Omnichannel Marketing and the Future of your Dealership

Move aside, Baby Boomers: U.S. Census Bureau projections suggest that Millennials will be the largest generation in American by 2019.  The Millennial Generation, whose pivotal years coincided with the incredible surge in digital growth, has changed the face of marketing. More and more, businesses need to respond with a tailored omnichannel approach that integrates marketing across social media, apps, and in person. With current car purchasers expecting to move seamlessly between online and offline channels, what does this mean for your dealership?

Omnichannel: Not Just a Buzzword

Omnichannel marketing has become a bit of a buzzword in the marketing field, but what does it actually mean? Firstly, it doesn’t mean that dealerships should stop focusing on excellent customer service in store and on the telephone.

It simply means that their top-notch service has to extend to more than one channel. Because that’s all omnichannel really is: making sure that your dealership is reflected well across all the devices and in all the services that your customers use.

Consumers in the digital age, particularly Millennials, are going to go through social media, apps, catalogs, and your website. And they’re going to do that on a variety of different devices: smartphone, tablet, laptop. For consumers, it’s confusing and disorienting if your messaging across these platforms doesn’t sync well.

In addition to forming a cohesive narrative about your business, this omnichannel marketing demands that consumers can research cars, get financing, and even complete purchases – all from the comfort of their own homes.

How Does Omnichannel Relate to Car Dealerships?

Before the advent of omnichannel marketing across digital platforms, car dealers dealt with a different set of challenges.  Less internet and research access meant that consumers required more education at the dealership before making a purchase. But digital engagement has changed all of that.

A recent Bain & Company survey of more than 5,000 car buyers suggests that more than 60% of customers already know what they want before they visit a dealership. Before ever stepping foot into your business, they’ve done their own web-based research and they know the make, model, and price of the vehicle they want. The majority of consumers begin their search for their dream car online. And 65% of surveyed respondents said they would consider buying a car online in the future.

These consumers expect to be able to move quickly and effortlessly between online and offline channels. For example, a current consumer might be within your brick and mortar car dealership while simultaneously looking up reviews of your establishment online. And since most car purchases take place over a life cycle of only nine weeks, it’s important to offer omnichannel experiences early and often.

How to use AutoFi to Integrate Omnichannel into your Dealership

It sounds overwhelming, but luckily the changing face of marketing has brought some truly incredible apps onto the market for dealerships.

You already know to integrate your social media presence with your website and highlight great reviews so that customers trust you from the start. But when it comes to providing an end-to-end purchasing solution for web-savvy consumers, you need a solution that anticipates consumers’ changing needs. The AutoFi app makes it easy to work with your customers.

Integrated with your dealership website

In keeping with omnichannel marketing, dealers need services that can integrate seamlessly with their pre-existing website. This way consumers can make a clean online transition from researching vehicles to actually making a purchase. AutoFi integrates with the website you already have to make it quicker and easier for consumers to switch channels from researching to purchasing.

Allows them to choose a car online

As previously stated, 60% of consumers already know what they’re buying before they get to the dealership. And with changing trends meaning that more and more consumers will want to make car purchases completely online, it’s important to partner with a service that offers that to consumers. With the AutoFi app, consumers can literally choose and purchase a car online.

Allows consumers to research financing and purchase online

After choosing the car of their dreams, consumers using AutoFi can easily integrate most of the aspects of the car-buying experience online: research, trade-in values, getting financing, signing financial documents, etc. Smooth, paperless transactions mean your customers are guided through the process with minimal stress. From there, all they have to do is go to the dealership and pick up the car.

There will always be those golden goose customers who respond to the traditional marketing techniques you’ve used for ages, but consumers in the Millennial generation will be looking for omnichannel solutions. Not only will they be looking to seamlessly switch between channels, but they’ll also increasingly want to complete entire transactions online. As a dealer, you don’t have to go it alone. Schedule a free demo with AutoFi to get started today.