Transforming the Car Buyer’s Experience for Dealership Success

Today’s dealerships are looking to streamline car buying and provide the digital experience consumers want. But how do they get there? According to a new report from Cox Automotive, it takes real technology, real consumer insights, and real training.

Cox Automotive

November 2, 2023

4 Min Read

Most dealerships today offer at least one way for their consumers to start the car-buying process online. But those digital tools don’t always translate to a good in-store experience. In fact, the Cox Automotive 2023 Digitization of Car Buying Study revealed that 97 percent of dealers are asking consumers to repeat steps they completed online once they arrive in store.  

How can dealerships today streamline car buying and provide the flexible, connected experience consumers want? Evolve to a hybrid approach to retailing, backed by real technology, real consumer insights, and real training.

Evolve to a Hybrid Approach

When asked how they’d prefer to complete steps of the car-buying process, the biggest percentage of consumers said they preferred to use digital tools with the support of dealership staff (Cox Automotive 2023 Digitization of Car Buying Study). This hybrid approach to car buying is the industry’s way forward.

Imagine a scenario where all the components that make up “digital retailing” come together into a single consumer experience, with consistent payment details through the entire process. Imagine the salesperson and shopper building deals together from the same view, whether they’re together in person or collaborating virtually. That streamlined, collaborative process exists with Retail360 Deal, Cox Automotive’s new enhanced retail solution.

Retail360 Deal empowers the dealership to deliver a consistent and connected experience wherever the customer’s journey takes them. Whether a shopper starts their buying journey online, in the showroom, or in the service lane, Retail360 Deal gives them a transparent view of every step in their buying journey. With real-time insights derived from billions of consumer interactions on Cox Automotive’s industry leading shopping platforms Autotrader, Kelley Blue Book, and, dealers get more deal and consumer intelligence than ever. Cox Automotive proprietary data also gives them access to information on vehicle market demand, inventory supply, and the real range a shopper is likely willing to pay incorporated into the workflow. With this real technology, dealers can personalize sales conversations, unify the online to in-store experience, and boost consumer transparency and trust.

Providing the level of transparency that comes with working from the same view can feel overwhelming for many dealerships. Dealerships may worry they’re losing control of the deal and their gross. But when dealerships use information provided by their customers and say, “Look we listened. We’re a team,” they build confidence and trust. That trust makes shoppers more likely to purchase F&I products, come back for service, and come back to purchase their next car.   

Building Trust Through Personalization

With the right first-party data and real consumer insights, dealers don’t have to guess what’s important to a car buyer: They know. And because Cox Automotive reaches 7 out of 10 in-market car shoppers, it’s possible for a dealer to have a real understanding of what a buyer wants before they ever submit a lead or enter the showroom. With Retail360 Deal, dealers have an immediate understanding of what is most important to an individual shopper, including insights such as whether a consumer is price conscious or loyal to the dealership. 

Today’s most successful dealers build trust with consumers through personalization that goes beyond personalized marketing. They look at the full buyer journey using real, actionable insights to keep every interaction focused on what matters to each individual customer. Winning dealers take advantage of every digital breadcrumb that customers leave behind to deliver an exceptional personalized consumer experience.

The Way Forward

It’s time to transform. Shoppers won’t wait for you to catch up to their preferences—they’ll just find another dealership that provides the experience they expect.

For many dealerships, this hybrid approach to retailing is a big change. But with the right partner, it doesn’t have to be a hard one.

As you embark upon your retail transformation, Cox Automotive is committed to giving dealers not just the promise of digital retailing, but the real way to evolve retail experiences. With Cox Automotive’s real technology, real consumer insights, and real step-by-step training, dealers are delivering the car-buying experience shoppers demand—while staying in control of every deal.

To learn how you can transform your dealership to meet the needs of consumers, reserve your copy of the forthcoming ebook full of research-based recommendations. 

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