What is the future of digital retailing in a post-pandemic world? – Pete MacInnis | eLEND Solutions

Welcome to another edition of Inside Automotive with Jim Fitzpatrick. Our guest today is Pete MacInnis, CEO of eLEND Solutions, who is here to discuss digital retailing in a post-pandemic environment. 

COVID-related lockdowns and restrictions forced car dealers to offer remote and contact-less experiences. But today, dealers are choosing to improve their digital purchasing paths, explains MacInnis. Recent data from eLEND Solutions shows that about 80% of car dealers had over 20% digital retailing initiated transactions past the pandemic. Additionally, 30% of those car dealers reported that their digital retailing initiated transactions represented 50+% of sales.

When looking to the future, MacInnis says most dealers believe that at least 20% of all vehicle sale transactions will be completed partially or fully online by 2025. The market is undoubtedly accelerating, and dealers don’t want to be left behind the likes of Carvana and Vroom. Dealers pushed past the fear of uncertainty and embraced digitization, says MacInnis.

In recent surveys with its dealer body, eLEND Solutions found that about two-thirds say they allow their customers to complete many steps of the car buying process online. However, most dealers still require a store visit for the more complex stages of the transaction. 46% of dealers stated that they were moving digital retailing ‘end points’ further down the funnel. 41% still offer digital retailing capabilities, but they are not actively working to improve those capabilities. 

“If the longer-term goal for retailers is true eCommerce, the industry needs to find technologies and reengineer the business models in ways that make it easier for consumers to complete more of the transaction without having to visit the dealership,” explains MacInnis.

Because dealers are striving towards that, they report increases in profit per vehicle retailed, their CSI scores, and lower transaction times. Dealers must commit to changing their dealership culture in order for this to happen.

For more great insight from Pete MacInnis, be sure to watch our entire interview above.

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