By Steve Southin, Co-CEO, PAVE

As digital retailing becoming more desirable to consumers, it has become more important for dealers to ensure that their processes and technologies deliver on their promises. There is nothing more frustrating to a consumer than attempting an online transaction just to encounter obstacles and frustration. It only adds to that frustration when there is no integration between software offering information that turns out to either provide erroneous information or forces customers to repeat the same action repeatedly.

Imagine if you Amazon tried to buy something from Amazon and everything said, “Call for Price.” Or, what if you saw a price and added it to your cart only to find that the price is more expensive at checkout? That would probably cause Amazon to lose business despite their speedy delivery. Amazon’s whole brand promise is that they not only sell everything but will make it convenient. Quick fact: Did you know that the arrow under their logo isn’t a “smile” but rather an arrow pointing from the “A” to the “Z” to say that they sell everything from A to Z?

Why would any company that promises an easy online experience, invest in technology to make that happen then fail to deliver on their brand promise? That seems a little counterintuitive, doesn’t it? Yet this is exactly what many car dealerships do despite these offerings.

Let’s take trade-ins for example. A customer goes onto a dealer’s website which typically have a “Value My Trade” call-to-action. A customer clicks on it, enters their vehicle information and eventually winds up with a range of values. Let’s say $10,000 – $14,000. Which number does the customer see? Of course, they see $14,000. Worst case, they know a range for their vehicle’s value. They come into the dealership, look at the vehicle, test drive it and are ushered into a salesperson’s desk. The salesperson leaves and comes back with a trade-value of $8,000. How do you think the customer will take that? They’d probably be upset. It was after all the dealership’s own website that gave them the trade-in value range.

Why would any dealership want to start a transaction in an adversarial position? Everything could have been going spectacular in their customer experience to that point. Now, that experience just went from excellent to poor. Will they still buy a car? Maybe. Will they like the dealership or salesperson after they leave? Probably not. Would they recommend the dealership to their friends and family? Doubtful.

How a dealership designs their website and the technologies they choose to offer for customers need to fulfill on their promises. If a widget is being used simply as a lead generation tool and not offering accurate information, then the dealership might as well not have it at all. Customers will absolutely hold the dealership accountable for any misinformation or failed process regardless of whether it was the dealership’s fault or a faulty third-party vendor.

Make sure that your dealership is delivering on its brand promise of a great customer experience and easy access to information that is accurate. Transactions and sales will come easier as will brand loyalty, service revenue as well as repeat and referral business. There is nothing less expensive to earn but, at the same time, it’s also the most expensive to lose.

About the Author

Steve and his 25+ years of automotive retail and wholesale experience deliver in-depth domain knowledge that was essential in his focus as PAVE’s creator and product architect. Steve also has 15+ years of technical and startup expertise that he gained as an Autotech entrepreneur, with his second recent successful exit being the Bumper App, which he brought to market in 2012 and successfully exited through an acquisition by Vicimus Inc. in 2017.

Author: Contributing Writer

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