The business world is an ever-changing landscape with start-ups continuously looking to disrupt competitive and stagnant markets.
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.
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 organisations 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 inquiries 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.
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.’
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.
The idea of living in a world without Amazondoesn’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.
On a larger scale, certain manufacturers have launched online buying capabilities where customers can configure their perfect new car and order it through their website. Depending on the exact specification, the car will either be sourced from the network of stock already in existence or be factory-built.
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.
The way consumer content has drastically changed in the last decade as a result of subscription-based platforms like Netflixand 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 & long loan deals, and allow people to be driving a new car as often as they want.