There have been many articles, mine included, discussing the new reality for automotive dealers regarding Digital Retailing. COVID-19 has pushed those dealers who have been sitting on the side of the pool, right into the deep end whether they are prepared or not.

Many dealerships are beginning to get their legs under them while others are just trying to stay above water. The group of “swimmers” I want to help with this article are those who are treading water and think they are swimming.

The PCG Digital team continues to consult with dealers regarding digital retailing processes across the US and internationally. What sparked this article were recent conversations regarding what is thought to be good enough for digital retailing and what really needs to be in place for success. Most audits of dealership websites revealed the beginnings of a solid Digital Retailing strategy. Many have some assets in place but there still remain issues with overall implementation.

Here are the top three things to help get a dealer’s digital retailing process from good to great.

Naming the New Digital Retailing Process

Some dealers have used wording for their new process signifying speed. “Fastpass”, “Fastlane” or “Express”. Others have used wording to let the customer understand they are in control.  “Create Your Deal” seems to resonate. Without naming the process, customers will not understand there is a new way to do business with the dealership.

Marketing Banners Throughout the Website

As soon as a customer lands on the website, there needs to be a message front and center announcing the new process. Within this banner or image, there needs to be an explanation of what the process is and what’s in it for the consumer. Too often, banners are created with the new name and catch phrase, but this leaves the customer confused as to what happens next.

Create a landing page with content explaining the merits of the program. On this page should be a video outlining the brand messaging surrounding the program. Banners should be created for other pages consumers will interact with. You do not want an overload of marketing banners but think of the banners as a path leading the customer to the vehicle product page.

A Better Vehicle Product Page Experience

This is where most mistakes in the digital retailing process reveal themselves. There must be a banner or other marketing assets to highlight to the customer they are in the right place where the digital retailing tool is located. If possible, create a button with a logo of your digital retailing name. For example, “Click the Fastpass Button”. The key for the button to stand out is it must be a completely different color than other buttons on the page. It should match the coloring of your marketing banners.

Additionally, there should be photo overlays on all of the vehicle images. It is a subtle way to reinforce the messaging. It also serves to share the messaging to other websites where the photos would be seen, such as third party automotive websites or social media.

Lastly, remove redundancies with call to action buttons. Too often there are two buttons to offer trade values or two buttons to schedule test drives or ask questions. If the goal of digital retailing is to simplify the process so customers can complete actions at home, then the journey and website must be explained and easily executed.

These three tips will help many dealers move to a better customer experience. It is easy to feel as if things are going well since vehicles are being sold. This may lead to a comfortable feeling, believing everything is in place or there is nothing else to add to the process. In reality there are many other customer interaction points to review and adapt. Finding the right partner or “swim coach” will help. In the end, being pushed into the pool will be looked upon in a few years as a good thing for both dealers and consumers.

I hope this was helpful. Please share, it would mean a great deal. The team at PCG and I are ready to help if you need us. Just reach out.

If you would like information on the PCG 60 day Digital Retailing Consulting program, click here.

Glenn Pasch

Glenn Pasch is a Partner and CEO of PCG Digital. Glenn continues to author articles for multiple industry publications, blogs and forums as well as continuing his writing online at www.glennpasch.com.