With the 2021 Subaru Business Conference right around the corner, retailers now have tremendous momentum to close the year strong. From the 2022 WRX getting the blood pumping of Subaru enthusiasts to the Wilderness line taking a step in the decidedly rugged direction—the product is in place.
And with a legacy of awards from consumer ratings organizations and the brand loyalty to back it up—the focus is on the customer.
Walking away from the 2021 Subaru Business Conference, let’s lean into delivering on the needs of car-buyers who are increasingly digital natives and looking to make important purchases online.
Below are 5 steps for Subaru retailers to make each customer a star with digital retail:
Solid Foundation: What is your digital retail branding and merchandising from a shopper’s perspective?
Look at your website like an in-market shopper. What are you exposed to on the homepage? As you navigate to inventory, are you informed and reminded of how much of the buying process can be done online?
Take a step back. Are your shoppers seeing customer-details of your process as they consume photos and information about the vehicle? Is there information ‘“above the fold” on the VDP and SRP/VLPs where shoppers spend most of their time? How about CTA succinctness and clarity?
Mystery Shop Yourself: Are you treated like a stone cold buyer, or just a lead to be captured?
In the early 2000s many of us returned from 20-group meetings and called our front desks and phone trees with results that frequently had us revise messages, routing, and processes. Take that same initiative and conduct a digital retail mystery shop of your own retailer today, ideally in the evening when more than ⅓ of apps come through the AutoFi platform.
Does your technology and process meet you where you are, or is it littered with unsatisfying conclusions like “Someone at the dealership will follow up with you”?
How do these ambiguous messages resonate with a digital native who creates a digital inquiry, and receives an analog follow-up 8-hours later? Keep the star shining bright with your shoppers by delivering real-time customer facing offers of credit.
Your Existing Customers are Shoppers Too: Are you introducing your modern selling branding and process to your existing owner base?
In the last 18 months, has your owner base (and unsold prospects from 2+ years ago) been kept in the loop on advances in the digital journey?
Nurturing these owners and prospects with newsletters, videos, and links to social content on the new experience can keep them informed and educated about how buying a car today is easier than ever, while keeping your dealerships top-of-mind.
Pragmatically, these can yield great conversations and potential trades in the near-term. From a strategic standpoint, however, think about how conversations will go with these owners in 2022 or 2023 when you have nurtured them to expect a streamlined shopping experience. When they walk in already having submitted an online deal, accepted an offer of credit, and set an appointment, your staff will be set up to minimize time and eliminate friction for your most important repeat customers.
Deliver on your Online Merchandising: Are you delivering on the “convenient/easy” promise once your customers visit you in-person?
Whether it’s via mystery shopping or reviewing survey responses or a combination of both, you have the ability to inspect what you expect here. I’ve even had success sitting in the lounge with GMs and encouraging them to watch the showroom experience with fresh eyes.
Are customers who have done work online returned to the very beginning of the process when they enter the showroom? Are customers asked for their name and basic information 6 different times throughout the experience? Is there POP in your retail showroom that aligns with your digital retail branding and merchandising?
Reinforcing expectations with real-world delivery of an experience will keep the Stars in your orbit, and prevent them from shooting out the door.
Customers Listen to Other Customers: Are you maximizing the resonance of your messaging with customer reviews?
You’ve done it. Your customer started her journey online, you brought her in at a time that works for her and picked up the journey where they left off; she even thanked the F&I manager for making the paperwork process easy. Awesome work; you and your team deserve to feel proud and continue making customers happy. And you deserve to share this sentiment!
Ensure that you include customer sentiment on your website and social channels. Stars pick up on the positive experiences of other Stars—pretty soon you’ll have a constellation.
Create customer joy and trust with AutoFi’s holistic, seller-focused functionality that presents your pricing, your protection products, Subaru Accessories, SMF and 40+ other lenders, and your rate markups to 100% of your customers 100% of the time. Request a demo to learn more about AutoFi!