Digitalization at the dealership succeeds with these 5 tips

by Christoph Adunka

Digitization continues to be one of the defining issues in brick-and-mortar retail. Therefore, it is important to understand how digitization succeeds in the dealership. This article therefore offers five concrete recommendations for action to help your dealership master digitization.

Fewer customer visits need to be better utilized

Many studies show that the number of times a customer visits a dealership is decreasing. Whether the much quoted 1.4 times per customer still apply, depends above all also on the customer group and the product range of a car dealership. However, the general trend toward gathering information online before visiting a dealership is likely to apply to all car dealerships. But how should car dealerships respond to this trend?

Car dealerships must process the lower number of potential customers more consistently. In plain language, this means quality instead of quantity. A potential new customer, i.e. a lead, is rarer and must therefore not be lost under any circumstances. The importance lies in consistent processing, tracking and documentation of leads that have arisen. This is where modern lead management systems (CRM) come in handy. Not only can contact data be stored, but ideal customer care can be organized. From the assignment of contact persons and representatives to fully automated mailings that remind customers of upcoming inspections. It can also be used to measure the success of your marketing measures in the long term. Through the use of lead management systems, you offer customers the best possible experience in contact with your dealership and can thus convince them that you are the partner around mobility. 

But this follow-up is only possible if the lead is noted at all. Here the accessibility plays the central role. Customers are nowadays accustomed to a high level of accessibility, or at least the possibility of being able to deposit their request immediately. Digital telephone service providers make it possible to have calls diverted according to one's own wishes and to store different call routes. Thus no customer is lost to you and should you be nevertheless times not attainable, you should offer a contact possibility, like e.g. a form for contact  or a Chatfunktion on the Website. 

The right Internet presence ensures a large number of potential customers

Digitalization in the car dealership without an Internet presence is unthinkable. For this, in addition to online business cards such as Yelp or Google MyBusiness, two types of Internet presence are to be separated: Your own website and the dealer entry on sales platforms. 

Your own website should give customers an impression of your dealership, in addition to important information such as current opening hours and contact options. From what brands you carry to services that make you unique for the customer.

Also make sure that your website is found by potential new customers. For this, it is important that your company is visible on popular search engines, such as Google, Bing, etc. You can achieve this by using the right terms on your website, especially in the address, the URL. So, for example, if your car dealership is located in Musterstadt and has an affiliated workshop, these terms should appear on the website and in the URL. 

Your appearance on sales platforms is also crucial. Here you should keep in mind that the customer is only one click away from the next offer, so you should try everything to give the customer no reason to click further. You can achieve this through clarity and high-quality information, such as many and good pictures, which give the customer a good first impression.

Focus on your core business 

Especially due to the shift of business to the Internet, it has become important to offer specialized services to the customer. The higher supply creates market conditions that do not take a generalist approach. If the customer is interested in other business areas, he is more likely to switch to a specialist in that area than to expect a dealership to combine all its offerings. So if you find yourself taking down payments on makes or models that don't fit into your product range, take advantage of remarketing platforms to resell these cars profitably. Focus on your core business! 

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Social media - also an important channel for car dealers

Social media has long been neglected by car dealers as a sales channel. However, this may turn out to be a fatal mistake. For many buyers today, the process of buying a car begins well before they find out about specific brands and models on platforms. Therefore, social media offers car dealerships the opportunity to establish themselves as the partner early in the buying process.

The choice of social media platform is also crucial. While Facebook tends to be used by an older target group these days, Instagram and YouTube channels are particularly useful for reaching younger users. So which platform you should use depends heavily on your target group. 

The content that you distribute via social media channels may be quietly more personal here than is the case with other forms of advertising. Users are used to getting a behind-the-scenes look or seeing fun content. Shared posts from manufacturers are not very meaningful. Just let your creativity run wild, because in the end you will reach more users with fancy content than with monotonous commercials. 

Use data specifically

Data has become a big topic in recent years and has grown into a core product for some companies. And car dealerships should also be aware of the relevance of data. 

For one thing, data can help to provide customers with a tailored shopping experience. This starts with information about how the customer likes to drink his coffee and goes all the way to the mounted roof box on the demonstration car, because you know that the customer likes to go on skiing vacations. 

But data also plays a major role in the planning of the dealership. For example, you should store and evaluate all information about delivered cars. This allows you to see which cars are not doing so well or which used cars have proven to be "grandfather clocks."