One of the fears associated with the rise of digital retail processes is the threat posed to traditional retail outlets – and, by extension, salespeople. The good news is Matt Weinberg is here to tell you that the death of the car salesperson has been greatly exaggerated.

Speaking at the Digital Dealer 25 conference in Las Vegas in October, Mr Weinberg, who is the Senior Vice President of Drive Motors, explained ‘How Ecommerce Transforms, Not Eliminates, Your Sales Team and Results in Amazing Customer Experience Online and Offline’.

With 20 years of leadership experience in the automotive industry, Mr Weinberg has consulted for more than 100 Dealer groups on internet sales processes and ecommerce and is a trusted advisor for Wards Auto Top 10 dealer groups, including Lithia, Asbury and Hendrick.

As new technology enables customers to complete their purchase without any interaction with a salesperson, many believe sales jobs will be eliminated. While ecommerce and self-service car-buying is on the rise, salespeople will not be replaced. According to Mr Weinberg, they are actually more important than ever.

Mr Weinberg’s session helped Dealers learn how to use ecommerce to transform their sales team into ‘product geniuses’. Delegates left his presentation equipped with expert insights and tactics for creating amazing customer experiences, both online and off.

New technology has fundamentally changed the car shopping and buying process. In order to be successful in the digital age Dealers need to learn how to optimise marketing, sales and operations for a modern car-buying experience.

Mr Weinberg said that, far from replacing sales jobs, new technology enables sales staff to become ‘product geniuses’ who provide expert insights to today’s well-informed buyers, delivering the right level of human interaction during the car-buying process.

By leveraging online checkout and digital showroom tools to streamline the sales process, Dealers improve the customer experience, win more customers and increase PVR.

Everyone is buying online

Buyers are accustomed to the convenience and speed of buying online. Half of them begin their purchase experience online and 65 per cent say they would consider purchasing online in future. A massive 85 per cent are more likely to buy from a Dealer with an online checkout.

Ecommerce drives growth

In 2016, ecommerce grew by around 5 per cent, double the rate of total retail. In 2017 that rose to 14 per cent, compared to just over 5 per cent for total retail. And in 2018 ecommerce growth is around 16 per cent, about four times the rate of total retail.

Car buyers still shop in-store

Mr Weinberg said most buyers still want to get the ‘fit and feel’ of a car as part of their 15-hour purchasing process. Fifteen per cent want to buy during the dealership visit, while 73 per cent want to see the vehicle before buying.

Mr Weinberg said Dealers needed to create the ‘ideal experience’ for consumers. He listed the keys to success for this as:

  1. Product geniuses that show and tell, not sell
  2. Seamless tools that streamline, not obstruct
  3. Flexible processes that fit customers, not an assembly line.

Technology transforms your staff

Technology enables your staff to become product geniuses and consultants, so invest in your people, giving them:

  1. Tools so they can instantly become experts on any vehicle
  2. Coaching to help them consult and advise incentives that remove pressure from the process
  3. Culture that encourages transparency at all levels.

Trust builds loyalty

Replacing commission-based roles with salaried product specialists shows trust and transparency and results in an incredible 60 per cent lower employee turnover.

Technology streamlines the journey

Mr Weinberg said technology streamlines the customer journey, accelerating the path to purchase. Dealers, therefore, should invest in their technology, including:

  1. A website that offers all the right details and uses clean design tools that seamlessly connect shoppers from sofa to store
  2. Online retailing native to your website for maximum trust
  3. Transparent desking that shoppers can easily understand
  4. Features that save time for both staff and shoppers.

Trust increases F&I profit

When online buyers trust your experience, they close and up-sell themselves with up to 50 per cent higher F&I penetration.
Technology customises the process
Technology makes your process flexible, so you can customise it for any buyer.

Invest in your process, via:

  1. Tools that enable staff to easily personalise the experience
  2. Framework that allows shoppers to navigate the process at their speed
  3. Follow-up tailored to shoppers’ stage in the funnel
  4. Technology that connects all aspects of the customer experience
  5. Flexibility to accelerate the sale.

Trust saves time

Letting shoppers order online builds trust and saves 2.5 hours on average.

Your action plan

  1. Transform your staff into product geniuses
    Streamline the journey with seamless tools
    Customise the process to fit customers.

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