Why Digital and Physical Processes Must Align to Deliver Success

Published: January 2023

We know we’re not going to blow your minds with this headline, as it’s not news to anyone, but we thought we’d put this piece out as a little New Year reminder because sometimes it’s so easy to get caught up in ‘What’s Next?’.

For instance, we’re pretty confident that most dealer marketing departments have had THAT conversation about TikTok, the same as they would have done about Snapchat and Instagram. And so, it can be somewhat overwhelming when trying to get that online/offline balance right for Marketing and Sales.

Digital Adoption In 2020

Because the pandemic caused an unprecedented surge in online activity for the automotive industry, dealers have been focusing on their digital marketing efforts, including new websites with enhanced functionality such as ‘Reserve Online’, increased social media activity and, of course, the trusty eCRM customer journey.

And rightly so! Digital marketing is much easier to track and report on ROI, plus it’s quicker to tweak and amend to stay current.

Although, we recently conducted a consumer survey and found that customers still see a showroom visit as a crucial part of the purchase process, with only 19% saying that when they next shop for a new or used car, they would prefer not to visit a showroom at all.

Digital is part of an omnichannel purchase process, with almost two-thirds (64%) saying they will do all their research online before buying a new car. However, as stated above, 81% of those surveyed say the dealership visit is still an essential part of the sales process.

As so much research is carried out online before the dealership enquiry, the average time from enquiry to sale is now just five days, meaning digital and physical processes must align to deliver the best chance of success.

Data Accuracy Is Key

With accurate data comes additional touchpoints, such as inviting customers in for a review or introducing new models to see and test drive. These are the perfect opportunity to understand the customer’s current circumstances.

After all, there are many reasons for customers to change their car and staying in touch with them puts you at front of mind when they have the need to change, giving you the best chance of retaining their business and securing a good quality part-exchange.

Research by Facebook revealed that 89% of car buyers in Europe aged 18-34 stated that their main reason to purchase a vehicle was due to a change in circumstance. For example, a new job, a change in relationship, or a new hobby.

Furthermore, due to the extended lead times for new cars, there have been significant increases in the re-financing of balloons, which gives dealers additional opportunities for service plans and increased accessory sales as customers keep their vehicles for longer.

With great-quality data, dealers have the ability to move quickly and flexibly in response to market changes. Reaching new audiences, retaining their existing customers, and reactivating those that may have lapsed during recent world events.

To conclude, dealers must understand how customers want to conduct their research online but finalise the transaction offline and align their digital and physical processes to match.

If you’d like more information on how we can help you balance your online and offline processes, contact us today!

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