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Digital Retailing - What are your results?

jscole86

Refresher
Mar 2, 2011
131
93
28
First Name
Josh
I hate reading these kind of posts because it pisses me off that dealerships are still operating this way. Just because I'm curious, what was the cliched experience you had?
 

Chris Cachor

Sr. Refresher
Apr 29, 2011
420
197
43
First Name
Chris
I hate reading these kind of posts because it pisses me off that dealerships are still operating this way. Just because I'm curious, what was the cliched experience you had?
Just a bunch of sales shenanigans. It felt like every trick in the book they tried - we're buying new and we live 3 miles away. The business is yours. If you're buying new and paying retail - it's the most transactional deal there is. But they made it so we never want to step foot in the place again.

As a consumer, that's really the scenario where it's like ok, I wish we could just do it all online. On the way home my wife was like let's just use Costco. So those bad experiences sort of ruin it for everyone else.
 
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Greg M

Noob
Oct 25, 2019
2
7
3
First Name
Greg
I was running a DR start-up for the last ~3 years so I have a perspective from the guy trying to sell this shiny new technology to all you guys. As a background, we were integrated with all the necessary lending, F&I, credit players in this ecosystem that gave us the ability to provide an end-to-end transaction in approx 8-10 minutes on a consumer's mobile device. I felt the technology was pretty smooth...but....
  • Costs. In order for any DR provider to truly provide an end-to-end solution allowing a consumer to purchase a vehicle on a mobile device off-lot the fees add up and add up fast thus you had us (and our competitors) needing to charge >$1.500/mo. just to to cover all the rooftop integration click charges and minimal overhead costs.
  • Costs part 2. Now that a DR provider needs to charge this amount of money how does a dealership justify another $20K+/yr expense on a technology realllllllly difficult to measure what the precise sell through rate fully attributed to your DR solution versus all the other plug-ins mentioned on other's posts above.
  • Costs part 3. The winning DR operational formula to really make this work is a stand alone technology that cuts out all the other tech providers in this space, i.e. build out your own Loan Origination Software, integrate directly to the insurance providers, build out your own credit scoring system, etc. as that will be the best way to provide a fully end-to-end solution that is affordable to the dealer principle at scale. This is actually quite achievable with the only caveat that you need a good amount of cash to pay your dev team to build out all of this and time to court/negotiate the integrations. I found getting the providers willing to integrate faaaaaar easier than getting $2K/mo out of a dealership.
  • Consumers. Consumers generally would go through the complete purchase journey <10% of the time after they began the process which was initiated by them providing us general lead gen type of information.
  • Consumers part 2. As we all know, not all consumers are equal and the 10% of those who started the process that went through the complete purchasing journey probably 25% of them actually had provided everything necessary to make the deal completely happen, so this translated to 2.5% of users who took the time to start entering in their information actually fully using the DR plug in on our dealer customer's sites.
So our experience was we were basically asking the dealership to pay us ~$20K/yr for a shiny new lead gen platform that was difficult to define the ROI on against all the other tools they already have build into their website. We are evaluating if/how we re-engineer the technology to re-release back into the market but really the only near-term path to scale I see for us and other DR providers has to be very low cost to the dealers (prob <$300/mo) until any of us can better calculate the ROI.

Greg
 

john.quinn

Sr. Refresher
Dec 2, 2009
988
602
93
First Name
John
I'm going to have to disagree here. My wife wants a new Honda Odyssey so I stopped by the dealership in my neighborhood last week. It couldn't have been a more cliched car buying experience.
I don't disagree with you -- I love the word "Cliched."

But overall (I don't know the Retail SAAR number), but just use 10 million. 10 million retail purchases. There are not 10 million miserable people as a result.
 
Nov 22, 2011
6
7
3
First Name
Michael
A vendor created solution to a problem we didn't know that we had. We tested a great DR tool that actually functioned correctly, only two problems - it costs $24k per year and customers don't use it. Other than that, it was fantastic. Take the $24k and spend it on training, spiffs or trips to Aruba for your people, they will all help you sell more cars than DR.
 

Alex Snyder

President Skroob
May 1, 2006
2,797
1,412
113
First Name
Alex
I was running a DR start-up for the last ~3 years so I have a perspective from the guy trying to sell this shiny new technology to all you guys.
:hello: @Greg M - you've got a lot of likes on your post. I left you one because this is a phenomenal admission! And one that is so true.

Are you still running your start-up? If so, I think there are some things to discuss further. Maybe on a RefreshFriday show?
 
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Greg M

Noob
Oct 25, 2019
2
7
3
First Name
Greg
:hello: @Greg M - you've got a lot of likes on your post. I left you one because this is a phenomenal admission! And one that is so true.

Are you still running your start-up? If so, I think there are some things to discuss further. Maybe on a RefreshFriday show?
Thanks Alex,

We have the business on hold as we contemplate if we pursue moving forward with a DR-light model stripping out costs. If interested though, I would be more than happy to discuss further.

A lot of our focus has shifted to the online classified marketplace as it feels like there is an opportunity to address some of the dealer-publisher friction while giving consumers more than the current 1.0 experience provided by all the players in the classified space.

Greg
 

Tarry Shebesta

Getting Refreshed
Mar 17, 2011
70
37
18
First Name
Tarry
I just did a blog post on this topic "Does Digital Retailing Help Generate Sales?"

Here's an excerpt from it.

There is a misconception today that installing a Digital Retailing tool alone attracts more shoppers and ultimately more sales. Unfortunately, many dealers are left disappointed when their sales needle hasn’t moved. So what’s happening here???? “Buying” vs “Shopping” – What’s the difference?

Buying – Digital Retailing
The buying process helps the consumer move through the purchase process better, faster, and more enjoyable.

Shopping
The shopping process involves emotion, personalization, privacy, safety, technology and budget.
Digital Retailing has many benefits for building a better consumer experience, but it doesn’t solve the basic question that many consumers have “What car should I buy?” Shopping tools help guide the consumer on where to start and what to buy, which can generate more leads and feed directly into the digital retailing strategy.

Where are my Shopping Tools?
As we scan the automotive landscape looking for shopping tools, you notice a recurring theme. Many dealer’s sites throw every conceivable search and inventory filter at the consumer. This may work well for a buyer who has already narrowed their search, but can ignore a shopper’s needs. It simply puts the onus on the consumer to figure out where to go.

Shopping Journey – Where to Start?
Think about your typical dealer’s home page as a tool for the “Shopper” and not as a tool for the “Buyer”. Is it clear to the shopper what tools they can use to narrow their search? Should they search for new, used, what about certified pre-owned? What about specials, incentives or should they get pre-qualified. Or maybe they should value their trade-in first? Where do they start? When someone asks you for directions, they probably don’t want you to tell them five different ways to get there.
 

Alex Snyder

President Skroob
May 1, 2006
2,797
1,412
113
First Name
Alex
There is a misconception today that installing a Digital Retailing tool alone attracts more shoppers and ultimately more sales. Unfortunately, many dealers are left disappointed when their sales needle hasn’t moved.
Thanks for sharing Tarry :thumbup:

We now have 2 people from Digital Retailing companies stating an online shopping cart solution, alone, does not move the needle for most dealers. On top of that, Michelle Donegeon (Roadster CMO) and I co-wrote a whitepaper that essentially said digital retailing isn't a silver bullet.

I think what everyone is saying is that Digital Retailing does not succeed unless it is part of the dealer's process. And I have to ask: does incorporating digital retailing into the process help move the needle?
 

Zhendrix

Getting Refreshed
Apr 22, 2009
70
80
18
First Name
Zach
I think what everyone is saying is that Digital Retailing does not succeed unless it is part of the dealer's process. And I have to ask: does incorporating digital retailing into the process help move the needle?
I would replace "dealer's process" with "customer's process".
 
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