5 Ways to Improve Car Buying Experiences

A great customer experience is everything.

Creating brand loyalty in today's computerized world requires excellence and speed at every step of the automotive customer lifecycle, from first contact to repurchasing. If your dealership can't keep pace, we can guide you through a digital transformation to streamline your operations.

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Potential buyers are spending less and less time at physical dealership locations, preferring to complete most of the car-buying journey from their homes. They demand quick and easy solutions in today’s digital world, and dealerships must find new strategies to improve car buying experiences to simplify the process and generate loyal customers. 

This article outlines five of these strategies.  

5 Ways to Improve Car Buying Experiences 

Dealers should explore new means to digitize their operations further, which might include: 

1. Finding the Right Online/Offline Combination 

A practical first step is to identify the online and offline experience gap. Most customers use a hybrid strategy, shopping for a vehicle online and visiting a dealership for the final test drive and purchase.  

The two stages of the purchasing process should be smooth, but this is not always the case if the dealer does not implement the proper technology. 

Dealers should examine and address any offline inconveniences with digital tools and revamped processes to streamline and expedite customer experiences once they reach the dealership.  

2. Providing Customers with a Filtered Search Option 

Potential customers expect a list of options to help them find the right make or model when searching for vehicles online. An e-commerce-style filtered search is an effective means to meet this demand.  

Dealers might begin by highlighting featured cars and allowing customers to filter their search based on commonly used search criteria, assisting non-specific shoppers in narrowing down their choices. 

Those criteria typically include (but are not limited to): 

  • Number of doors 
  • 2 or 4-wheel drive 
  • Seat type 
  • MPG 

Other buyers will already have a clear idea of the make and model and the color, trim, and related features they want. These customers will not require much time to select their car at the dealership. Instead, they would prefer the ability to make those selections online (based on what is available) and visit the dealership to finalize the purchase. 

3. Conducting Virtual Walk-Arounds 

Dealers should provide customers with a virtual walk-around tour that they otherwise include in-person when choosing a vehicle at the dealership.  

These tours should help customers understand the vehicle’s shape, size, and appearance from various angles, including a 360-degree video of the car after customizing the search based on: 

  • Make 
  • Model 
  • Year 
  • Exterior color 
  • Interior color 

4. Offering Online Live Chats 

Car dealerships are most successful when they offer a thoughtful, personal approach. 

This approach includes sales reps providing customers with direct assistance when visiting the showroom. They walk customers through the complete process to ensure they are comfortable with their purchase decision.  

Dealers can use digital solutions to provide customers with a comparable online personalized service. For example, live chat options will make sales staff more readily available when a potential buyer has questions or needs information.

There are several ways to provide live chat assistance, including: 

  • Help section/FAQ 
  • Floating chat bubble  
  • Mobile app  
  • Contact page 

5. Investing in High-Quality CRM (Customer Relationship Management) Software 

Dealerships must adapt to rapidly changing consumer behavior – and the increasing demand for digital options – by investing in the right CRM software to streamline the sales process. 

 These tools facilitate and improve:  

  • Lead follow-ups 
  • Preference tabulation 
  • Customer interactions 
  • Post-sales relationships 

Specific features should include: 

  • AI-based predictive intelligence 
  • Instant and accurate quotes  
  • On-demand email and physical mail campaigns 
  • Email triggers at predefined milestones  
  • Auto-generated, personalized handouts 
  • Sales and service ledgers 
  • Tracking tools that identify what vehicles customers want 

Providing a Fantastic Car Buying Experience is Crucial 

Digital technologies are radically altering how consumers buy vehicles. All dealers should consider investing in these tools that address evolving demand and improve car buying experiences. Losing ground in an increasingly fast-moving and competitive market is a real risk and upgrading your CRM software is key to keeping pace. 

Contact us today and discover how Affinitiv’s Quote can help your dealership generate more leads, improve the customer journey, and boost transactions. 

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