The Digital Car Buying Journey for Dealerships
Blogs
May 30, 2022

The Digital Car Buying Journey for Dealerships

The automotive industry has endured rapid change over the last three years, demanding an online process to buy and sell cars. A traditional dealership business model of “just get them in the door” has become antiquated and the modern vehicle shopper has gone digital. Customers can shop, schedule a test drive, and complete paperwork right online from the comfort of their couch - pushy sales person not included.

In the current market, it’s important to understand where your buyers are and offer communication outlets that work best for them. It’s for this reason that Botsplash and the automotive industry pair better than a peanut butter and jelly sandwich! We offer solutions such as SMS text, web chat, Facebook Messenger, Google’s Business Messages, and more, so you never miss a conversation.

Customer Availability and Convenience

As an automotive sales professional, providing a personalized and empathetic experience is one of the most effective ways to sell a vehicle. Calls and emails often go unnoticed and today’s customers are more receptive to chat and SMS outreach. In fact, 97% of Americans own a cell phone and SMS response rates are up to 295% higher than phone call responses.

Automation and Features

At Botsplash, we always recommend automation to be used as a complement to a live agent. Think software and people coming together! Automation is available to increase efficiency, route customers to the proper department/representative, and gather information before a human interaction takes place. The biggest mistake dealerships make when transitioning to a digital communication strategy is replacing sales staff with a robot. We’re here to tell you robots do not sell cars, personalized human relationships do. Below you will find a few of the many features offered on the Botsplash platform that our clients enjoy.

After Hours Messaging: Car shopping has no off switch. There are many customers that prefer to shop for a vehicle during hours that your dealership is closed. Automated flows provide an excellent opportunity to capture these leads when your competitor up the street can’t. Automatically gather necessary information from the customer and answer common keyword based questions set by your dealership. When your sales team arrives the next morning, they can review what was discussed and can reach out using the information provided to the bot.

Appointment Setting: Appointment setting can take place right from a web chat, Facebook Messenger, or SMS conversation. Doing so streamlines a process that takes valuable time away from sales and service staff. The appointment setting option can be automated or initiated by a live representative and takes the shopper through a series of questions. As an appointment is set, our integration options make it possible for Botsplash to talk to your workflow applications such as scheduling tools, CRMs, and more.

Scheduled Send: It’s sometimes necessary for your sales staff to schedule a message to be sent to a returning or working customer. Things such as appointment reminders, after-hours responses, and more can all be sent by a sales or BDC representative via our built in scheduling tool.

Be Where Your Customers Are

It’s important that your dealership offers a way for car buyers to reach you, regardless of where they found you. Botsplash offers a truly omnichannel experience for your sales representatives and gives leads the option to connect with your business via the method that they prefer.

Web Chat: Did you know that 73% of customers consider live chat to be the most satisfactory form of communication with a business? Providing a visible and helpful chat on your dealership’s website is typically the easiest and most effective way for customers to reach your sales and service staff. They are already browsing your site, give them a way to quickly reach you!

SMS Texting: Much like web chat, automotive companies have found that SMS is extremely effective due to very high contact and engagement rates. In modern America, people have their phone on them almost every minute of the day. In fact, studies have shown that people check their phones 160 times a day on average or once every 9 minutes. This offers a massive opportunity for your sales team.

Facebook Messenger: There are 220 million Facebook users in the United States and the Messenger App is the second-most downloaded application on the iOS app store. Facebook gives dealerships the capability to promote themselves both organically, and through paid advertising, along with inventory promotional opportunities through Marketplace and Facebook groups. As car shoppers are engaging with your dealership’s posts and inventory listings, offer Facebook Messenger as a way to connect with your business.

Google’s Business Messages: It’s no secret that Google is the number one search engine in the world. When car shoppers search for a dealership or manufacturer, it’s important to provide an option that gives the browsing customer the opportunity to reach out to you directly from Google. This feature can be set up through your Google Business profile.

Conclusion

The pandemic has changed the automotive industry for good, intensifying the need for a seamless digital communication strategy. Vehicle inventory is scarce, requiring out-of-market buyers to shop online with unfamiliar dealerships to get what they want and automated processes are more popular than ever.

By adopting an omnichannel consumer engagement platform such as Botsplash, your sales and service team can seamlessly connect with car shoppers all from one dashboard. It’s never been more important to offer different communication outlets and chat features for your customers. Reach out to us to schedule a demo if you think that your dealership or automotive business can benefit from an omnichannel approach to online vehicle sales. We have numerous integration options and can find the right fit with your workflow processes already in place.

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