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Dealers merging online and offline for future success

Automotive retailers should take a virtual leaf from High Street retailers who successfully merge the online and offline experience.

Speaking at AM and Auto Trader’s Digital Marketing conference which takes place at the Ricoh Arena, Coventry on 4th February, Google industry manager Scott Sinclair will highlight successful retailers which have established an innovative digital presence and created a seamless journey from the virtual store to the High Street shop.

Commented Sinclair: “There are 101 different examples of retailers who are applying truly innovative thinking online to raise their levels of engagement and give the consumer an exceptional digital experience. There is no reason why automotive retailers cannot implement similar initiatives instead of following the same old format. Those who strike out on a limb and capture the imagination of the online community are likely to attract more traffic to their website and ultimately to their showroom.

“Some of the changes a dealer group could make can be quite simple. The used car locator is a good place to start; most require the consumer to know the make and model of the car desired. The point is most people don’t know; a dealer who redesigns the used car locator to ask more lifestyle questions such as ‘how many children do you have?’ and ‘are you a dog owner?’ and offering vehicle suggestions as a result of their answers could be a hit with car buyers.”

Sinclair will not only provide case studies showing how retailers have approached the digital sphere differently and netted results but how they can be readily applied to automotive retail. For example, delegates who attended AM’s Used Car Conference 2013 would have seen Google’s Hugh Dickerson reference Morrison’s online wine selector. Three simple questions determine the consumer’s taste preferences from which the individual’s type of palate is revealed.

Morrison’s then provides a wine selection to match with further means to narrow choices such as by region or price.
“It is often such simple but engaging and intuitive online initiatives which can make one retailer stand out against a competitor,” added Sinclair. “Our goal is to provide dealers with a host of examples and how they can be just as easily applied to automotive retail to encourage ‘out-of-the-box’ thinking which can boost web traffic.”

The session will also explore making that flawless transition from online engagement to enquiry, appointment booking and sale conversion.

Sinclair said: “Delivering a closed-loop experience whereby a consumer’s exceptional digital journey is then replicated in the physical showroom is key for the modern day retailer.

"If a retailer’s performance does not reflect its digital presence, the ramifications can be catastrophic. Not only could the retailer lose the sale but the consumer is likely share the experience online. The merging of the online and offline retail space for an all-round positive experience has never been so vital for retail success.”

Tickets are available to dealers and manufacturers. To book, please contact Nicola Baxter on 01733 468289, email or visit

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