An Amazon Experience For Your Car Dealership

Have you ever had an ‘Amazon’ experience? Many of us have, some of us swear by them. Although their price is competitive, they’re not always the cheapest, but I invariably choose them over cheaper rivals because I trust them.
Its not only trust they have instilled in their customers over time; my shopping experience has also evolved as they’ve introduced new functionality to their website, don’t I mean their ‘shop’, which has also kept me coming back.
They now sell second hand versions of books so I don’t always have to buy new; and if I need it quickly they have express delivery, guaranteeing me next day arrival. They even let me read the book just like in a bricks and mortar store, so I can make sure it’s what I’m really after before I buy it. I can track where my parcel is, I can have multiple delivery addresses, multiple credit cards and free delivery, if I don’t mind waiting. They send me mails when my parcel has shipped and their packaging is practical, efficient and I can’t wait to open them when they arrive.
Once upon a time, Amazon didn’t exist; neither did the web, so buying a book was entirely the domain of the bookshop in the high street.
So how have car dealers changed to take advantage of the internet shopper?
Are there any that have risen to the same dizzy heights of delivering a great online customer experience similar to that of Amazon?
I don’t think so. Then I had a thought. Maybe the dealers and private sellers on eBay would come close. After all, you’re able to bid or buy outright, and my eBay shopping experiences have always been okay. I have also bought a car, but that was three years ago and the private sellers presentation was no more than 3 pictures and a description.
No, not much changed there then. 10 minutes of extensive research has revealed that they’re no closer to delivering an Amazon style experience.
Maybe it’s because a car is such a big ticket item and it’s simply not possible to replicate the ease and convenience of buying a book.
Maybe it’s because the franchised car dealers who have the potential to provide a great branded purchase experience just can’t translate that from the showroom to an online store experience.
One of the problems is the insistence of so many dealers to try and ‘appoint’ a customer when they first make contact with an inbound enquiry. "Bums on seats sell cars", about 1 in 2 to be precise. Often the customer, however, isn’t ready to be sold to or is distracted by other offers; who knows, but ‘no show’ rates remain persistently high.
HPI’s latest survey had some interesting statistics about distance that people were prepared to travel to purchase a car:
"A majority of respondents will travel up to 100 miles to view a car with 17 per cent willing to go over 200 miles".
With customers being prepared to travel there is a real opportunity for dealerships to re-think how they handle a distance sale enquiry and start to deliver something more inline with an Amazon customer experience.
How would it work?
1. Stop appointing Nationwide Car Insurance the customer.
2. Be prepared to present cars remotely to customers at their convenience (appreciate that this happens with C It Now dealers already)
3. Have one or two sales people available until 10:00pm during the working week
4. Use live chat to give customers another option to communicate (already established with some dealers)
5. Have real time finance quotes available 24/7 Car Service Checklist Pdf (already established with some dealers)
6. Have a buy button – at least to secure a deposit. Embrace social media marketing – it’s not just another advertising platform
7. Invest in the right people to make sure your car dealer social media marketing strategy happens
What do you think – heresy or common sense? Let us know your thoughts.

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