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Don’t Throw The Baby Out With The Bathwater

Dont throw baby out with bath water

Are you holding back on offering a digital retail solution to your customers? 

Do you say: “Not all customers want to buy online”?

You may have read the Cox Automotive Future of Digital Retail study that reported only 11% surveyed would buy a car entirely online. The majority still want to test drive a vehicle and finish any paperwork in person. 

Car dealers use these statistics to rationalize why they are not engaging in digital retail. There’s a fundamental misunderstanding, and, in some cases, it misrepresents digital retail. It is not a magic button that transforms a dealership into Amazon. It isn’t. Let me repeat:

“Adding a widget to a dealership’s website and walking away is not digital retail.”

Keeping It Real

Real digital retail empowers online consumers with access to critical information online that influences purchase decisions. Dealership websites that employ actual digital retail enable customers to structure their deal, get actual trade information, and a firm offer of credit in advance. 

Buyers complete these steps at their own pace- saving time on the lot for both dealers and customers. Digital relationships develop while consumers move further into the sales funnel. At the same time, it increases the probability of buying a vehicle. 

It doesn’t mean that customers don’t value a physical retail space. We’re now seeing “online-only” businesses move into the physical retail domain. Take, for example, Warby Parker or Casper. Both are businesses that started with zero physical locations and now have retail storefronts open nationwide.  

The Blended Approach

Customers want a blended approach to purchasing. The buying process must be on their terms and in a way that makes the most sense for them. Just like dealerships, no two customers are the same. 

Take Warby Parker, for example. When selecting a new pair of glasses, consumers want to explore the options online first. Then, maybe a week or two later, they see a retail store and stop in to try on a few. Then they buy their favorite pair of glasses through the website. 

Welcome to the modern purchase process. Automotive customers are looking for this blended approach when purchasing a vehicle. 


My favorite example is the meteoric value growth for Domino’s Pizza since they introduced the pizza tracker app. The company has grown by over 3000% since 2010, with roughly 60% of its pizzas ordered through their app. 

That means that 40% of customers are still calling in an order or stopping by to pick up a hot and ready. Domino’s committed to selling pizza to its customers regardless of their preferred method of purchase. 

It should be the same for dealerships. It’s time to quit dismissing digital retail using the old rationale that “not all customers” want to buy online. 

11% Grows to 83%…

Digital retail helps automotive dealerships increase market share and profitability. It streamlines the customer experience by allowing customers to do more of the purchase steps online. Yes, digital retail saves time when a buyer enters the store. That’s a good thing!

As we drill down a little further, a Cox Automotive Study indicated that 83% of customers want to do one or more steps of the purchase process online. Doesn’t it make sense to provide a platform solution that captures this business? 

Dismissing digital retail because “not all customers” desire to buy online means a dealership is ignoring revenue opportunities. 

The percentage of customers that want to review is growing steadily. Why lose their business? Why lose it in months or years to come.

Like my dad used to say, don’t throw out the baby with the bathwater.

Discover the impact on customer satisfaction when a dealership does not have the right systems and processes in place for digital retail: Don’t Go Breaking Their Heart by Joe St. John.

Set up a demo today with AutoFi and step into the digital retail revolution.