From Couch to Car: Reimagining the Future of Car Shopping

May 3, 2021

The research is in. And all fingers point in the same direction: car buying has changed. With this shift comes a slew of new opportunities for your dealership to engage with customers. While shopping habits have evolved, purchasing trends continue to stay traditional for the actual act of buying a car. With that said, it is important to note that this journey is likely to begin on the couch. This “Amazon Style” of shopping has become commonplace for many over the past few years. However, there are differences between automotive retail and traditional retail. As a result, the adoption of a fully immersed digital path to purchase might not be in the cards just yet.

Just because the idea of buying a car online might not be widely expected doesn’t mean that your dealership doesn’t have to be poised to provide next-level experiences. As the number of physical visits to one or more dealerships declines during the research phase, you must be able to provide an experience that goes above and beyond. The number of consumers who start their vehicle search online first has grown. This means your website, social media properties, and online reviews are the first point of contact between your lot and the customer.

The best way to leverage this information is by envisioning the purchasing journey through the eyes of the consumer. They are going to be searching through your inventory, price matching models, exploring packages, and maybe even putting their current vehicle through appraisal. Because the average consumer now visits such a low amount of dealerships during their research phase, you have to provide as much information as possible on the first touchpoint. Bring your showroom online and provide an advanced approach to sales enablement. By having a virtual presence, you allow consumers to shop with convenience and without pressure.

A robust digital showroom creates a more positive experience. The customer gets to do everything but kick the tires. As more and more digital research is conducted, you need to streamline the process and include value during these touchpoints. Information is king here, but that applies to both sides of the ball. As the customer's knowledge base grows, so must your employees. You don’t want your salespeople to be outsmarted.

Having a digital showroom turns your staff into superstars. It provides them with the knowledge they need to have about every vehicle. With a mobile app, this wealth of information will be at their fingertips. A stress-free experience will be created that will put your customers in the driver’s seat of their own decisions. On top of that, you can capture more and more data that will help your team be proactive at their jobs. There is no more sitting back and waiting. Motivate your staff to be the best possible with a digital showroom.

Lastly, it is important to note that many OEMs are offering webinar-style engagements. This allows dealerships to invite customers to experience vehicles in a virtual environment. Detailed audio and video demos can now show off technologies in greater detail. A customer shopping through the OEM will have a unique, individualized experience that can be coupled with live Q & A via a chatbot. By the time they hit your lot, they will have experienced the vehicle in new ways. That’s why it is so important that you are prepared to meet their needs, match their knowledge base, and provide a seamless transition between online research and offline shopping.

As technology continues to advance the way consumers shop for vehicles, it is up to dealerships to elevate their processes to meet customers where they are. The car-buying journey may begin on the couch, but for the time being, it still ends on your lot. Invest in a digital showroom now and get your sales enablement tools in order to achieve great success. Don’t skimp on the details. Your customers are smarter than ever. So, your staff needs to be best prepared to offer an uncanny experience. MAX Digital is here to help streamline that process and get your dealership aligned with next-generation tools and solutions for sales enablement. Schedule a consultation today and discover how a digital showroom leaves you poised for a successful future.