the most accurate information related to their purchase. Additionally, avoid providing a generic response through traditional trade-in tools.
One Kentucky-based dealership that used an advanced trade-in appraisal tool was able to significantly boost its trade-in leads 5 times over its previous rate within a two-month period. Using PERQ Web Engagement, Marshall Dry Ridge Toyota was able to get more leads based on numerous interactive experiences, including trade and special offers.
With more details gathered from those sources, the dealership was able to get more insights on its leads, including where the traffic was coming from and whether consumers were ready to buy “now” or in the future.
“If it wasn’t for PERQ Web Engagement, those leads would have been lost without them giving us their contact information,” said Kevin Ireland, IT/Marketing Manager for the dealership.
You need leads… quality leads, of course. But all too often, your sales reps are struggling with closing sales because they don’t have the quality data they need to have meaningful follow-ups with your prospects.
That’s likely because you’re still relying on static forms that simply request name and contact information — with little more to give your team insights on who your prospects actually are. This represents another opportunity for an upgrade with your dealer software solutions.
Generic lead generation forms will do little to entice web visitors to leave their contact information with you. Take it up a notch with interactive experiences that help to engage your prospects with quizzes, questionnaires, and other interactions that will allow you to gather more data. All that data will then allow you to deliver a more personalized experience based on an individual’s needs and interests.
Here’s yet another dealer software solution that likely requires an upgrade. When a prospect reaches this point in the buying cycle, where they’re seeking financing information and options, it’s a good sign they’re close to making a purchase.
Make sure that your financing process is seamless, engaging and responsive. It should also be integrated with other aspects of your digital solutions. The more personalized your interactions with the consumer, the more likely they are to trust their car buying decision with you.
Consumer buying habits are changing fast. The automotive dealer that is able to quickly adapt and provide the best experience online will be among the ones that succeed.