Omicron and Automotive Employee Shortages: How digital retail can help now

Staffing shortages from the pandemic are worsening across the economy, especially in automotive. Yesterday more than 1000 American domestic flights were cancelled for a record 12th straight day, and the main cause is employees calling in sick dealing with COVID. In automotive, our team in the field hears daily from dealers struggling with headcounts, even though they’re also still struggling with inventory shortages.

So how can a digital retail solution help dealers sell more—and at greater margins—with fewer salespeople? 

Make your best people more efficient
Chances are some of the folks calling in sick aren’t all your top performers. The Great Resignation is contributing to the shortage as well. Dealers using AutoFi see a 20% jump in conversion rates; in other words, if your highest-converting salespeople are given digital tools designed specifically to move customers down the funnel—the gains compound quickly. 

Streamline your CTAs so you don’t waste employee time
Too many dealer sites still present too many calls-to-action (CTAs). Some present up to 10 buttons on the homepage alone purporting to help customers with chat, text, support, inventory questions, F&I queries, and beyond. Besides confusing customers at a pivotal moment as they enter the funnel, this approach means having a lot of trained staff members on hand to help, which of course is a problem when literally five million Americans are currently in quarantine.

You are responsible for protecting the increasingly-valuable time of your staff and ensuring that customers looking to purchase move to the head of the queue. This can be accomplished in part by consolidating the 10 CTA buttons on your homepage into a single “Shop Now” button guiding the customer down a streamlined buying path. 

Offer customers more flexible tools, so your staff can be more flexible too
Your point of sale needs to be flexible enough to accommodate customers however they prefer to transact, at every stage of the funnel. Customers want to decide for themselves exactly how much of their buying journeys will be digital, and how much will happen in person. As you already know, it’s suboptimal that your already-thin sales team has to waste time trying to get every customer to come in or enter information they could easily do themselves. 

Another great example is the 24/7/365 nature of digital retail. Customers can shop after hours from home, after the showroom closes. In fact, 38% of credit applications on AutoFi are submitted after dealership hours.

Present consumers with precise payments at the VIN and local level
The days of tax and trade-in estimates are over. Today’s customers expect transparent, penny-precise amounts for taxes, fees, rebates, trade-ins, accessories, and any other costs associated with a vehicle purchase. Every minute saved by a digital retail solution providing the real deal, is a minute handed back to your depleted staff.

We all hope both the automotive employee shortage and the latest wave of the pandemic go away quickly, but for now the best thing you can do for your dealership is put your best available team members in positions to succeed with the best digital retail solutions available. Get started today.