We know consumers are information-hungry, as it drives their car buying decisions. Sixty-five percent of consumers spend over a month researching their next purchase, according to Deloitte; with 31 percent spending more than three months researching. To meet this consumer demand, we need to be proactive and rethink how we present our inventory in a manner that stimulates consumer engagement. Plus, utilize real-time analytics for refining how information is shared.

When shoppers visit your website and start digging into your inventory, they instinctively go to your vehicle detail pages. Here is where the real level of engagement occurs. Keep your customers actively connected to your inventory with digital portfolio presentations. A digital vehicle portfolio is an organized collection of essential documents that provide a full perspective into the vehicle offerings to build value and create consumer trust. Leverage a tool that allows you to customize your shoppers’ experience, to include documents such as:

  • original OEM window stickers
  • recon investment invoice
  • CARFAX reports
  • original OEM brochures
  • photos and video

In addition, you should also include options for credit and financing services that can help expedite the sales process. Eliminate the shoppers’ need to go elsewhere to get the desired information they seek.

Recently I came across an August 2020 report from Winterberry Group, “The Drive for Data – The Future of Automotive Marketing in a Customer-Centric World,” sponsored by Treasure Data. It outlines many shortcomings in that the auto industry continues to struggle with engaging consumers with an effective digital retailing experience. In the report, it cites “the harsh reality that a significant amount of dealership digital retailing experience for consumers is resoundingly poor”. In general, digital retailing, especially with independent dealerships, lacks detailed information that consumers are seeking as part of their car buying efforts. And as an industry, we are missing an opportunity to have meaningful engagement with our car buyers.

In the report, a senior OEM executive said, “Our old understanding of the sales funnel is dead. It’s no longer linear and we have to meet customers, wherever and whenever they want, with relevant content.” As we begin to understand this more digital-age shopper, we need a more automated approach to our method of communicating features, benefits and ultimately, ask for the sale. Leverage a solution that makes your job easier, not harder. It would be ideal for ease of use if it is fully integrated into your CRM, DMS and IMS systems that you use every day. 

Behavior and interest routinely change so make it a practice to stay informed with how your web content is performing. Just like managing your website’s SEO, you need to stay in tune with what information is holding your shoppers’ interests. Using a solution that offers real-time analytics and web page heat mapping technology, will help you understand what information is capturing your shopper’s attention and for how long. Take advantage of this information by creating a lead gen email campaign that features window stickers or your recon investment, plus organize your portfolio modules based on shopper interest. In addition, utilize data analytics available to develop an understanding of your shoppers’ behaviors and what drives their decision-making process.

Moving into 2022, we need to rethink how we want our digital retailing experience to evolve with our new online shopping reality. As we’ve experienced over the last two years with the pandemic, our online shopping behavior has transformed into a more information-driven experience. Don’t be left behind, in your ability to connect with your customers and capture more sales effectively. It’s time to be proactive versus reactive

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