Preparing For Change In The Digital Era

Sep 17, 2019

Businesses in our digital world, and Automotive is no exception, is an ever-changing landscape.

For example, AirBnB and Uber didn’t exist before 2008. Now, they’re two of the most recognisable and universally used brands in the world, but how did they get there?  And can we learn from them?

Of course! Both of these companies leveraged the digital world to their advantage. Digital provides customers with access to new products, information and services that improve their lives.

A recent IBM surveyof over 3,000 business leaders put technology at the top of the list of external factors shaping the future of companies. While it’s obvious that you are going to have to embrace digital, it’s important that you invest in the right technology and digital transformation for your industry.

The automotive industry is notoriously slow in terms of evolving and introducing new systems; however, consumer demand might force the hand of dealers and manufacturers, otherwise they risk being usurped by a disruptive start-up.


Changes Happening Now

Car buyers are more educated now than ever before thanks to a wealth of online and video reviews from professionals and amateurs, not to mention forums that will provide the answer to just about any question.

Despite all this information, people still want to visit a dealership to physically see the car they’re going to be investing a significant amount of their hard-earned money on. Completing a test drive remains an important step for a high percentage of drivers.

With that in mind, the challenge for dealers and manufacturers is to bridge the gap between a consumer’s online and offline experience to make it seamless. According to AutoTrader’s Car Buyers Report 2019, 65% of car buyers did as much research as possible before entering a dealership.

Part of this research might have involved contacting a dealership with some questions about a specific car or looking for some expert advice. The best dealerships will respond to every enquiry with accurate and impartial information as quickly as possible.

NOTE: Video messages are five times more engaging compared to text responses. Using video relationship management software like SnapCell to answer enquiries can help to make your dealership more memorable.

Slow and incomplete responses only serve to create frustration. Indeed, 60% of car buyers said that speaking to a helpful retailer was the biggest accelerator to purchase because it helped to build trust and eliminated several barriers. In addition, 77% of respondents said that they would be more likely to buy from a dealer if they had a great in-store experience.

Taking action to send a video to a customer to welcome them to your dealership, provide a walk around of a particular vehicle they are interested in that is on your lot will provide the essential wow and possibly tip them over the balance in the buying process in a timely manner.

Similarly, as majority of used car searches are now completed online, it’s important that dealers keep on top of their stock availability. 73% of car buyers experienced the disappointment of selecting a car that had already been sold. This delay creates a lack of trust and contributes to a fragmented buying experience.

Embracing technology that can link a customer’s online journey with their offline interactions will help to make the process of buying a car in today’s market much easier and faster.

SnapCell offers a complete interactive engagement process for your customers that not only help with your vehicle sale but are also important to customer referrals.


Big Changes Waiting To Happen

Millenials and Gen Zs are driving change across a number of industries as they value experiences over possessions and convenience at the cost of a better deal.

In the automotive industry, there are a couple of big changes on the horizon that will influence the way we think about buying and using cars.


Online Shopping

The idea of living in a world without Amazon doesn’t even bare thinking about anymore. The convenience of being able to order practically anything and have it delivered to your door has fundamentally changed the way we live.

Car dealers and manufacturers are on the cusp of a big change as some buyers are ready and willing to start buying cars online. At the very least, consumers are willing to complete one or more steps of the buying process on their phones, tablets or computers. Some dealers have started to facilitate this by allowing customers to reserve a car online by placing a small holding deposit.

Currently, the largest stumbling block is the difficulty of qualifying finance applications and offering additional finance products such as extended warranties and GAP insurance. In addition, because used cars are unique products, dealerships will need to have systems in place that are able take a car off sale immediately as soon as an order is confirmed.

Using a product like SnapCell will give your Customers the ability to click through to your credit applications or service schedules directly. This is one of the great things about customer engagement, to allow for a seamless car buying process.


Subscription Model

The way we consumer content has drastically changed in the last decade as a result of subscription-based platforms like Netflix and Amazon Prime. We’re now less concerned with owning movies and TV series in favour of being able to stream them for a fixed monthly price.

It’s very easy to see how this could be applied to the automotive industry, especially in the new car market. Manufacturers can charge consumers a monthly fee to be able to drive a range of their vehicles, offering people the flexibility to drive a suitable car for their needs.

For example, you might only need a small hatchback during the week for your daily commute into work. However, when it comes to the weekend when you’re taking the whole family out, you’ll need more space in the back for the kids to travel comfortably and more space in the boot to pack everything in.

These services remove the burden of ownership and allow people to be driving a new car as often as they want. However, it will probably work out more expensive than a traditional finance deal because part of the subscription price will cover the car’s maintenance.

All of this is happening now, some you may think are far off in to the future for you and your store, but it’s not and inevitably you will need to take these actions in to consideration.  



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