Over the Curb: Preparing for the Recovery

May 5, 2020

DealerSocket’s Over the Curb blog visits with a longtime industry veteran who had a lot to say about digital retailing and what’s holding it up.

By Gregory Arroyo

Judy Greeby spent more than two decades working retail before making the jump to the provider side in 2006. Asked for her take on digital retailing, she says, “I would absolutely love to have Judy Greeby, Strategic Growth ManagerDealerSocket’s PrecisePrice in my store. It would be all over my site: ‘Getting your best price and creating your own deal is as easy as 1-2-3.’”

For the last 13 years, Greeby has served as a Strategic Growth Manager for DealerSocket. During a recent chat about how dealerships are navigating the COVID-19 pandemic, she shared a few thoughts on digital retailing and how dealers can shorten the learning curve for consumers, who she believes are still intimidated by the tool.

She likens the problem to a dealership she worked for when she first entered the business. Located in a tough neighborhood, the dealership was secured by a black, wrought-iron fence that wrapped the facility.

“I used to tell that dealer, ‘You shouldn’t paint the wrought iron black if you want people to see through it,’” she says. “And when people pulled in, they felt trapped. Same thing with the website.”

The problem is car buyers are trained not to hit those call-to-action buttons unless committed to a purchase, she says, as they know most CTAs lead to a lead form. “We need to help customers understand how simple and how non-obligating it would be to use these digital retailing tools,” she says, adding that dealers need to be careful about gating their digital retail experience too soon.

“Let the customer get through parts of the process or the entire process,” she says. “At some point, they’ll say, ‘Here’s a payment I can afford. Let’s move forward and click.'”

Thinking out loud, Greeby also wonders if those digital retail CTA buttons need to be replaced by pop-ups that encourage customers to try the tool. “I was just talking to a GM about this the other day,” she says. “He clicked on one of his store’s websites and said, ‘Look at this. It asks the customer to click here for the best price, then below that is their PrecisePrice digital retail button.”

We agreed that if anything is redeeming about COVID-19, it’s that the period has helped move the digital retail conversation beyond whether it’s a good idea to move parts of the finance process upstream. And I have a feeling those learnings will be on display during our industry’s recovery, which, according to several market watchers, is officially underway.

Greeby did share one recommendation outside of the digital retailing discussion, and it’s one I’d like to close this blog entry with because it speaks to the current environment. She suggests that dealers have their detail teams certify when a vehicle is cleaned by placing hangtags inside that read: “Sanitized on May 5, 2020.” That single step, Greeby believes, will go a long way with today’s skittish consumer.

“The physical inventory on your lot needs to be your No. 1 priority right now and making sure your virtual showroom is up to snuff,” she advises. “That means getting cars cleaned up, and doing all I can in terms of merchandising.”

Gregory Arroyo is the former editor of “F&I and Showroom” and “Auto Dealer Today” magazines. He now serves as senior manager of strategic content for DealerSocket. Email him at garroyo@dealersocket.com.