2021 offers an extremely promising year with the implementation of new technologies adding to the automotive value chain, and digital automotive retailing is predicted to see an observable lift.  - IMAGE: WHO_I_AM via GettyImages.com

2021 offers an extremely promising year with the implementation of new technologies adding to the automotive value chain, and digital automotive retailing is predicted to see an observable lift. 

IMAGE: WHO_I_AM via GettyImages.com

There is no overstating the speed at which the world has migrated to online shopping for their products considering the impacts of COVID-19, possibly for good. The same goes for the automotive industry, with much of it propelled by the comfort in placing orders online compared to in-person during the pandemic. 

To truly deliver an optimal auto retail experience for consumers in an online space, there are quite a few actions that must be successfully put together to produce consistent and transparent messaging through each step of the process.

Digital Shopping > Brick and Mortar

Mainly among younger car shoppers, digital retailing has become an attractive outlet for them to shop through dealers that offer that service. According to a study by McKinsey, less than a third of younger consumers today want to shop for their next car in-person at the dealership, and a larger number of these individuals are interested in contactless service as well.

Not to mention, according to a report from Cars.com, 48% of today’s consumers would like to handle price negotiations online, and another 42% say they want to handle financing online as well, including being able to obtain accurate payments online.

To truly deliver an optimal auto retail experience for consumers in an online space, there are quite a few actions that must be successfully put together to produce consistent and transparent messaging through each step of the process.

The automotive retail space is currently shifting to a more user-friendly model that promotes convenience among today’s most popular internet retail portals. In order to successfully deliver on this shift, the industry is starting to implement science, technology, and data to create a streamlined consumer experience. 

One main factor upon the success of this shift is the data. There is no shortage of data. There are data sets that can display what the trends were 90 days ago, even statistically advise the best route to go moving on. Although, without tactical implementation of this data with science and innovation, it’s virtually useless. But, there are platforms that bring together all essential data points needed to settle at a scientifically perfect, transactable solution for the customer. Today, the industry has the most informative analytics platform ever designed to make educated, tactical, and profitable decisions. 

The most promising solutions are created, in mind, to mobilize dealerships to succeed in digital retailing and modernize the way manufacturers and lenders build deals to win market share – without going over budget. 

The Technological Space

What empowers the automotive digital retail ecosystem is a thorough database containing all parameters, policies, and factors that can influence an automotive sale or lease: every lender program, every manufacturer rebate and incentive, every municipality tax and fee, and every term and condition under which each dealership is willing to do business. Additionally, today’s trusted programs provide an honest representation of the five major automotive sectors necessary for a successful transaction, online or in-store. 

  • Manufacturer: Every model and trim offered by every manufacturer and all respective incentives and rebates including compatibility and “stackability” rules, as well as VIN-specific, option package–specific, regional-specific, and dealership-specific targeted offers.
  • Lender: Every published program offered by each lender in the country, including all parameters, policies, and factors that can influence any automotive transaction.
  • Dealer: Each dealer’s individual selling price rules, lender relationships, fees, reserve policies, and all other required terms and conditions.
  • Municipality and Government: All state, county, and local laws, rules, regulations, calculation methodologies, tax percentage rates and registration fees, and DMV calculations.
  • Consumer: All consumer credit bands, and how those are segmented and considered by every manufacturer and lender.

How to Capitalize

In order for this new system to provide maximum results, dealers, lenders, and manufacturers should be put together in a comprehensive system that displays all the information from each entity in one place and how they can work together to build, offer, and transact. This technology requires a solution that mines, analyzes, and organizes the billions of combinations and iterations of all lender and manufacturer programs available in the marketplace. The strategy should allow everyone at the table to win — stakeholders, dealers, lenders, and manufacturers will all benefit when the customer receives their product without the dispute of misinformation. 

Today’s greatest and most beneficial solutions enhance the consumer experience and the showroom process by digitally presenting all transactional options to customers with full transparency. As a result, the process is streamlined to eliminate long transaction times and will drive dealership efficiencies and margins and execute customer satisfaction at the highest level.  

Rusty West is president of Market Scan Information Systems and has more than three decades worth of experience developing leading data and technology-based solutions for the automotive industry. 

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