The Dealer Playbook
The Dealer Playbook

Episode · 6 months ago

Do Car Shoppers Want Online Car Buying? w/ Lissette Gole

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Over the last couple of years, end-to-end car buying increased by 10%. Considering the average 1 - 2% annual increase that is common, this represents a surge in interest from car shoppers who are willing to forego the dealership.

According to Lissette Gole, Head of Automotive Retail at Google, that means 90% of dealerships are using some sort of hybrid car shopping model and should pay attention to the expectations of the customer moving into 2021 and beyond.

Here's the question: Do you think online car shopping will increase even further in the next 5 years?

For complete show notes and resources visit: https://www.thedealerplaybook.com/lissette-gole 

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Hey, before we hop into this episode,let's talk about why your website and digital presence isn't working now. Iknow what you're thinking, Michael, we talk all about the web sites all thetime. You talk about the websites, the websites, a hammer, yada yada yada, weget it. But for real though, it's shocking to me how much guesswork stilltakes place and how its having a detrimental effect on whatopportunities you are able to leverage now over the last decade, especiallyfor the O. G. D. P. Beers. You know, I've poured my soul into assembling ateam that cares deeply about the progress of the retail auto industrythat believes in my mission to enrich and empower dealers to perpetually grownow. I'm making my amazing marketing team accessible to the dealer playbookcommunity so that you can start to thrive rather than merely survive.Right now, we're providing a just for you free website diagnostic that willshow you exactly what you need to do in a priority sequence so that you canfinally get the answers you need claim...

...yours by visiting triple W. Dot flexdealer dot com forward slash website audit. That's triple W. Dot flex dealerdot com forward slash website dash audit. Mhm. You mentioned earlier as well, justkind of marrying this back to some of those trends that we can see in theguidebook. I was blown away. I mean it's one of the first few slides in theguide that talks about how Um consumer expectations grew by 10 towards likedigital or or was it online? This concept of online retailing that thatseems like a pretty dramatic jump. Is that strictly because of pandemic orare there other factors? Yeah. So um...

I'll break that down a little bit. Soin 2018 we conducted some research that showed that one vehicle shoppers werecompleting that purchase all online, So you're buying a vehicle intend and thenyou fast forward to 2020. And we found that 10 of vehicle shoppers werecompleting that process and to end online. Now, that's a big jump. As youmentioned, you know, from 1 to 10 in two years is really significant in ourindustry. Um That also means that 90 are doing a hybrid version of that, sothey're anywhere in between, you know, they may want to um, still come to thedealership to assess their trade in having any discussions that varies bythe person. Um, but it is a significant jump for us and it is something that wewant to make sure that we are we are paying attention to because that's nowthe expectation of the customer and the...

...tools, the online retailing tools, thewebsite tools are also evolving really, really quickly to meet that need. Umand so I think it is a combination of the two. So obviously like customers,we're not leaving their house, they still needed to buy vehicles duringcovid dealerships needed to remain open. So they all jointly moved into thecomfort of online retail. But I think having the tools on the site and us asan industry making that more available to the customers is only gonna, youknow, like we're just accelerating that now. So I think that also plays intothe 1-10 jump. If it wasn't available, it wouldn't have happened. Yeah, Ithink to the future as well, because we know That the circumstances of 2020,the pandemic people staying at home lockdowns et cetera, we've we'veidentified a couple of things first, There's resilience in the auto industrybecause people went from seeing a vehicle as luxury to utility. And, andI would say that the bounce back has...

...been nothing short of miraculous. Butif we were to average that over two years, um, these statistics, that's a,you know, call that that's like a 4.5% increase per year in interest buyingend to end Online since 2018 or, or sorry, a five really, if we just wantto, you know, round it up. But if that continues on that trajectory, let's sayit slows down, maybe it's only 2.5% this year. But if we're going, if we'reseeing a 5% increase in end to end transactions every couple of years,that should hopefully help your dealership look a little bit into thefuture and say, okay, what moves do I need to start making today in order tokeep meeting that demand? You mentioned a hybrid model And, and that's alwaysintriguing to me as well because I'm such a nerd, right? I would buy ipadsover clothing if it was socially acceptable and just like duct tapeipads to my body and walk around like...

...robot. That, that was really the firstiteration of Robocop. They're like, okay, so hear me out, there's this nerdwho just wants to wear ipads for clothing and they're like, no, that'snot gonna fly and plus what's an ipad? It's the eighties. Um, but that, that'sme, I'm such a nerd. I would be like, we're gonna do everything we can toproduce this model and perfect it while there are still some customers thatwill not buy into and online, like I need to start figuring this out now,but let me ask you from your vantage point, what are some things that thatyou see that dealers need to be considering today? We know onlineretailing, but we know to go from a hybrid model or no model at all to ahybrid model can be a pretty big jump and then a hybrid to a full end to endcan be a pretty big jump, like where, what, what should I be thinking about?Where do I need to, what do I need to focus on this year and maybe next year?So I'll take this out a little bit of a higher level first because what wereally are aiming towards is to deliver...

...what we call a customer lead,frictionless online purchasing experience. And so that encompasses,you know, full and, and, and as well as hybrid. And so when we think about howdo we get ready for that? And I agree with you Getting ready today to supportthe evolution is really important. You know, in some ways we're going back tobasics, we're looking at, you know, the mobile website again and reallyassessing like doesn't load in three seconds or less because we know if thewebsite is not loading and we have the, if there's a risk of losing thecustomer before the site is loaded, then we have um, you know, we want themto obviously beat on the website and continue their journey through. So Ithink looking at your mobile website experience and becoming your ownmystery shopper there, you know, I would recommend um really taking justto step back and and walk through your mobile experience and say, is it easyto buy a car? Is it easy to contact a...

...sales person? Is it easy to schedulefixed stops appointment? Like, you know, and just have that fresh perspectivehere as everything continues to move online? I think that's one thing we cando immediately. And the other thing is measurement, I think measurement is soimportant. So in this world of completely online or a mix of onlineand offline experiences, really understanding what website actionsmatter to your dealership is really, really important and I think we shouldnot take what used to be for granted. I think it's a great time to justreassess and re understand what are people doing on my website? Where arethey dropping off? Where are they engaging? And you know, how can wecontinue to move them through the experience, no matter how they chooseto interact with your dealership. So to me, those insights will help reallydrive a lot of the next level of decision making um, to, for your onlineretailing readiness. I love that. It feeds into...

...um conversion rate optimization, whichis something that we don't talk enough about in my opinion, in this industry,like at the end of the day, being a tech guy and being a marketing guy,like can we just all be honest, but if we need to hold hands and sing kumbayafor a minute, so we know we're not, I'm not hating on anybody. I'm not singlingbut a website, it's a bunch of pictures and text formatted on a computer screen.Like at the end of the day, it's your inventory formatted and merchandise,but it's pictures and text formatted on a computer screen. What matters morethan Because you know where we came back from you, you said 20 years, right.And I'm going on, you know, 2022 years in the industry. Where did we come from?Low set? It was by this website, it will get you more traffic leads andsales. And then the next compare by this website, this website is gonna getyou traffic leads and sales. No, I've said this before on the show. My my mycockamamie foolish sounding analogy is...

...this, I say lisette, I went to homedepot the other day, I bought the most expensive hammer I could find and thedarn thing still won't hang the pictures on the wall for me. Like I I still have to do something.And so you know, to your point, what really stands out to me is I love thatyou're drawing attention to um understanding what actions people areor are not taking. And then also for me to get clearer on what actions I I wantthem to be taking or what I believe maps to my definition of success andmore importantly what maps to their definition of success, What are theytrying to accomplish? So conversion rate optimization is understanding thatthe answer is not this is maybe where I show the website providers some lovenow. It's not to just switch your website as an answer to the question.It's about to create, it's about creating a thesis saying ah I see wherepeople are dropping off. My thesis is...

...if I were to make this adjustment itwould help more people achieve their desired outcome. So we're just going tomake that one change. We're not going to you know like we're talking aboutpre show I'm not going to rearrange my entire living room. I'm going to movethe pillows on the couch first and then I'm going to take a step back and I'mgoing to identify if that works. And then once I've run that test for longenough and have enough conclusive data, then I will make another thesis andmake another tweak. But I'm not going to just change everything. I do all atonce because then I can't identify what actually contributed to uh an increaseor a decrease. Right? That's right. And there's two components to this. There'sthe actual website experience and you know, what do you modify within yourwebsite experience, piece by piece to make sure that a customer can movethrough it really seamlessly. And then there's the media component and that'sfor you know where the automation comes in for us. So within I'll talk aboutmedia and add products for a moment...

...within the marketing ecosystem. Googleoffers automation to do that as well. So you can once you've understood whatwhat metrics are important for you, for your business to have them call yourshowroom, have them come in for service etcetera. Then you can optimize yourmedia toward it, through through machine learning and automation and youcan do that through maximizing your conversions. I want as many conversionsas possible or you can do that through the waiting of your conversions, whichsays I believe BdP views are more important to me than X or Y. And that'sdifferent for every website and every dealership. But once you have that,that understanding from your site and what the customer is doing, you thentie that back to your media so that everything is driving toward that goalof getting them to take that action that you desire for your dealership. Soit's not cookie cutters. That would I...

...just heard you say it's not cookiecutter? No, it's not. So when we join conferences and watch webinars andstuff, what's the best advice then? Because I think sometimes we share allthis information or perhaps people are going to be downloading or havedownloaded the dealer guidebook um and they go, ok, this is gospel, this isexactly how I need to implement this. Your encouragement then would be what my encouragement is. That's a reallygreat place to start. So we've done a lot of research, we have done a lot ofwork. There are many case studies in the guidebook that show what otherdealerships have done to make these tactics successful for their business.But marrying that with your particular dealership, your particular website,your business goals, you know what inventory is on your lot, you need tosell is really where the The broad meets the custom, you know, and foryour dealership. And so then you can take the foundations that we put inguidebooks and Taylor those for your...

...specific business. Um so you know, welook across the industry and we see these trends happening, but um I knowfor example when we talk about online retailing at 10 of the industry, We'vetalked in the past, Asbury automotive group had reached 15 of their vehiclesales in Q1 of 2020 because they were they were already getting ready forthat trend. So I point that out just to say that there every business isdifferent within this. We also share a profitability calculator that you canaccess as a dealer that I think is a really important element andunderstanding, you know what how marketing can help drive profitabilityfor my business because what we really want is within the customization tolook towards what does, what does my marketing costs for vehicles so looklike. And the profitability calculator is a spreadsheet that that allows youto look at that as well. Um so that you...

...can again take the, the foundationsthat are a guidebook, marry them up with your specific profitability, yourspecific business needs and come together with the custom program. Mhm. I'm Michel Cirillo and you've beenlistening to the dealer playbook podcast. If you haven't yet, pleaseclick the subscribe button wherever you're listening right now, leave arating or review and share it with a colleague. If you're ready to make bigchanges in your life and career and want to connect with positive nurturingautomotive professionals join my exclusive DPB pro community on facebook,that's where we share information, ideas and content that isn't sharedanywhere else. I can't wait to meet you there. Thanks for listening.

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