In the wake of the pandemic, digitalized sales processes have quickly become the norm, not the exception, at Canadian dealerships. Yet some dealers still may find it difficult to navigate the myriad of issues involved. To bring some clarity to these issues, Automotive News Canada asked three industry experts for their take on digital retailing: Chelsea O’Donoghue from Cox Automotive Canada, Gino Caputo from TD Auto Finance Canada, and Brandi Lindgren from Diskloz Technologies Corp.
Q: How do you define digital retailing – what are the key components?
Chelsea O’Donoghue: Digital retailing is about providing infrastructure for consumers, so they have the option to complete components of their vehicle purchase – or even the entire transaction – online. This may include all or any combination of the following steps: Payment calculation, trade evaluation (estimated or guaranteed value), selection of accessories and F&I products, credit application and approval, digital contracting and e-signature.
While elements of the process may be digital, it still requires a physical component to support the digital journey. Nurturing prospective customers is part of this journey. Dealerships need technology to make it easier to manage those relationships and convert those sales, then establish a service relationship during vehicle ownership.
Gino Caputo: Digital retailing is a tool that helps enhance and simplify the vehicle-buying journey. Our customers want easy access to information, and they want dealers and financial institutions to provide more transparency in the vehicle-buying process. They want to complete transactions digitally. Digital retailing isn’t about replacing the current process; it’s about meeting customers where they want to be and creating a seamless experience for them.
Brandi Lindgren: It all comes down to the user experience. Both buyer and seller have outgrown the generic prior platforms, so change is required to stay current with new consumer expectations. With effective digital retailing, every minute detail works behind the scenes to create the ultimate user experience where clients feel they can safely make transactions digitally, but also are impressed and possibly even prefer it.