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From inventory and sales to compliance and financing, every aspect of the automobile industry looks different today than it did a decade ago. The process of buying a used vehicle has changed for customers as well, with used car dealer software and other technology making the purchasing journey much more streamlined and transparent.
To keep up with rapid changes in today’s auto industry, used car dealerships can benefit from implementing used car dealer software, which has become absolutely essential for dealers to remain competitive. Today’s customers expect an exceptional car-buying experience, and used car dealer software can help your staff deliver on this promise – no matter the size of your operation.
Dealerships utilizing used car dealer software report enhanced customer satisfaction, including customers feeling more valued and in control of the purchasing process. Customers who have an outstanding experience buying a car are more likely to recommend your dealership to family and friends – and even return to purchase another vehicle for themselves or their kids. Making sure you have the right technology to support exceptional customer service can pay dividends for years to come.
But not just any software will do. To stay at the top of the pack, dealerships need to choose the right software for their needs. This guide will examine different types of used car dealer software and explain factors that contribute to automotive digital retail success.
We cannot overstate the importance of choosing the right type of used car dealer software for your needs. Get started by learning more about the different types of software that are available and some of the benefits of each.
is a technology designed to manage your dealership’s relationships with customers and potential customers. It is important to select a CRM built specifically for the automotive industry, such as the Selly CRM, which was created especially for used car dealers.
With an automotive CRM, dealerships can automate and organize their sales, marketing, and customer service processes – and ultimately sell more cars.
Lead management, including the ability to track leads that are generated online, over the phone, via a third party (like TrueCar), or through walk-ins.
Lead nurturing and generation, including the ability to respond immediately to new leads through automatic replies.
Improved communication, including the capacity to track customer communications through phone, text, and email.
Transparency and reporting, including following every deal of the sales process from beginning to end.
is used to help manage vehicle inventory, process sales, track customer information, run credit reports, and print paperwork. Many dealer management systems also include detailed accounting records and the capacity to integrate with other types of software.
is included with most DMS systems but can be purchased as a standalone solution as well. Inventory management software can help you syndicate inventory to your website and third-party lead providers.
is a must for any dealership. A generic site built and maintained through WordPress or another universal platform will lack many of the features that make a dealership’s website a user-friendly destination that stands out in the crowd. One example of an affordable web solution for the auto industry is Carsforsale.com, which is the most widely utilized used car dealer website provider.
is one of the most talked about topics in the auto industry. Digital retail solutions enable an e-commerce like experience on your website where customers can do a lot of the work of purchasing a car online, including determining financing options and making an offer on a vehicle.
With the growing prominence of digital retail in all industries, it should come as no surprise that customers expect many of the conveniences of online shopping when purchasing a car as well. By offering a low-stress digital retail experience, used car dealers can attract new customers who want to do research and determine their approximate monthly payment before they are ready to test drive a vehicle. Digital retail can offer an individualized shopping experience that allows customers to complete most steps of the buying process online at their convenience before finalizing the deal.
But digital retail success isn’t a given for used car dealers. It takes some preparation to help your staff and customers transition seamlessly to a digital retail environment. Here are a few pointers.
To get your dealership on the road to online retail success, it is essential to ensure everyone is on board with digital retail. Be sure the sales team understands the type of customer most likely to use digital retail tools, as well as how and why a digital retail customer should be treated differently than a walk-in.
Sales and BDC staff should be well versed in all of the systems that support optimal interactions with digital retail customers. Digital retail makes customers more knowledgeable on the products they wish to buy, so staff may benefit from staying up-to-date on online customer buying habits and trends so they can make relevant suggestions to potential car buyers.
Keep in mind, too, that word of mouth is still a valuable tool – but now it carries more weight than ever. With just a few clicks, customers can share their experiences at your used car dealership and recommend it to friends, family, and acquaintances, as well as total strangers. Creating a positive, effortless used-car-buying process for your customers is vital to ensuring your dealership’s success, and effective digital retail is rapidly becoming the biggest piece of this puzzle.
When transitioning to a digital retail experience, it is important to consider features such as integration with your existing DMS, as well as how other aspects of the purchasing process will function, including running credit applications, reporting digital retail analytics, and tracking key performance indicators. Additionally, ask yourself what problems you’re looking to solve or services you wish to enhance, such as:
Do you need integration with legacy software?
Do you need to improve communication with customers or staff?
Do you need to optimize your sales process through enhanced transparency and reporting?
Do you need to generate new leads and drive sales, or do you need help managing existing leads and customer interactions?
While staff buy-in is essential to digital automotive retail success, your current and future customers are also a significant part of the equation, as they drive your business through their purchasing power and ensure your financial success or failure.
Make potential buyers aware of your digital retail experience by promoting it on your website and through other social and marketing channels. Be sure to include the benefits of the technology, such as a more streamlined and efficient process for the buyer and enhanced communication throughout their purchasing journey.
Also, make sure customers clearly understand how to use digital retail tools – as well as what functions digital retail cannot support. While interactive videos and 360-degree views can allow someone to become familiar with a used car and its features without ever seeing it in person, the majority of customers will still want to test drive a vehicle before purchasing it. When it comes down to making the final decision, nothing replaces a face-to-face interaction – but automotive digital retail is imperative to getting new customers in the door.
Perhaps the most important key to digital automotive retail success is choosing an experienced software provider to keep your used car dealer software running smoothly – and of course to guide you through any snags or technical difficulties your staff or customers may encounter.
A few of the benefits of having access to knowledgeable tech support staff include:
Providing rapid tech support for customers and staff.
Making jobs easier through a streamlined purchasing process.
Fixing bugs quickly and guaranteeing accuracy in quotes.
Having access to dealers whose operations are similar to yours, such as buy here, pay here (BHPH) dealers that can serve as references.
Remember, used car dealer software isn’t just for large dealerships. Every dealership – even small and mid-size operations – can benefit from the implementation of used car dealer software to streamline business, generate more sales, and keep you heading down the road to success.
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