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Innovate and Excel: How to Create Your “Destination Dealership”

Couple working on a large monitor to customize their vehicle
Article Highlights:

  • Dealerships with multiple vendors have inconsistencies in their processes.
  • Find out how to engage customers and maximize your profits.

Auto Dealer Today recently published an article introducing the idea of a “destination dealership.” They defined this as:

“…the type of facility that helps the customer learn about the history of the brand, positively communicates where the brand is going, provides seamless ways a customer can customize the vehicle for their needs, establishes unique retail and merchandise options, expands service options…”

The article continues with many great points on how to push your own dealership to the next level and make the designation of “destination dealership” attainable. You hear time and time again how important customer experience is, but what can you do to truly differentiate your dealership from the competition? Technology is the first step.

What Problems are in Your Dealership Right Now?

Often, dealerships use systems that consist of products and software from multiple vendors. While you might not see this as an obvious problem this approach causes major inconsistencies within your business. Your processes can be extremely inefficient, time consuming, and error-prone, creating an overall experience that’s frustrating for both your employees and customers.

For example, think about how many times you have to input data or customer information throughout the car buying process. Not only has the customer had to share their same information with your dealership multiple times, but you will also likely have to contact them after their purchase to correct or gather missing information. This may not sound like much of a hassle, but it causes issues that snowball into bigger problems, resulting in lost time, money, and business.

Does that sound like a “destination dealership?” Is the experience provided one that makes customers excited to buy from your store? You need an approach that lets you maximize profit, simplify processes, and keep customers excited and engaged.

Can Technology Really Set You Apart from the Dealer Down the Road?

The answer comes down to how the technology is built. It has to connect every interaction from every department to a single customer record. This is referred to as the “built as one” approach. A system built this way eliminates the inconsistencies that appear in your dealership, streamlining processes for you and your customers. It shares information across solutions and departments, creating opportunities to personalize the sales or service experience to each customer. This helps the customer feel in control of their sales process, their vehicle, and their relationship with the dealership.

Imagine using a mobile tool that assists the salesperson through each step of the buying process with every customer. They can access the customer’s information and buying history, pull up available inventory, and follow a custom test drive route all from their phone. The chosen vehicle and deal number are then available in a tool that displays the vehicle and lets the customer interactively customize it with things like accessories and wheels right there. The customer stays engaged through the entire process and feels ownership of the vehicle before even signing the paperwork. They then enter the F&I office and are highly engaged with an interactive tabletop device that empowers them to select finance and insurance options that best fit their needs.

With information stored in a single system and accessible to all departments, it’s easier to track customers and deals throughout the process. This information allows you to better target customers with offers and services, increasing their likelihood of returning to your store for future purchases. A single system is the only approach that can help you become a “destination dealership” and provide the unique retail experience customers expect. How much longer can your dealership sustainably operate in its current way? It’s time to make a change and prepare for the future.

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Senior Vice President, Marketing, Reynolds and Reynolds

Kasi Edwards is senior vice president of marketing at Reynolds and Reynolds. She is responsible for all marketing, including branding, advertising, communications, market research, and delivery of dealership marketing services. During her 23-year career with Reynolds, she’s built an accomplished background in sales, marketing, and product management.

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