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How to Become a Digital Retailer In 2018

From research to purchasing decisions, consumers are becoming more interested in doing the whole process on their own. They prefer things to be entirely self-serviced with limited human interactions. For this sole purpose, auto dealerships and retailers have started to embrace digital retailing.

Simply put, digital retailing is the process which allows consumers to easily maneuver and engage with your website during their sale journey. Digital retailing looks different from a consumer’s point of view than a retailer’s point of view. For consumers, digital retailing is seen through searching for a product and/or service, adding that item to the cart, confirming the price, and completing the purchase payment.

For retailers and dealers, digital retailing is assisting consumers with the deal-making process, including filling in the necessary paperwork, test driving, etc.). It also includes the actual face-to-face transaction.

What Does This Mean for The Automotive Industry?

By 2020, it is expected that the automotive industry’s investment will increase to around 82 billion USD as a result of the advancements in technology and growing digitalization. In order for this industry to continually meet customer demands, there is a strong need for implementing and investing in a digitally enhanced customer experience. This experience will start at the researching stage and go right through to the purchasing phase.

Car buying is no longer the source of stress that it used to be. Though the persuasive salespeople are still part of the industry, there are fewer tense negotiations. Consumers today are thoroughly researching vehicles online before they even enter a dealership. There are predictions that autonomous driving will become the norm. Retailers, who are not adopting technological services, are at constant risk of shutting down. These anchor stores are closing down because of the lack of advancements.

Nowadays, there is a significant emergence of crossover vehicles. Larger families need the benefits of SUV vehicles and family cars. SUV’s are spacious, but they aren’t practical nor are they fuel efficient. There is also a growing dependence on Big Data within the automotive industry. So, with all the changes how can you become a digital retailer in 2018? In this report, we’ll be going through how you can stay on top of the digital developments while advancing your business.

How to Become a Digital Retailer In 2018

Most, if not all, dealers can agree that digital transformation is vital for the dealership to remain competitive. Through keeping pace and evolving, disruptive technologies can also aid in that evolution. So, with 95% of the pre-purchasing research beginning online, the digital transformation of a business becomes very important.


  • Website


The state of your website can truly speak volumes about your business, whether that be good or bad. A user’s experience needs to be addressed for your website to perform well. If your website lacks in information, 71% of automotive website visitors will not take any further action. As a dealer, you have 5 to 30 seconds to gain the buyers attention. If your website is unable to do that, then you will be losing out on a possible sale.


  • Content and Social Media Strategy


A business’s social media strategy can either help or impede the business’s goals. Using supporting tools and platforms, your dealership can excel in all parts of their business. This includes having a statement of intent as well as outlining their aims and goals.

Setting up measurable goals and objectives to track social media and the traffic it brings. On top of that, it’s important to set and state the target outcomes that you’re wishing your social media channels will achieve.


  • Operational Restructuring


Dealerships are all social businesses. Each step pushes your dealership from a bricks and mortar business into an e-commerce model. All aspects of your dealership should be examined to ensure a smooth digital transformation process. Your employees will be vital to this process.

Employees are an important aspect while you are transforming your business into an e-commerce. It’s important to restructure your processes so that they are meeting your customers’ expectations. You should be sure to have frictionless transactions. Engage your employees in creating content to supply a healthy social media policy.


  • Dated Processes Impeding Your Performance


Customer preferences are continually changing with digital properties becoming more and more relevant. The customer has always been in charge, but now, more than ever, they are looking for a frictionless experience. Through the years, the automotive industry has done very little with their customer’as preferences and comments. With the constant technological disruption that has been happening, all industries are now scrambling to meet their customers’ demands.

2018 Trends to Look For

The rise of electric cars in 2018 is making this the top of the trends list in 2018. There are only a few manufacturers that produce electric cars, making it a wish-list item for most dealerships.

There is also a rise in car sharing but a drop in emotional attachments to vehicles. By 2030, it is forecasted that 1 out of 10 vehicles will be a shared vehicle. Cab hailing services, such as Uber and Lyft, are exploiting that statistic to their advantage.

3D Printing also became popular in 2017. That popularity will continue to grow in 2018, growing as far as the automotive industry. Larger manufacturers are already delving into the 3D vehicle printing field, but smaller manufacturers can also invest in it for its cost-effective nature.


So, with all the industry trends that are predicted to happen in 2018 and digital retailing becoming larger and larger, it’s no surprise that digital retailers are going to become even bigger in 2018. With the steps outlined above and the trends listed, you have all the necessary tools at your disposal to be a digital retailer for your dealership in 2018.

Teresa Jenkins
Teresa Jenkins
Marketing expert and freelance writer for CBT News

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