It’s no news: behaviour is changing amongst car buying consumers.

Car buying consumers have quickly evolved from a purely offline experience to a record number of transactions being initiated online. Here are some thoughts on how to integrate these two worlds into your dealership.

Good news. Technology can’t fully replace human interaction

Although the majority of the car buying journey now happens online, it’s also true that customers are still looking for your professional knowledge and guidance. Digital retailing still isn’t where it needs to be in South Africa.

According to Econsultancy, even customers who are about to make a much smaller purchase online end up requesting support…83% of the time!


Use technology that keeps customers engaged during the buying process

Technology and brick-and-mortar dealerships are not mutually exclusive. I firmly believe the sweet spot lies in enriching your customer experience with technology that meets their needs.

Are you giving the car buying consumer the option to do things such as:

  • … configure their brand new car in store, over a nice cup of coffee, but online?
  • … guide them through a pain-free online credit application?
  • … switch to electronic paperwork so that they can review the documents in the comfort of their own home, at their own pace?

Samsung helped Audi create a digital car showroom to showcase their product range in innovative ways and take customers on virtual test drives.


Aim to cater for everyone’s needs, across all departments

It’s not always about sales. Is your after-sales department equipped with tablets where customers can go through your products and services? Have you created videos and interactive experiences to guide them towards the best option for their particular needs? How are you making sure customers really understand the value your offer?

Yes, on one hand you might feel like technology is making your presence almost redundant. On the other hand, though, it can’t be denied that these tools are helping you improve the quality of your customers’ journey, building trust and loyalty as a result.