Customer expectations for the car shopping process are changing rapidly. VinSolutions Senior Director of Sales and Product Consulting Mo Zahabi and Joe Overby of Auto Remarketing caught up to chat about these expectations and how technology can help dealers meet them. Read on for highlights from their conversation.
Joe Overby: To what degree are dealers meeting the expectations of today’s customers?
I don’t want to be too abrasive when I answer it this way, but I don’t think dealers and customers are aligned. Dealers have their selling process and customers have their buying process, and there’s a major disconnect. The big disconnect occurs with the fact that customers have already done nearly two-thirds of their research online before they come into the dealership, and dealers don’t have any way to connect that online research to what happens in the showroom. There ends up being a lot of double effort, which slows down the process.
JO: Where do you think are the big gaps in the connection between the online and in-store experiences?
There are opportunities to connect those two experiences, but the disconnect comes from the fact that what happens online has no correlation to any activities in a dealership CRM. Unless you have the ability to track website analytics in real time and the ability to tie that into behavior in the dealership, it is very hard to get that big picture. Optimally, we want customers to have the ability to save online research and share it with the dealer so they can pick up where they left off. That allows dealers to glean some insights based on that customer’s unique shopping behavior and tie it into the activity of the CRM.
JO: What do dealers need to fine tune before they implement digital retailing solutions?
A dealer needs to make sure they can adhere to processes before they put any sort of digital retailing into place. Otherwise, I think you’re throwing away money. These are process driven products. In order to make them successful, the dealership has to understand and follow those processes. They also have to have a roadmap for what’s next and what they’re trying to accomplish. Most of the time it’s going to be that great customer experience, and digital retailing is great way to meet the expectations of customers.
JO: What are some ways that dealers can cut down on customer data double entry?
: Digital retailing is a great way to do that. Giving customers the opportunity to shop online, save a customer profile and then recall it gives you a great advantage. The other thing dealers can do is to better engage with tools that are integrated and share data. Mobile tools are also important.
This interview was edited for length and clarity. Listen to the full interview on the Auto Remarketing podcast.