How Car Dealerships Can Sell Cars Virtually.
Selling cars has always relied on appealing to your audience. Each dealership balances the inventory based on the pace at which certain models and colors will sell. You make your hours available and build a welcoming showroom to help customers feel welcome whenever they have time. However, recent events have made the usual dealership methods of selling less available to the populace.
Many people right now do not prefer to meet in person. Fortunately, these traditional methods aren’t necessary to help customers find, purchase, and acquire the vehicles they need.
Spreading the Word of No-Contact Virtual Selling
Website Banners Guide Customers to Online Tools
Selling vehicles online is about more than having a platform to select and purchase. Your customers need to know that new, virtual purchasing channels are available. In the post-COVID business environment, the standard method has become a website banner on your homepage and on relevant service and help pages as well.
Let your customers know in bold statements that both CDC-safe showroom buying and no-contact virtual buying are available for vehicles from your dealership.
Email Invitation for Currently Engaged Customers
Every dealership has a number of customers currently in-contact about buying a car. They have begun inquiries and maybe even chosen a vehicle to move forward through the purchasing process. Let your current customers know via email that no-contact online resources are available to keep them safe while completing their purchase.
Social Media Campaign to Invite New No-Contact Customers
You can also make a positive announcement or an entire entertaining campaign via social media. Announce and showcase your new online selling platform and the ease with which online customers can now shop for vehicles. Write a blog article and share quotes. Take aesthetic screenshots of the new interface. Get your customer community (and local car-fans) a-buzz about the new tools to explore vehicles online.
Methods for Selling Cars Virtually
– Filtered Search for Desired Vehicles
The first thing customers want to see is a selection to help find the right make, model, year, and so on. The best way to do this online is with an e-commerce style filtering search. Start with featured vehicles and allow customers to quickly refine their search based on some of the most commonly used criteria. Number of doors, seats, and seatbelts for example is a common way for non-specific shoppers to narrow their options.
Many customers looking to buy a vehicle may know exactly the make and model they want, possibly even the color, trim, and optional details as well. The easier it is to reach that selection smoothly through an online interface, the happier your goal-oriented customers will be.
Be sure that the selection reflects available inventory. For a single dealership location, offer only vehicles that are available for sale or denote those that would need to be custom-ordered. For a network of dealerships, you can offer a more rounded selection of vehicles that could be made available for sale promptly.
– 360 Degree Virtual Walk-Around
When a vehicle is selected, give your customers that walk-around tour that every car sale includes. Let them feel the shape and size of the vehicle and how it reflects moving light. Modern digital technology makes it possible to take a 360 video of each vehicle (or an example of the make, model, year, and color) so that customers can explore how they feel about the car’s exterior and design.
These 360-degree tours often allow the customer to spin a virtual rotating platform with their mouse or with touch. Great simulations can change how the light reflects off the simulated vehicle and show customers the difference between the available colors.
– 3D Tour of the Interior
The interior is just as important as the exterior. Use similar simulation technology to show customers how it will look (and almost how it will feel) inside the vehicle. Let cars sell themselves with beautiful high-detail interior views. Use the same methods as real estate is using for virtual home tours, giving customers the feeling of truly being inside the vehicle.
Let your customer “look around” from the driver’s seat or the view from the center of the back seat. Let them explore the console, get a feel for the roominess, and check for personal favorite features. This will help your customers visualize their plans for a vehicle even though they are shopping through an online platform.
– Build-Your-Own New Car Tool
It’s always good when a customer knows what they want. With vehicle purchasing, customers have a choice from whatever the manufacturers chose to make available as a package. Each year’s make and model has a certain set of color options, interior upholstery, special features, and trim packages. While you may only have some combinations on your lot, you could win more sales by allowing customers to choose exactly what they want.
A build-your-own tool for new cars is a great addition for any car dealership website. Help customers put together their dream car, and then probably a second design for practical purposes and affordability. You can even use this tool to show which model combinations are available on the lot and which will need to be special-ordered based on a customer’s strong desire for certain features.
Providing Showroom Quality Online Service
– Integrated Live Chat
Car dealerships have thrived on direct human contact when selling. Customers meet with one salesperson who shepherds their purchase until complete. When a customer comes in, someone sees and helps them personally. You can offer a similar level of personal attention through online channels. Live chat, for example, will make sales team members available for customers to talk with any time a customer needs attention.
Live chat support can be provided in a number of ways. The floating chat bubble is very popular for chatting while customers continue to browse the website. You can also offer live chat through the help section, contact page, and through a mobile app using the same communication platform.
– Online Financing Assistance
One of the things that car dealerships have always done for customers is help to achieve financing. Car loans are not always something customers are ready to tackle on their own. It’s one thing to choose to buy a car and even make plans for future payments. It’s another to go through the whole loan application process. As a dealership, you can provide the same streamlined assistance for financing through online methods.
Talk to your financing partners about how to help customers apply through a proxy or transition to the correct loan application page
– Pick-Up and Drop-Off Services
The final touch is helping your customers acquire their vehicles they have purchased without putting themselves at risk. No-contact services have been developing across the country as businesses adapt to the new post-COVID safety protocols and customers demand this level of consideration. Your customers need to be able to pick up or otherwise retrieve their purchased vehicles. Ideally, with similar flair to being presented one’s new vehicle at the dealership.
Consider how you can offer no-contact vehicle delivery. You might arrange for a safe pick-up service or even provide vehicle delivery safe to the homes of your now-online customers.
Car dealerships can not only provide an online venue for selling cars virtually, you can also draw attention to the new no-contact channel for customers who are nervous about buying in-person. By working with a professional marketing team, you can build an online awareness campaign to draw new customers and gain a leg on your still-offline competition.
Whether your dealership is helping customers in a newly secured showroom or building customer relationships through an online selling platform, we can help promote purchasing through all mediums. Let’s get the word out about virtual vehicle purchasing together. Contact us today to discuss your dealership’s plans for online and no-contact selling success.