News/Publications

Online and On-Site Shopping

March 16, 2018

Integrate the two for the best customer experience

Not surprisingly, most car buyers today begin their shopping experience online. They use the Internet to find vehicles listed for sale, research pricing, compare different models and locate a convenient dealership.

For example, 67% of buyers use the Internet to find vehicles listed for sale and 86% go online to research car pricing before they visit dealerships, according to the 2017 Car Buyer Journey Study conducted by research firm IHS Automotive. This makes careful integration of your online and on-site sales activities critical.

Revealing survey results

Other data from this study further illustrate the importance of better integrating your online and on-site car shopping experiences. For example, more than half of car buyers (53%) had no contact with a dealership before going to the store for the first time.

Also, 56% of car buyers said that a dealership’s website influenced them to visit the store. So, what do these stats tell you? The best time to convert shoppers into buyers may be while they’re shopping online.

A seamless transition

An integrated sales process will provide a seamless transition between your customers’ online and on-site shopping experiences. It also will help eliminate disconnects that can happen with nonintegrated processes.

For example, some customers who’ve done research or supplied information online might feel like they have to start all over again when they visit your dealership. This can increase their frustration with the car-buying experience.

Thus, make sure that any information customers retrieved (or provided) online is consistent with what’s on hand at your dealership. This includes vehicle inventory listings and descriptions, pricing, special promotions and monthly payment estimates.

More car-buying options

An integrated sales process will provide customers with a variety of ways to interact with your dealership. The goal is to give these shoppers more options and thus make car buying faster and easier.
Implementing such a process will require you to move many sales functions and purchase-related tasks to the Internet so customers can complete them online if they choose. These tasks may include:

• Obtaining more information about vehicles,

• Making an offer on a vehicle,

• Getting a trade-in valuation, and

• Applying for financing.

An integrated sales process also will enable customers to complete all forms and paperwork necessary to buy the car online if they choose. Then they can arrange to pick up the vehicle or have it delivered.

Improve integration now

Few dealerships today can afford to lose customers due to a lack of coordination between their online and on-site sales experiences. Take steps now to coordinate these activities and keep potential customers from slipping through the cracks.

© 2018