The traditional automotive sales model has been disrupted by the rise of e-commerce. With the advent of digital technology, dealerships can now reach new customers and expand their reach beyond their physical locations. In this article, we’ll explore how e-commerce can help dealerships reach new customers and expand their businesses.
Understanding e-commerce and its impact on the automotive industry
E-commerce has revolutionized the way businesses operate across various industries, and the automotive industry is no exception. It has opened up new opportunities for dealerships to connect with customers in innovative ways. By adopting e-commerce solutions, dealerships can leverage the power of digital technology to transform their operations and enhance their customer experience.
According to a report by McKinsey & Company, 90% of car buyers are willing to buy online, and 64% of them are willing to buy from a dealership that offers an online purchasing option. This highlights the growing importance of e-commerce in the automotive industry and the need for dealerships to adopt e-commerce solutions to stay competitive.
Advantages of e-commerce for dealerships
E-commerce offers several advantages for dealerships, including:
- Increased customer reach: E-commerce allows dealerships to reach customers beyond their physical location, expanding their customer base and increasing their revenue potential.
- Improved customer experience: E-commerce enables dealerships to provide a seamless and personalized customer experience, from browsing to purchase.
- Increased efficiency: E-commerce streamlines the sales process, reducing the time and effort required to complete a transaction. This can lead to cost savings and increased productivity.
- Greater data insights: E-commerce generates valuable data insights that dealerships can use to optimize their sales and marketing strategies and improve their operations.
E-commerce strategies: successful and not
Several companies have successfully implemented e-commerce strategies to reach new customers and expand their businesses. For example, Carvana, an online used car dealership, has disrupted the traditional automotive sales model by offering a seamless online purchasing experience. Its innovative approach has helped it reach new customers and expand its revenue potential, but the Carvana's case is financially questionable because of high level cash-burn, caused by growth-oriented strategy. It's definitely not the case for thus who search for sustainable business, but it can highlight in detail the main mistakes that can be made in starting this kind of project:
- Do not try to win the market with cash: it's really too big
- Customer experience is 360 degrees wide, not only pricing and costs: build the reliable product with
- Evolution can be more effective than revolution:
Another example is Volvo’s online car-buying program, which allows customers to complete the entire purchasing process online. This has helped Volvo reach new customers and provide a personalized and convenient customer experience.
Implementing e-commerce solutions
To implement e-commerce solutions successfully, dealerships need to adopt a customer-centric approach. This involves understanding their customers’ needs and preferences and tailoring their e-commerce solutions accordingly. Some key steps to implementing e-commerce solutions include:
- Building a user-friendly website: A user-friendly website that is easy to navigate and provides relevant information to customers is essential for a successful e-commerce strategy.
- Offering multiple payment options: Customers have different payment preferences, and dealerships need to offer a range of payment options to cater to their customers’ needs.
- Providing comprehensive product information: Detailed product information is essential to help customers make informed purchase decisions.
- Offering personalized customer support: E-commerce should not replace personalized customer support. Dealerships need to offer online and offline support to ensure a seamless customer experience.
How to make these approach in life?
There are plenty of scenarios.
Scenario 1: Develop your own e-commerce site
One of the most direct ways to launch your own e-commerce stream is by developing your own e-commerce site. This can provide you with full control over your online presence and the ability to tailor your e-commerce experience to your unique brand and customer base.
To get started with developing your own e-commerce site, you will need to work with a web development team or agency that specializes in e-commerce development. They can help you design and build a site that meets your needs and is optimized for conversions.
Some tips to keep in mind when developing your own e-commerce site include:
- Ensure your site is optimized for mobile, as more and more consumers are shopping on their phones and tablets
- Offer a variety of payment options to make checkout as seamless as possible for your customers
- Implement strong security measures to protect customer data and prevent fraud
- Create a user-friendly navigation and search experience to help customers find what they're looking for quickly and easily
- Consider integrating customer reviews and ratings into your product pages to build trust with potential customers.
Scenario 2: Utilize third-party e-commerce platforms
There are a variety of third-party e-commerce platforms available that can make it easier for dealerships to launch their own e-commerce stream. These platforms offer a range of features and pricing models, so it's important to carefully evaluate your options before choosing one.
Some popular third-party e-commerce platforms include:
Scenario 3: Partner with existing e-commerce marketplaces
Another option for dealerships looking to launch their own e-commerce stream is to partner with existing e-commerce marketplaces. This can provide you with instant access to a large customer base and established e-commerce infrastructure, but actually available for the largest dealerships only
Some e-commerce marketplaces to consider partnering with include:
Scenario 4: Launch a subscription service with adopted platform
Another way to generate recurring revenue through e-commerce is by launching a subscription service. This could involve offering a regular maintenance service, providing access to exclusive deals and promotions, or offering a subscription-based vehicle leasing program. This can help build loyalty with customers and provide a predictable revenue stream for your dealership.
E-commerce is transforming the automotive industry and providing new opportunities for dealerships to reach new customers and expand their businesses. By adopting a customer-centric approach and implementing e-commerce solutions, dealerships can enhance their customer experience, increase their revenue potential, and stay competitive in a rapidly changing market. As the industry continues to evolve, it is essential for dealerships to embrace e-commerce and leverage its power to transform their operations.