The last decade saw the biggest change in how cars are purchased. Over the past 10 years we saw dealer websites become the heart and soul of your business. We saw digital marketing become the most important and effective way to reach new buyers. We saw digital retailing emerge as the next big thing that car buyers are asking for. And we saw website and marketing reporting shift from focusing on simple metrics like “bounce rates” to being able to take all of your online data and match it directly to a car sale. Well, all of Dealer eProcess’ customers saw that – we can’t necessarily say the same for the rest!
Looking into 2020, what we do know is that we can expect more of the same. Innovation is going to speed up. Websites are going to grow even more intelligent. Digital Retailing will give the consumers the online car buying experience they’ve been asking for. Digital Marketing will gain an even greater share of your overall marketing budgets as more consumers go online for their television, radio, news, etc. Reporting will become even more advanced, transparent, and complete.
If you’re looking to become the best dealer you can be in the next decade, you need the right partner. You need to ensure that your Website, Digital Retailing, Digital Marketing, and Reporting can check all of the right boxes. Fortunately, we made that easy for you. We’ve provided the complete 2020 Automotive Digital Checklist for you to download. This checklist will tell you everything you need to have within your digital ecosystem to truly become a modern dealership in the next decade. Take a look at the checklist categories below and see if you can truly say you’re ready for 2020.
In 2020, if you’re still calling your website your “online showroom”, then you’re going to be way behind the times. In the twenty-twenties, your website will need to be so much more than just a place where users can see your inventory. It will need to actively guide your customers through the entire car buying process. It will need to be a product expert, a salesperson, a finance manager, and a service advisor all rolled into one! In 2020, your website will need to be able to give each individual shopper their own unique car buying experience (Personalization), it will have to give users the ability to get up close and personal with the vehicles they’re most interested in (Photo Hotspots, HyperZoom), it will need to be able to have a concise and effective conversation with them (A.I. Chat Bots), and it will have to be easily accessible to ALL car buyers (ADA Accessibility).
After all that’s said and done, it will also need to be able to pre-screen consumers, give them a value on their trade-in, perform equity calculations, and give them a payment without them ever having to leave their couch (Digital Retailing). If your website can check all of those boxes, plus more, then you’re ready to roar into the 20’s with a state-of-the-art website that your customers will love.
Digital retailing represents the next evolution of car buying. A good digital retailing tool gives the consumer and the dealer everything they need to completely structure a deal online. Dealer eProcess’ digital retailing tool, SARA (Smart Automotive Retailing Assistant), incorporates all of the necessary features that any digital retailing tool needs in order to seamlessly bring the car buying experience online. The SARA tool allows a user to get pre-approved for a loan without requiring a SSN or DOB, gives them the ability to get their trade-in evaluated on the spot, and even provides the user with a complete calculation of their equity, all in a matter of a few seconds! After that, the shopper simply chooses the lender they’d prefer to work with, selects any aftermarket accessories they want to add to their new vehicle, and then chooses any other F&I products they’re interested in. When it’s all said and done, the customer AND the dealer both have a fully structured car deal; all that’s left is for the consumer to come into your showroom and sign the paperwork.
All of these capabilities (plus more) make SARA the most powerful digital retailing platform in automotive today! SARA is everything you’re looking for in a digital retailing product. There is no other tool in the market that can match SARA in ease of use, flexibility, lead generation, or data capture. If you truly want to turn yourself into a modern dealership and are looking to make 2020 the year you fully embrace digital retailing, then SARA is the only tool that checks all the boxes!
If your 2020 marketing mix does not heavily favor digital advertising media, then you are not going to roar into the next decade. All content that customers use has a digital component these days (people watching TV through streaming services, listening to the radio via Spotify or Pandora, etc.) and if you are still spending most of your ad dollars trying to reach consumers through traditional advertising then you are completely missing the boat. Digital marketing gives you a chance to meet the consumers where they are AND allows you to pick and choose who you spend your money advertising to.
It’s important to note that not all digital marketing companies are the same. Your provider should not only be able to create ads for you and put them online, but they should have technology and data that tells them who, when, where, how, and why they’re advertising to a consumer. You need to take a sniper-rifle approach to advertising to ensure your money is spent most efficiently and that you get the best results possible.
Your marketing vendor should be able to tell you who’s in the market for the makes and models you sell (Predictive Sales Data), should be able to put the best offer in front of them (Dynamic Ads, Offer-Based Campaigns), and needs to be able to reach them on any marketing network (Google, Bing, Social, WAZE, Amazon, OTT, etc.). This all has to be done at scale so that you never miss an opportunity, which means that your vendor needs to have the right marketing software to make that happen (like the software we’ve been developing in-house for the past decade).
At the end of the day, the most important thing your marketing company needs to be able to do is tell you what marketing ads, networks, keywords, etc. matched to vehicle sales and made you the most money. This needs to be done through a direct connection to your DMS (DMS Attribution) and needs to be reviewed at least every month (Transparent Reporting) to ensure you’re maximizing your return on investment. If your marketing company cannot tell you the dollars earned from the dollars spent in 2020, then you have the wrong marketing company. Period.
If it isn’t measured, it isn’t managed. The most important thing you need to do in 2020 is measure all of your online tools and marketing to make sure that you’re fully optimized to sell the most cars. This sounds basic, but many providers do not give you all the information you need to see. Some will focus solely on website data. Some will only cover leads. Some will just tell you that everything’s working fine without actually proving it! What your vendor needs to be able to do is report on absolutely everything going on with your website, including conversion tools (chat, trade-in, etc.), your inventory, your digital marketing, AND tie that all directly to your vehicle sales (Insites1 Dashboard). Viewing all of the data in the same light will ensure that everything is set up properly to help you sell the most cars possible. Plus, you need to be able to look at this data historically so that you can view trends and forecast correctly in order to properly plan for the future. This data is all available to DEP customers and our dealers cover this information extensively with their dedicated account executives, keeping them ahead of the curve in their markets.
The next decade is going to bring a lot of change to how car buying happens. More and more of the process is going digital and that shows no signs of slowing down. Consumers want to control more of the car buying process and do things on their time…they will NOT use a dealer who does not allow them to do that. As a dealer, you need a digital partner that will help your dealership roar into the next decade. You need one that will keep innovating. You need one that is not bogged down by a bloated board of directors. You need a partner that has your best interests in mind, not one that’s just trying to appease its shareholders. You need a partner committed to service and performance. Their success needs to be your success. You need a partner who checks all the boxes. Basically, you need Dealer eProcess!
View the full 2020 automotive check list HERE to see where your dealership stacks up.