Technology has been changing the landscape of retail sales with a vengeance the last decade or so. While it hasn’t yet taken over the traditional retail store, it has changed the way that many shoppers will make their decision on what brand or model they purchase in the end. This is especially true when it comes to car shoppers and automotive dealerships. Where it was once the empire of car salesmen who wowed the prospective buyers with the superiority of their particular brand, today shoppers walk in armed in printouts of what they want right down to the last details.
One of the interesting differences between other types of retail shopping and automotive buying, when it comes to the interaction of the net and the shop, is how the net is used. In most retail establishments, customers will often come browsing through a shop and look at a variety of goods but not buy. Shoes are a great example, as many customers will try on a pair in a store but buy them online because the price is cheaper. This has given rise to retail showrooms for online stores and brick and mortar stores opening up warehouses for website sales.
But with the automotive industry, the reverse is true. Customers browse online for statistics and model specifications, compare models and types, and decide on a price. They then march into a showroom armed with the knowledge of exactly what they want and what they are prepared to pay. Today’s modern showroom has to be equipped to work with this new type of customer or be willing to surrender the field to one who will. But there are some smart tech tools that can help the savvy automotive dealership stay abreast of these shifting tides, and come up victorious.
Managing the Customers
There have always been tools to help dealerships use the vast resources of the brands they sell to reach out to their prospective customers. But never has there been as comprehensive a tool as today’s batch of auto dealer CRM packages that the brands have developed using big data. These packages take the enormous data created by web visitors looking for the right car, and break it down into understandable campaigns that target specific demographics.
With this huge bank of data, they can deliver pinpointed marketing campaigns that know what that demographic is looking for, what phrases they will respond to and what images evoke a reaction. What is even better, they deliver this information to the dealership in a way they can use to reach out to that prospect and give them what they want. It is a monster of a program, and they make good use of everything the net has to offer. Dealers are fools if they pass this opportunity by simply because they don’t trust technology to sell cars.
Delivering the Stats
When a customer walks into a showroom, they expect the sales staff to know everything there is to know about the car they are interested in, and now. The arrival of iPads and tablets on the showroom floor has made it possible for staff to answer every question, move the sale along smoothly from interest to purchase and often even let them sign on the tablet’s dotted line for financing to buy the car directly.
Reaching into the Community
Of course, none of this matters if you don’t have a presence in the community where you sell. The old fashion car washes and local parades are still a good start, but you need more. In today’s world people live on their smartphones. That means you need to as well, and the best way is through social media. Take classes, learn from the younger sales staff about it or better yet make them responsible for your social media outreach. It is a brave new world, and we sell cars to get around in it!