Published on March 25th, 2019 | by Bibhuranjan0
Connect to a New Generation of Car Buyer with Live Chat Software
The world has changed enormously in the last 20 years, and at the forefront of that change is technology. Tech is the source of change and the site of change, which means that differences in the way business is conducted and implemented arrive fast, especially for any industries that use or distribute technology.
Automotive Dealerships and Online Marketing Technology
This trend is no different for auto dealerships. While it took longer for online services to reach the point where online sales and services can offer the results for dealerships that they have for other retailers, the latest digital technology for online dealership marketing has offered outstanding results for customer acquisition, increased sales and increased overall revenue. The new features now available on dealership websites offer an engaging customer experience, unlike what has ever been possible before in automotive.
Dealership Websites in the Past
In the past, a dealership’s online presence was designed mainly for the purpose of promoting imaging and branding, displaying inventory online, and advertising new promotions. The goal of a dealership’s entire website was aimed primarily at encouraging customers to leave their homes and to go visit the physical dealership location, where an informed salesperson could help them get down to the more direct business of offering, building, and closing a deal.
At this time, the dealership’s website experience was basic because the idea of going through the entire process of closing a deal online seemed impossible, given the available software options. While it was lucrative to sell smaller products online, something as complex as an auto sale requires many stages of one-on-one assistance from automotive industry experts and simply wouldn’t work online without more elaborate online services.
The reality was that the technology to bring dealership services to the online forum simply didn’t exist yet. Even when a number of new digital services designed specifically with dealerships in mind started becoming available to automotive dealers, they were not meant to replace what was offered at the dealership but to supplement it with advanced lead generation capabilities.
Online Lead Generation
Today, the motivating concept behind a dealership’s online presence has changed. The first great move forward involved the capability to use the website to promote lead generation – which remains one of the most useful purposes of a dealership’s online presence. The goal of lead generation is to determine what online shoppers are actually intent on buying a vehicle and to develop that lead to increase its value.
Online lead generation is made possible by a number of powerful online services available to the dealership. Software that’s capable of analyzing the browsing habits of online shoppers allows a dealership to get a better sense of what the customer is looking for in order to match them with a deal that’s tailored specifically to their needs.
Another feature that helps with generating better leads is customer tracking software, which allows anyone to access all of the information the dealership has acquired about that customer to help other members of the sales team to stay informed about that lead. These services are helpful for the purpose of gathering data and allowing the sales team to put it into action later on, but the tool that offers the most dramatic increase of digital customer engagement is live chat software.
Live Chat Software
Live chat software provides dealerships with an online solution with advantages that have not been possible otherwise. While some customers are satisfied with quietly browsing through endless pages to do research on their own, the majority of online automotive customers value real time interactions with a live dealership chat operator about all else.
Instant messaging allows a dealership to provide an engaging customer experience to the widest possible variety in customer demographics because it offers a platform for communication that’s easy for everyone to use. It can also be used to provide any assistance required in helping customers to assess other features on a web site.
Live chat fulfills a dual role of providing customers with a satisfying and engaging experience, on par with any available in digital retailing, while also giving the dealership a powerful tool for the purpose of increasing the value of leads. While participating in a conversation that the customer appreciates, the sales team is given the option to join in on the conversation to see what the latest live dealer chat software can do to help accrue further data to be used to build better offers for that customer – they also have the option to start live video conversations or send photos to promote inventory and demonstrate particular features of a vehicle.
The Advantage and Necessity of Online Services
Whether or not a business is directly involved in disseminating new technology, changes in the way that sales work are nearly impossible to avoid. Almost no commercial industry can function competently today without staying privy to the latest ways to do business, or at least they can no longer become a top competitor.
Those that hold out struggle to maintain a satisfied customer following. They see decreases in profits that are due directly with a failure to predict the success of cutting edge digital services, or to implement them before their competition saturates the market with such services and attains a monopoly based on consumers identifying that company with a particular technological service.
The bottom line is that companies in any industry are required to embrace every new development in software that can promise an advantage of any kind. These advantages are no longer a source of mere convenience, a boost in productivity or a new way to allow consumers to access the services provided by a company; they can mean the success or failure of a business.
Case in point: in 2018, the richest person in the world was no longer Bill Gates of Microsoft. The person to achieve that title is now Jeff Bezos, the founder and current president of Amazon. No one with an affiliation with Walmart has been on the list of the top ten wealthiest people in the world since 2011; but in 2004, five members from the family that founded Walmart were on that list.
There is a clear line of demarcation between these two companies. One company is losing traction that has been enjoyed by the other. One company provides a service that slowly renders the other redundant. The numbers clearly demonstrate that the world has shifted away from placing an importance on in-store retail sales. Online sales are taking over dramatically and this is only possible because of the ease and security that is provided by Amazon’s online services.
The exact same progression can be seen in the demise of Blockbuster Video amid the rise of Netflix. Blockbuster is well-known as having been the world’s most popular chain of video rental stores throughout the 1990s. Although they were initially approached by Netflix with an offer to move video rentals online, Blockbuster declined the opportunity to invest. This resulted in the eventual demise of that entire company.
Connecting with a New Generation of Car Buyer
The lesson to be learned is that when a new industry technology becomes available then no business can afford to ignore it. While live chat software can help a dealership to connect with any demographic online, the group that is most likely to take advantage of online services are those who will be purchasing a vehicle for the first time.
Millennials have grown up with the internet already in place, so it comes natural to them to go there first when making any big purchase. New car buyers who do go to a physical dealership location are arriving having already done more research than any group in the past. This indicates that lead generation isn’t just an important way to generate more valuable connections to new customers, it’s an essential way to ensure customer loyalty at what has become the beginning of the car-buying process for new shoppers.
Live chat is an excellent tool for connecting with new car buyers online, but you can also use it to connect seamlessly with SMS texting and email in order to keep a deal in motion and provide instant updates. Since millennials are more likely to communicate to anyone using texting services, it’s important to provide these services – otherwise your dealership will risk losing younger customers to a competitor that offers more digital services.
Integrating Live Chat into Virtual Retailing
With the ability to integrate all of the digital features now available, including online insurance and financing applications, the goal of the dealership website is changing once again.
The latest trend offered by dealerships online is a complete end-to-end car-buying experience through digital retailing. In order to complete the sale of cars online, everything that’s available on your website must work together to provide the customer with a seamless experience that replicates what was once only available in-person. The services offered on your website can also connect to other digital retailing services, such as Facebook marketplace, in order to enhance your selling capabilities and to connect to new customers, like millennials, who use social media sites like Facebook to interact on a day-to-day basis.
The goals of the dealership website have changed from a simple advertising tool to now incorporating advanced lead generation and virtual retailing capabilities. Today, the game of acquiring new customers and retaining customer loyalty, along with generating new sales from existing customers, requires staying on top of the latest offerings in digital retailing. If you haven’t already invested in advanced online services for your dealership website, you’ve done enough research, it’s time to make an upgrade. Otherwise, you could risk falling behind like Walmart and Blockbuster.