Can Digital Retailing Stand the Test of Time?

May 17, 2021

In the modern world of automotive retail, there exists a gap between where we are and where we are going. For the time being, we call this divide digital retailing. And while salespeople transition to a new way of selling, consumers will increasingly adapt their shopping habits. There is truth to the statement that each customer is unique. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg. You see, digital retailing has become commonplace for today’s consumers. Amazon is a trailblazer in this realm for day-to-day items. As time marches on, it only makes sense that bigger purchases will follow suit. But can digital retailing in the automotive space stand the test of time?

Specifically for automotive retail, consumers are currently likely to buy in a hybrid fashion of online and offline. This means that while purchases can be made digitally, many aspects of the classic approach to shopping will remain the same. Staying hybrid provides consumers with several benefits, including comfort and convenience. These benefits of digital retailing are already highly touted. But can they be maintained?

2020 was a pivotal year for automotive retail as imposed restrictions accelerated the road to digital purchasing. In many regards, consumers were given little choice in the matter. Public transportation was closed, so many made the switch leasing or purchasing an automobile. With many lots closed to foot traffic, this meant consumers had to go digital. Dealerships were forced to be quick to respond to demand and add new touchpoints to interact with customers. A rapid rate of deployment was only amplified as more consumers grew accustomed to the changing model. However, many shoppers still prefer the brick-and-mortar approach to car buying. So while digital retailing for automotive is more commonplace in the new year, it is still in its infancy overall.

What we are seeing is simply an acceleration into the future. But would that have happened in 2020 without the pandemic? That’s hard to tell. Shopping habits continually fluctuate to match technological advancements and economic climate. As countries around the world slowly move toward a fully Electrical Vehicle (EV) model, it will provide an infrastructure that the US could embrace. Dealers and OEMs alike will have to shift sales and marketing efforts, as well as retrain employees to reduce a workforce gap. This could potentially lead to additional shifts in how and where retail is conducted.

The automotive industry is made up of a mixture of old school and new school thinking. Many industries experienced a transition into modernization. Automotive retail can learn a lot from how digital retail applies in different verticals. For dealerships, it is critical to have a roadmap for embracing technologies. Prepare for what transitions will come down the road. Employ a crawl, walk, run mentality when deploying next-generation solutions to enhance digital retailing touchpoints for consumers.

For now, we will have to wait and see what the future holds for automotive retail. One thing is for certain though, and that’s dealers need to be proactive. The road ahead has many challenges and unexpected curves. Be ready with tools and solutions that can help you acquire inventory, create online and offline experts on said inventory, and strategically move that inventory at the highest gross margin possible. The key to success starts on your lot. Think in terms of how your customer wants to shop and deliver upon those experiences.

MAX Digital is a next-generation provider of sales enablement and inventory management solutions for automotive retail. We partner with dealerships around the country to build tools that improve the customer experience and build confidence for everyone on your lot. Schedule a consultation today and discover how MAX Digital can deliver the tools needed to be competitive today and tomorrow.