The majority of consumers want to trade and interact with retailers that are not necessarily the cheapest, but make their lives easier, delegates at Automotive Management Live were told. These consumers want to interact in real time, and seek immediate responses where a promised response “within an hour” seems like an eternity.
Citing research by Salesforce and CDK, Nick Horton, managing director of Profit Box, the training partner for the web-based solutions provider eDynamix, challenged dealers on how equipped their businesses were to satisfy the ‘now’ consumer.
“The automotive industry suffers in comparison to Amazon and Apple and their slick efficiency,” said Horton.
His suggested solutions included:
Online bookings – complete the process, including booking a courtesy car, while providing the dealer the opportunity to improve customer service and business opportunities, for example offering a car valuation when the customer is at the dealership.
Online service plan – customers can receive a quote and soon will be able to execute the plan through the eDynamix platform
Follow-up reminders for MOT and service work, with the consumer also invited to reconsider the red and amber work they declined previously, and then book an appointment
Use video to give the technician a voice in a two-minute commercial video that lands in the customer’s palm, creating the trust, confidence and value sufficient to convince them to buy now
The Automate app eDynamix is launching in quarter one 2018 offering 32 channels of motor-related information including VOSA-sourced MoT history, service booking, vehicle health checks, dealer retail stock lists and telematics function.
“It will mean customers can fulfil their needs instantly and without speaking to you.”
The General Data Protection Regulation, due to come into force on May 25, also reflects consumers’ wishes for greater control and self-service by giving them more control over how dealers use their data.
Make add-on products integral to digital offers
Add-on products must be integral to any digital offer if dealers want to maximise their sales success, according to Chris Benham, UK key account manager at Supagard.
While car dealers in the UK are among the best in Europe for the promotion and sale of add-on products, the evolving digital world means those practices must now be included online.
Benham explained: “One of the biggest challenges we find when looking at the online presence of most dealers is that the online purchasing is aimed squarely at the vehicle – customers turn up prepared with their information and don’t account for extras such as GAP insurance or add-ons.”
He explained that when a customer is loaded with expectations based on their online research, they are far less likely to agree to add-on sales as they have already made their spending decision.
“Rarely do we see add-on products offered from the outset. It hinders the customers’ ability to realise the benefits of add-on products and services,” said Benham.
By making add-on sales prominent throughout the online journey, buyers are more likely to commit to purchasing them when they arrive in the showroom.
If add-on sales are not successful at the point of sale, the use of an integrated digital system can allow dealers to re-target customers after the sale or during aftersales visits.
Benham recommends a customer club, offering discounts and deals to existing customers as an additional way to target add-on sales and boost retention.
He said: “People like being part of something exclusive and rewarding. Loyalty can be very cost-effective.”