As dealerships close the books on the first half of 2020, sales teams across the nation are taking in lessons learned; grateful to have made it this far, while still bracing for the future. It’s been a complex year of uncertainty, rapid innovations, and unprecedented moves as the auto industry did its best to keep up with changing consumer needs. The mistake at this point would be to close the books on the shift to digital. Selling in a virtual environment has been a long-time coming. As Senior Director of Product Consulting for VinSolutions, Dealer.com and Cox Automotive Digital Retailing, Mo Zahabi, states about the pandemic, “Essentially, it took us from where we thought we’d be in five years and put us there now.” To take a step back from all the rapid progress we’ve made in the shift to digital retailing would be a step back for everybody.
Adapting Sales to Meet New Consumer Expectations
It may be that your particular dealership escaped the early part of 2020 unscathed, with little more than limited lockdown measures. That’s lucky, for sure. However, no dealership in 2020 is immune to the changing behaviors of the modern car buyer. According to a recent report, 7 out of 10 consumers are more likely to buy a car from your dealership if they can at least begin the buying process online¹. And up to 83% want to complete those steps online². A sales model that hasn’t adapted to meet these demands is a sales model that misses the mark on the majority of the market. That’s simply too big to ignore.
Digital-forward Sales Models Are Showing Strong Results
More buyers are choosing to shop for cars and, at least, begin the buying process online. But if shifting your sales strategy to a virtual model feels risky, just look at the numbers. According to reports from Cox Automotive Analytics, the number of shoppers submitting digital deals increased by 108% from January 2020 to May 20203 . That big jump means, yes, buyers are choosing to shop online. But, it also means that consumers are still buying cars in an uncertain time. Dealerships utilizing digital retailing strategies like video walkarounds and virtual showrooms are positioning themselves to outsell the competition. Consider that YouTube, which has over 4 million in-market auto video views every day, is simply one of the many digital retailing avenues for your dealership⁴. How easy are you making it for buyers to find, and purchase, their next car from you?
We’re (Still) in This Together
Cox Automotive and the Dealership Software Solutions group are here to help. Our performance managers, leaders, and client services teams stand by our partners’ sides as we forge ahead into the second half of this year. We’re as committed as ever to doubling down our efforts to inform, inspire, and expand your digital capabilities and streamline your business opportunities.
Check in regularly here to discover our best to help you do your best.
¹2019 Cox Automotive Car Buyer Journey Study
²2020 Cox Automotive How the Rise of “Digital” is Changing Consumer & Dealer Experiences
3 Internal Consumer Use Data, Cox Automotive Product Analytics
⁴Source: 2018 Google, YouTube for Auto Dealers, Oct. 2018