In the DrivingSales webinar, Turn Casual Shoppers into High-Intent Buyers: Remove Noise, Reduce Friction, and Ramp Up Your Experience, two industry experts weigh in on the benefits of digital retail. Senior Success Manager at Upstart Auto Retail, Andrew Kuntze, joins VP of Operations for Ancira Enterprises, Jason Thompson, for a lively discussion on modern car-buying experiences.
“You can easily turn a casual shopper into a serious buyer just by having the right digital retail tool and letting them work at their own pace,” Thompson says.
Here’s what else they recommend for bringing more shoppers to your website, leading them further into the deal, and closing them easier and quicker—all while improving customer experience.
Make car buying easier and more transparent
The inventory shortage continues to make car buying tricky for consumers. Yet, you can still make the buying journey as easy as possible while embracing transparency that builds trust and confidence.
“Certain buyers know exactly what they want, what fits their needs and budget, and they’re ready to buy online,” says Kuntze. He also points out the benefits of investing in the experience improvement now, not later.
“Things will go back to normal, manufacturers will start producing more cars,” he explains. “Then, people will continue to pay more for a better experience. Set your prices, be realistic, and make it as easy as humanly possible.”
Let customers personalize their blend of online and in-store moments
Kuntze highlights the importance of flexibility in digital retail whether it’s used on your website or in your showroom.
“What you’re doing online is very similar to what you do in the store, but you do it at your own pace and without pressure,” he says.
Plus, everything the customer does online is accessible to sales teams. Thompson’s team prepares for showroom appointments by reviewing the customer’s online progress, pulling up the vehicle, and even pre-cooling it for a test drive. Then they jump right into the deal, avoiding any redundancy.
Tell customers how much time they’re saving
Thompson also informs customers how much time they’ve saved, which helps them feel noticed, appreciated, and ready to close the deal. He’ll usually tell customers something like, “Congrats! That saved you about 45 minutes today. Ready to test drive?”
“The quicker you can get the process done, the happier the customer is—plain and simple,” he says.
Make the sale easier with early exposure to add-ons
Giving customers early and easy access to back-end products lets them familiarize themselves with their options in a casual setting. They can even click on links to learn more about each product.
“When you give them as much information as they’re willing to digest at their fingertips, it creates a much easier transition,” Thompson adds.
This also allows customers to get through these F&I conversations on their own time. And these convenience benefits go beyond just F&I, to every important part of a car buyer’s journey.
Offer speed and convenience with virtual walkarounds and interactions
Your outdoor lot might not be the most comfortable place to spend a couple hours when the weather gets hot, cold, rainy, or snowy. Instead, customers can peruse your virtual showroom online and request a video tour within Upstart Auto Retail.
Many of the remote-buying technologies of the pandemic era became preferred, especially for younger tech-savvy customers. “COVID changed a lot of the ways people do things. We need to change, too, and find tools that allow us to give information in a meaningful way.”
Thompson also streamlines the post-sale product demonstration.
“We’ve set up recorded webinars to send out to customers,” he explains. This helps avoid or solve some of the simple tech frustrations that can lead to poor perceptions. “When a customer thinks their car is broken, they’re unhappy. What’s the likelihood they’ll have dealer or brand loyalty? You have to be ahead of the curve, get ahead of the questions.”
Prioritize internal buy-in of new technology and experiences
“The biggest challenges are our own objections,” Thompson says. “If you don’t adapt, you will be left behind.” He feels poised to compete with rapidly growing car-buying startups because, he acknowledges, “we’ve allowed disruptors into our industry,” and need to rise to the challenges. But not everyone’s immediately on board.
Hesitation can be overcome by explaining how digital retail improves employees’ jobs and helps them develop.
“None of this is replacing a sales consultant or F&I director in the process—it’s making their jobs easier, giving them more opportunities to succeed, and giving customers more information,” says Kuntze.
Keep up with OEM aspirations
“We’re also showing our value to the manufacturers,” Thompson says, speaking to OEMs’ interest in creating more seamless online purchases. Upstart Auto Retail helps with flexible customer support, continuous product evolutions, and easier customer and employee workflows. Plus, “our CSI is even greater now.”
“Having been on the OEM side,” says Kuntze, who previously worked for Kia and Mazda, ”I know the amount of tools that are pushed, certified, preferred—every manufacturer has a different partner expectation.”
Watch the webinar for more insights plus these Q&As
Questions from the audience answered in the video include:
- How do you balance the challenge of limited inventory with the desire to turn casual shoppers into high-intent buyers?
- How do you see online retail evolving?
- What staffing adjustments are you making for this new technology and process?
Head here to stream the replay of this webinar with Andrew Kuntze and Jason Thompson.