The road to ruling automotive sales in your backyard and beyond is a long one, and your dealership’s digital marketing strategy plays a pivotal role. With so much of the car–buyer’s journey taking place online, it’s crucial to be present when and where people are looking. Chances are, you already leverage and integrate digital marketing channels in some way. Let’s take that to a whole new level!
Stream Companies Bill Parlaman and DealerSocket’s Eric Giroux join forces for this special webinar to share best practices and real-world success stories to help you reach, capture, and convert more traffic.
Attendees will learn:
Register today to move your dealership forward on the journey to digital domination.
About the Presenters:
Bill Parlaman, Chief Marketing Officer, Stream Companies
Bill Parlaman is one of the founding thought leaders in digital marketing and Search Engine Optimization space. Prior to joining Stream, Bill founded his own inbound marketing agency where he helped hundreds of clients maximize their digital marketing efforts for maximum exposure, lead generation, and brand building. As Chief Marketing Officer, Bill has taken that experience into a leadership role at Stream Companies where he leads a team of sales and marketing professionals, foster client relationships, and enjoys partnering with dealers to solve their biggest sales and marketing problems.
Eric Giroux, VP, Product Management, DealerSocket
After spending time directing digital marketing for a 12-store automotive group in Kansas, Eric Giroux became one of the early members of the DealerFire team. There, he oversaw relationships with some of the largest automotive groups in the country and helped steer dealer and product strategy. Now, as VP of Product Management at DealerSocket, Eric leads a global team of specialists in building web-based software. Most notably, he served as the lead Product Manager DealerFire’s website platform, as well as DealerSocket’s digital retailing solution.
CARRBORO, N.C. — TradePending, the leader in data-driven trade-in tools and dynamic inventory merchandising, today announced that DealerSocket, Inc., a leading SaaS provider to the automotive industry, has chosen its SNAP API to power trade-in valuations for its award-winning PrecisePrice digital retail solution.
Launched in 2016, the SNAP API now powers 26 of the automotive industry’s most influential digital retailing, finance, and chat solutions. The API provides instant access to real-time vehicle listing data and TradePending’s valuation methodology. The goal is to ensure that consumers have a seamless and uniform experience when valuing their trade-ins through any channel on a dealer’s website. When a consumer visits a dealer’s website using both TradePending’s SNAP trade-in tool and DealerSocket’s SNAP API-powered PrecisePrice tool, the consumer receives the same trade-in values and local market customizations across all products.
“We’re thrilled to partner with DealerSocket. We both share the common goals of providing more transparency and simplicity in the car buying process,” said TradePending CEO Brice Englert. “By implementing the SNAP API, DealerSocket provides its more than 9,000 dealer customers with access to a digital retailing solution with the most modern, accurate, and effective trade-in valuation methodology on the market today.”
Critical to the success of the trade-in process is providing real-time and localized market data. TradePending continues to be the only solution that operates on as tight a radius as possible from a specific ZIP code, measuring local retail “ask prices.” This methodology adjusts values based upon a proprietary matrix of reduction calculations, as well as retail supply and demand forces. Most importantly, TradePending updates these values daily to stay aligned with the market.
“If the past few months have proven anything, it’s that trade-in valuations need to be based on real-time data from the retail market, and localized to the consumer’s location,” Englert continued. “Using book values or wholesale prices based upon national averages or large regional areas provides consumers with inaccurate values. Nothing erodes confidence in a dealership more quickly than when a consumer feels like they’re being misled about the value of their car. Our transparent approach, easily enabled for other partners via the SNAP API, creates more realistic conversations and better outcomes for consumers and dealers alike.”
PrecisePrice empowers dealers to deliver a true omnichannel buying experience, allowing car shoppers to engage the platform’s self-desking capabilities online, then save and retrieve their deal at a later time or in the dealership’s showroom. The functionality also allows BDC staffers and showroom salespeople to guide phone-in and walk-in shoppers through the PrecisePrice buying process on a mobile device.
“Aggregated data we collected during the height of COVID-19 shelter-in-place orders shows that consumers continued to initiate trade appraisals through online lead forms,” Darren Harris, executive vice president and general manager of retail solutions at DealerSocket. “That tells us that online trade evaluations represent a key opportunity for dealers. That’s why we’re excited to partner with TradePending, which has developed a quick and mobile-friendly process that sets up dealers to have meaningful conversations with in-market customers.”
Right now, keeping your customers protected and engaged is more important than ever. If you’re just letting your digital retail solution run on auto-pilot, now is the time to really optimize the process so your dealership can stimulate and sustain consumer demand.
Read about 8 things you can do today to take your digital retail to the next level in our free guide!
Now is not the time for a wait-and-see approach, especially if your dealership can offer a digital buying experience to your customers.
By Gregory Arroyo
I recall a conversation I had with an industry attorney during the early days of digital retailing. Technology vendors believed the Digital Age had arrived, while dealers were saying, “Not so fast.” My question to my attorney friend was, “What’s the holdup.”
He said the problem is dealers aren’t treating digital retailing as an experience — that customers should be rewarded for taking that path to purchase. He suggested that dealerships with separate facilities for fleet sales should consider directing digital buyers there vs. the showroom.
He then relayed his recent experience purchasing his second vehicle from the same dealership. He called the store, explained that he was a willing buyer who simply wanted to update to a newer model, and negotiated the deal over the phone. Expecting the red-carpet treatment for essentially being a rollover, he felt disappointed when he discovered he’d have to wait like the other customers in front of him.
That conversation came to mind when I came across Urban Science’s “Around the Bend: How COVID-19 Impacts the Next Normal for Dealers,” a report based on an online poll of 1,506 adult consumers. It serves as an update to the firm’s August 2019 report, which served as a reality check for digital retailing.
The 2019 study, which included responses from 2,001 consumers, concluded that car buyers weren’t ready to ditch the dealership experience because they still want to kick the tires and take a test-drive. Respondents also said they still needed someone at the dealership to guide them through the process.
I wrote about why I think that represents an opportunity for digital retailing in an April 2020 blog entry, “Digital Retailing’s True Test.” However, I’d like to share an even greater opportunity revealed in this year’s updated study.
See, while the report did show that a majority of consumers still believe buying a car is too big of an investment not to see (81%) or test-drive (79%), it did show that 67% would be more open to buying online if it was a brand or dealership with which they were already familiar.
Again, my convo with my attorney friend came to mind, but so did a discussion I had with a DealerSocket Strategic Growth Manager. He said the main reason some dealers fail to realize the full potential of data mining is because they don’t have a dedicated process. Well, based on that stat from Urban Science, maybe a digital retailing represents a missing link.
Take those data-mining campaigns targeting customers approaching the end of their lease or who qualify for smart payment offers. The emails could contain links to a landing page that explains your offer and a link to a streamlined buying process powered by your digital retail tool.
Back in April, another DealerSocket Strategic Growth Manager told me about a Pennsylvania-based dealer group that was rewarded for having a service-drive sales process when the pandemic forced local officials to limit dealers there to appointment-only sales that concluded with service-drive deliveries.
Before the pandemic, the process delivered 100 units a month behind two dedicated salespeople, a sales manager, and an F&I manager, who actually has a dedicated desk (with enough privacy) in the service area. The reason for that is the group wanted that buying experience to feel different and free of pressure.
The group equips the sales team with its inventory management tool’s mobile app (Inventory+) to feed appraisers with scanned VINs and photos of every car that comes into service. The appraisers then prepare a package that includes a vehicle history report, documentation on the vehicle’s going price in the local market, its fair Kelley Blue Book value, a check voucher for an amount over that value, and the salesperson’s business card.
Signage in the service drive lets customers know they can get a free vehicle evaluation by texting a specific number or talking to their service advisor. All customers get an appraisal, but the hand-raisers represent high-value targets the sales team engages.
However, even customers who don’t bite get the appraisal package. They also get enrolled into a CRM-powered campaign that includes email and a phone call — the latter scheduled for the day after the customer’s service visit to ensure satisfaction and to revisit the offer sheet.
I can see three potential opportunities in that process for digital retailing to have an impact. Maybe it’s a kiosk in the service area loaded with a digital retail tool like DealerSocket’s PrecisePrice; perhaps it’s tablets. Whatever the case, digital retail should be a part of those follow-up efforts, whether it’s a link in an email or guiding customers through the process over the phone and emailing a link to their PrecisePrice deal.
And just maybe that buyer’s journey you create in the service drive serves as the entrance for sales opportunities your data-mining efforts generate.
While 93% of respondents to the Urban Science study expressed some concern with an entirely online purchase process, more than two-thirds said they were comfortable shopping online, signing paperwork digitally, and negotiating price and terms via email, chat, or phone.
Recently, the individual leading the digital drive for one of the largest privately-owned dealer groups in the United States addressed DealerSocket employees over a Zoom call. He talked about COVID-19’s impact, inventory shortages, the group’s efforts to build that clicks-to-bricks experience, and how consumers still need to be educated on what digital retailing is. What caught my attention was his response to whether he believed consumers still want the showroom experience.
“Absolutely … Only a small group of individuals want the Carvana model, and we’re going to be there,” he said. “But most customers want to step foot in a brick-and-mortar shop. If they want to get their payment, we’ll do that and meet them in the showroom.
“So, we believe a critical point in that process is that showroom experience,” he added. “You shouldn’t lose a customer who completed things online because you told them it would take 45 minutes, but it takes us three hours.”
A valuable part of the modern buyer's journey, your digital retail tool is vital to keeping your customers engaged.
If you’re just letting your digital retail solution run on auto-pilot, now is the time to really optimize the process so your dealership can stimulate and sustain consumer demand.
In this free guide, 8 Ways Digital Retailing Can Stimulate & Sustain Consumer Demand, we'll cover:
See the digital retailing tool that configures perfect payments in real-time, increases back-end gross by up to 17%, and delivers a closing ratio up to 9% higher than other internet lead providers.