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Digital retailing: What makes a good eCommerce platform? – Ryan Osten | Gubagoo

Digital retailing has become particularly popular among car dealers and consumers over the last three years. But to remain competitive, dealers must not only have the right tools but also the right strategies. On this episode of Inside Automotive, we find out how dealers can bridge the gap between the online and in-store shopping experiences with Ryan Osten, Executive Vice President at Gubagoo, an eCommerce platform offering solutions for the modern auto industry.

In many ways, the COVID pandemic served as the catalyst for online retailing in the dealership, radically (and permanently) transforming the auto-industry landscape. Osten notes that the new format places dealers in contact with more customers and more competition than ever before. “Over the last ten years, we’ve really gone from a world where dealers were selling and competing largely locally…now they’re competing nationally,” he explains. “You’re selling a suite of undifferentiated products…you’re selling [the same products] against all of these dealers.”

Osten argues that with so many competing businesses and limited product variations, the only way dealers can truly set themselves apart is through service: in other words, service is their product. Digital retail is one of the most beneficial ways to improve service quality due to its convenience and efficiency. However, while its advantages are numerous, there are several key areas that many platforms miss the mark in their efforts to improve consumer relations.

Payment transparency

Many online retailing platforms use different calculation algorithms to offer vehicle quotes or estimate payments. Unfortunately, the wide variety of tools makes it difficult for dealers to ensure accuracy, leading many customers to discover that the in-store deal is more expensive than what they were shown online. This can create transparency and trust issues, explains Osten. He urges dealers to select platforms which generate consistent estimates across sites, notify retailers when quotes are offered and allow salespeople to give buyers the same deal seen online.

Financing speed

The financing process can be stressful for consumers, but many online platforms struggle to complete their approvals in a reasonable timeframe. One of the major benefits of digital retailing is its convenience, but if buyers are waiting longer than necessary for a loan to process, they can become frustrated with the car-buying experience. Osten urges dealers to add tools that offer real-time lender decisions to their websites.

In-store experience

“We all know that the majority of customers are going to start online and finish in-store,” explains Osten. Dealers should focus on building “a seamless experience that allows customers to pick up where they left off and use the same tool that they used online,” he adds. Tools allowing salespeople to view the buyer journey online reduce the time shoppers need to spend in the dealership.

In conclusion, dealers should remember that today’s consumers prefer efficiency in all areas, regardless of whether their car-buying journey starts online or in-store. “When you think of what customers care about,” notes Osten, “they’re always going to want [the transaction] to be faster.” At the end of the day, no buyer will ever complain that a deal is too fast.

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Colin Velez
Colin Velez
Colin Velez is a staff writer/reporter for CBT News. After obtaining his bachelor’s in Communication from Kennesaw State University in 2018, he kicked off his writing career by developing marketing and public relations material for various industries, including travel and fashion. Throughout the next four years, he developed a love for working with journalists and other content creators, and his passion eventually led him to his current position. Today, Colin writes news content and coordinates stories with auto-industry insiders and entrepreneurs throughout the U.S.

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