How Can You Keep “Showrooming” from Killing Your Closing Rate?

February 15, 2015

3 out of 5 consumers using mobile on your lot visit another dealer within 24 hours.

Dealers are experiencing yet another shift. A phenomenon known as “showrooming” is altering the way dealers must think about the integration of mobile in their sales process. “Showrooming” at its core is when a consumer examinines a vehicle in your brick and mortar dealership while simultaneously browsing for competing deals via their mobile device or tablet.

Physical retailers across the country are struggling with the challenges from showrooming and are finding that the millions of dollars they have invested in beautiful buildings and branding are often not enough to stop the consumer from driving to another dealership for a better deal. In automotive, more than 3 out of 5 consumers (60%) who used mobile while shopping at a dealership visited a competitor within 24 hours.

How can you keep “showrooming” from killing your closing rate?

  1. Offer your own on the lot mobile experience: Showrooming isn’t going away. Your best chance at overcoming it is to adapt your process. Since you aren’t going to stop consumers from utilizing their phones, your best bet is to be where they are. Create a mobile experience that fulfills both of your needs. Who do you want to be in charge of the data your customer is looking at, you or Google? A high quality in-store mobile shopping experience not only intercepts the consumers urge to browse through your competitors inventory but more importantly holds value in the vehicle they have immediately in front of them.
  2. Utilize the information consumers value and trust: Consumers need evidence supporting why they should buy your car and why your price is fair. Utilize the opportunity you have during their mobile browsing to make sure their mobile experience is beneficial to you both. Use objective “evidence” to win them over by highlighting features like manufacturer packages, safety and quality ratings, price vs guide books, vehicle history reports, certification benefits, as well as consumer ratings of your dealership.
  3. Focus on letting consumers use their own device: Consumers are used to being able to individually access anything, anywhere, at anytime thanks to their smartphones. Dealerships that push their own mobile device in the sales process (like iPads) can make consumers suspicious. Consumers think to themselves “why do I need a special device from the dealership to go online?” Many consumers report that sharing a tablet or smartphone with a stranger is uncomfortable because it violates their personal space. Consumers are also more likely to trust information they find on their own device. Don’t make them doubt your knowledge by forcing them away from what they trust. The bottom line: don’t develop a mobile process that isn’t focused around the consumer’s mobile device. Make sure consumers can access your vehicle’s story from the comfort of their own smartphone or tablet.

The Good News: Thanks to extensive consumer research we have not only developed insights such as those mentioned in this article but also a solution. Dealers using MAX Digital Showroom have enjoyed incredible success and bridged the gap that mobile has created. For example, Leith BMW in Raleigh North Carolina saw their gross profits jump up +$400 per car and sales up +17% when they implemented MAX into their mobile sales process.

Some experts say that Circuit City went out of business in part because it failed to effectively address showrooming. Which path do you want to follow?