Internet-savvy customers are coming to the showroom armed with more information than ever. But are you ready for them?

Almost 50% of car buyers begin their search online, according to research from Bain & Company. Meanwhile, more than 60% know the brand and model of the car they want, as well as the price they want to pay for it, before they hit the dealership.1

Has your operation kept pace with online purchasing innovations? If not, your showroom floor may not be able to offer customers the same ease and convenience they’re experiencing online, and your bottom line can suffer.

Expand Your Digital Horizons

Stand apart from the competition by implementing an omnichannel sales strategy that reflects your customer’s journey, beginning with their online research and fact-finding and culminating in their offline purchase.

A digital tune-up can ensure that you’re providing prospects with a seamless and transparent customer experience, whether they’re coming to you via their computer, smartphone, a phone call, or a showroom visit. Here are a few tips.

  • Engage visitors online. 

Many dealerships are nurturing a customer’s interest while they’re still online researching their options. Ensure that your current stock of vehicles is available to peruse online. Include interior and exterior photos and videos of your vehicles. Grab your customers’ interest on social media, with news of hot deals, or even fun facts about makes and models. This encourages them to take the next step in the sales process: a showroom visit.2

  • Make your prices visible during the investigation process.

By now, you’ve certainly seen customers clicking on their phones to research prices as they’re reading window stickers or you’re drawing up a contract. In response, you need to know what other local dealers are charging for comparable vehicles, the pricing of private sales, and prices on national sites such as cars.com. Be ready to match or beat them. But most importantly, be transparent about your vehicles’ prices during your prospects’ research.2

Some dealerships have even adopted a no-haggle price-tag approach: What you see is what you pay. Though that may sound dangerous for their bottom line, they make up for it by offering add-ons such as service contracts, tire insurance, or customized financing options.2

  • Personalize the customer experience.

Ask questions online that will help your showroom reps when that customer comes in for a test drive. Have they purchased from you before? What are they driving now? Do they have a trade-in? Dealerships that put this and other information at their sales consultants’ fingertips can avoid time-consuming hurdles in the sales process.3

For example, if your sales consultant already knows that the customer he or she is talking with wants to trade in a five-year-old model of the same car she’s looking for, that’s a huge time savings. Or even better, perhaps the salesperson has developed an email correspondence with the customer before they even visit the showroom.

Scaling Up Pays Off

The optimal omnichannel solution is scalable. Think of it this way: If you’re implementing an online prospecting platform to be shared among multiple showroom locations, you can build sales momentum among showrooms and achieve even greater results.

Having detailed customer information available across locations means dealer networks can make timely, targeted marketing offers to true prospects. By using a customer’s purchase history, you might know when your customers are ready for a new vehicle—and even what make and model they’d like best.3

Once you invest the time and resources to nurture your prospects online, using whichever channel they prefer, you’re creating a well-defined path to the showroom—and increased sales.

Want to learn more?

Discover the outstanding service, experienced sales support, competitive programs and innovative products that M&T Bank Dealer Services delivers. Contact your relationship manager from indirect or floor plan financing to learn more.

Disclosures

Bain & Company, “The Future of Car Sales is Omnichannel.” https://www.bain.com/insights/the-future-of-car-sales-is-omnichannel/

https://www2.deloitte.com/content/dam/Deloitte/us/Documents/manufacturing/us-manufacturing-omni-channel-retailing-in-auto-thought-leadership.pdf

McKinsey & Company, “As dramatic disruption comes to automotive showrooms, proactive dealers can benefit greatly.” https://www.mckinsey.com/industries/automotive-and-assembly/our-insights/as-dramatic-disruption-comes-to-automotive-showrooms-proactive-dealers-can-benefit-greatly

This article is for informational purposes only. It is not designed or intended to provide financial, tax, legal, investment, accounting, or other professional advice since such advice always requires consideration of individual circumstances. Please consult with the professionals of your choice to discuss your situation.

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