[dropcap]O[/dropcap]ur biggest fear as retailers in the beginning of the new year isn’t a so-so economy. It isn’t declining interest in what we sell. It’s the other “guy” in the room.
The e-guy. The competitor that lurks in the Wi-Fi.
Truth be told, e-commerce sales continue to rise at a much higher percentage than brick-and-mortar sales, according to recent U.S. Department of Commerce statistics. There’s also a surprising number of shoppers who prefer to use smartphones rather than talk to our salespeople.
But let’s put this fear in proper perspective. Yes, e-commerce sales are rising, but they only represent a single-digit percentage of all U.S. retail sales, according to the Department of Commerce. Yes, mobile usage is changing how we shop as consumers, but it doesn’t mean we traditional retailers can’t play an important role in that process.
The key is understanding what consumers prefer about the e-option, and most of the time that comes down to efficiency. Simple, easy buying. Click, click, done. Right?
So we should strive for that type of buying efficiency in our traditional retail environments. Relying on your dealership management platform to contribute to that efficiency is not only smart, but necessary.
Take these three common scenarios as examples of how an inefficient dealer management system can cost us major unit sales.
Scenario No. 1: The major unit purchase.
A consumer goes onto your website, browses your inventory for over an hour and then drives to your store. He greets your salesperson and says he would like to buy the naked sport bike model he spotted on your site. Oh, and he definitely prefers the black model over the red one.
Sounds great, right? Only your dealership doesn’t list its current in-store stock online because getting your inventory loaded in your dealer management system and on your website is too time consuming because of the double entries it would require. So what the consumer saw on your website was what your OEM manufactures, not what you have in stock.
[pullquote]“The Key is understanding what consumers prefer about the e-option, and most of the time that comes down to efficiency. Simple, easy buying. Click, click, done. Right?”[/pullquote]
Consumer finds out that not only do you not have the black naked sport bike, but you don’t have a red model either.
And – not surprisingly – the consumer walks out of the store upset at having wasted half his afternoon.
Oh, and on the way out the door, he pulls out his smartphone to find someone that does have the bike he wants.No buying efficiency, no sale.
Scenario No. 2: The holiday weekend sales hangover.
Remember the big pre-owned sale you had over the past holiday weekend? Remember how you had one of your sales guys go through each and every pre-owned model on your website and manually change the prices the day before the sale? Fast forward two weeks – your sales guys got busy and didn’t remove the sale prices from all of the units online. They changed it in the DMS, but your accounting system doesn’t “talk” to your website so now there’s a discrepancy in pricing.
A consumer spends his lunch break using his smartphone to check your pre-owned inventory, finds a steal of a deal and then drives to your store to snatch it up. He walks into your showroom, finds the unit of interest and notices it’s $300 higher than what it shows on the website.
How did this happen? Your dealer management system doesn’t allow you to schedule expiration dates on your sale prices, so the price from the special holiday sale that ended two weeks ago is still showing up online but not on the showroom floor.
Now what happens with that consumer? Nothing efficient, that’s for sure.
Scenario No. 3: The “easy” deal.
A young guy is checking out a 250cc dirt bike and wants a better price than the advertised rate. Your dealership has three of these models. Can you make the deal? Sure, because one of those three 250ccs is about to come off its free flooring plan.
So you agree to make the deal and honor the price. Easy.
But wait, when somebody entered the vehicle data into the website, they didn’t have time to do a full double entry in the dealer management system. So you’re not exactly sure which one of these three 250cc dirt bikes – all of which are the same color – is about to come off the free flooring plan.
How do you find out? Excuse yourself from the consumer and start combing through paperwork (if you can find it).
How long will all that take? Probably much longer than the consumer wants to wait. Not exactly click, click, done, right?
In 2016, don’t underestimate how important an efficient sales process will be to your overall success. And demand your dealer management platform help, not hinder, your staff in achieving that success.
CJ Pedler is director of customer support for Dominion Powersports Solutions, the provider of DX1 Powersports, the industry’s only dealer management platform with operational and marketing applications including inventory management, accounting, lead management, mobile-responsive websites, online marketing, email marketing, and social media. He can be reached at [email protected] dominionpowersports.com.