As a family-owned and operated dealership for over 60 years with close ties to its community, J. Bertolet Volkswagen was struck hard by the COVID-19 shutdown and the rapid shift to digital.
Like many other dealerships, J. Bertolet quickly adopted two digital retailing tools to accommodate the transition to online. However, these tools didn’t meet J. Bertolet’s end goal of a customizable, intuitive tool that created a truly end-to-end experience. This led them to Upstart Auto Retail.
Andy Vigoda, Sales Specialist and Finance Manager at J. Bertolet, first heard of Upstart Auto Retail through a webinar that showcased a connected path from online to in-store. Best of all, the team was impressed with Upstart Auto Retail’s customer compatibility.
J. Bertolet selected Upstart’s connected retailing experience to enable their customers to start the car-buying experience online and transition easily to an in-store experience. Upon entering the showroom, the customer could now be greeted by a sales rep who had all their pre-filled online information on an iPad, eliminating back-and-forth and building trust as they work alongside the customer.
Our approach is not direct or in the customer’s face – this way, we can let the customer control what they want to control,
increase in back-end profit
lead-to-sale rate compared to 10% national average
With a small and nimble staff, the J. Bertolet team was able to get up and running with the Upstart Auto Retail platform in less than a month – an experience which Vigoda described as ‘seamless’ since they had a dedicated Dealer Success Manager from Upstart train them on the tool in-person at the dealership.
Upstart is worth a try for every dealership of every size – it can be customized for just about anyone
Higher Close Rates
Since launching with Upstart Auto Retail, J. Bertolet’s lead-to-sale rate has grown to 40 percent compared to the national average of 10 percent. Additionally, since signing with Upstart, J. Bertolet had the highest lead-to-sale rate in the country in June 2022.
This success is partially attributable to the customization and experimentation enabled by the Upstart Auto Retail platform, such as different lead gate placements in the online shopping experience. When J. Bertolet first went live, they placed the lead gate on the first page in the online buying process, but after collaborating with their Dealer Success Manager on best practices, they placed the lead gate towards the end of the process. This enabled their customers to evaluate their payment options without getting bombarded with emails upfront, and they were, therefore, more likely to complete the process.
Increase in PVR
With the ease of adding and bundling additional products, including accessories and protection plans, using Upstart Auto Retail, J. Bertolet has seen a 400 percent increase in back-end profit. This goes hand-in-hand with the dealership’s philosophy of keeping the customer in control, enabling a more natural selling style where customers can easily browse add-ons they want versus pushing products.
Higher Customer Retention
Upstart Auto Retail has also enabled J. Bertolet to build stronger customer trust and loyalty, as their customer retention rate is over 70 percent. Online retail has also attracted new Millennial and Gen Z borrowers between 25 and 45, who are more accustomed to transacting online. “Our motto is sell to sell again, and Upstart is helping us deliver on that mission,” said Vigoda.
Looking ahead, J. Bertolet’s goal is to have a 100 percent digital retailing experience that is seamless from start to finish. “Having that Manager’s Dashboard is great since I have everything I need to know about a deal on the iPad and don’t have to be in-store to sell,” said Vigoda – which is one step towards that end goal.
In the meantime, Vigoda looks forward to collaborating with the Upstart team on upleveling the product.