Powering digital commerce for big dealer groups

The challenges for large dealer groups are very similar to those across automotive: inventory is low, forcing customers to expand the scope of their search for new vehicles. Consumers are much less hesitant to drive 90 minutes to find the right car at the right price, especially when the time spent at the dealership is drastically reduced. 

Of course there’s not too much a dealer can do about a world-wide chip shortage largely created by a global pandemic, but what groups can control is the quality of their customers’ digital retail experiences. Whether you’re a regional group looking to move up the WardsAuto Megadealer 100 or a group that’s just beginning to grow, the right digital commerce platform can make your website more transactional. In this environment that means capitalizing on your local presence while giving customers the choice whether to conduct each step of the buying process at home, on the go, or in the showroom.

It’s therefore imperative for big dealer groups to see “digital retailing” as “retailing.” In other words, don’t treat DR as a segmented experience relegated to the internet department. Instead, your dealer group should see it as a strategy that streamlines your entire sales process. As JD Power & Associates said in its 2020 U.S. Sales Satisfaction Index (SSI) Study, “Nearly one in four buyers say their purchase experience during the pandemic will make them less likely to shop in person in the future, indicating that digital retail processes are here to stay.”

What does this mean for your group? It means you likely already have a retail footprint, a recognizable brand, a well-trained staff, and capital investments in inventory; what’s missing are the back-end solutions that significantly improve the car-buying experience for customers. Your website might have a slick look and feel but if the forms customers fill out just tell them “someone from the dealership will be in contact,” you’re not meeting their expectations of a transactional experience and they’ll look elsewhere.

Your website might have a slick look and feel but if the forms customers fill out don’t connect directly to financing you’re wasting your customers’ time, and they know it. 

Different groups have different needs. Some have a large regional operation and want a single marketplace with transactable inventory across their dozens of rooftops. Others prefer tier 3 websites that incorporate online deposits and distance-based-fees for at-home delivery—for every single dealership in the portfolio. 

We know this because the AutoFi platform powers 4 of the 6 largest public dealer groups in the country, bringing joy and trust to the retail process. 

If you’re looking for a platform that enables a streamlined online selling experience, performs at scale for large groups, and is flexible enough to support a tailored online strategy from apps to deposits and distance-based-delivery fees… shouldn’t you be powered by AutoFi too?