Welcome to another edition of Inside Automotive with Jim Fitzpatrick. Our guest today is Pete MacInnis, CEO of eLEND Solutions, who is here to talk about the findings in a new dealer study titled: In the Post Pandemic New Normal, Where Does Digital Retailing End?
The report reveals positive progress in the adoption of digital retailing by U.S. auto dealers, as well as ongoing challenges as the industry moves into the new post-pandemic normal. Let’s take a deep dive into the study results.
One of the study highlights confirms that the pandemic accelerated the adoption of digital path-to-purchase capabilities for car dealers. In fact, 84% of car dealers surveyed say they have continued their digital retailing strategies into our new, somewhat post-pandemic world. Of the dealers who have, and continue to utilize digital retailing capabilities, 40% say they plan to continue accelerating their digital retailing strategies now set in place. 22% are maintaining their current digital capabilities and 12% are just starting out with their digital transformation. 8% however, are not interested in digital retailing adoption.
When it comes to digital retailing processes and tools, there is a certain degree of buy-in that needs to take place. 53% percent of dealers surveyed now look at digital retailing more like a deal generation tool rather than a lead generation tool. That perception would have taken a lot longer to realize had it not been for the pandemic. There is now a cultural change in how dealers perceive their processes.
Moving forward, MacInnis says some of the challenges dealers face with digital retailing are moving seamlessly across the sales and finance silos and bridging experience gaps for consumers. The key to the transition is about leadership and staffing. Leverage your technology to enable process changes and train your employees. All of these elements need to come together to give consumers the best online car buying experience.
With all the digital capabilities dealers have MacInnis says, “The pain of not changing is greater than the pin of changing in their processes.”
As we settle into 2022, MacInnis recommends for dealers to become deal generation focused. Provide consumers the opportunity to engage interactively in a secure environment. Allow consumers to complete as much of the deal online as they want. Leverage the digital finance component as soon as possible. Figure out a way to give consumers accurate payments early on in the deal without jeopardizing your profitability.
More on this study from eLEND Solutions can be found here.
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