For too long the automotive industry has been plagued by stereotypes cloaked with negative perceptions. But when was the last time we stopped to ask ourselves why? How do we combat these stereotypes?
The first step is to uncover the meaning and proper implementation of Digital Trust. I bet you are saying to yourself, “Isn’t this issue’s focus on artificial intelligence (AI)?” You are correct, and AI and Digital Trust are closely related, so let’s look at them deeper.
Artificial intelligence by definition is an area of computer science that emphasizes the creation of intelligent machines that work and react like humans. AI is technology collecting and analyzing data on an ongoing basis and building algorithms so that automated technology can react autonomously. Wow, that can sound complicated!
Many companies claim to have AI built into their platforms and solutions, but because the term AI is so overused and covers such a broad range of capabilities, it’s hard to tell what it really means. That’s one of the biggest reasons why implementing Digital Trust into your dealership is so important. If a company is not upfront about why and how their solutions are considered “AI,” that probably means they are over-embellishing their products and services. HUGE RED FLAG!
So, how does this apply to your dealership’s practices? To start, let’s tackle the stereotype of the typical car sales person. We all know it, but none of us actually picture ourselves that way. Yet the perception persists because many dealers have not shed the old, outdated, and ineffective practices involved in advertising, managing, and promoting their business. Digital Trust is about being transparent, respectful, and protective of the data you collect on consumers and how you use it.
Make it easy for consumers to find the information they need in the way they search, so making a purchase is not a stressful process. Consumers are jaded and automatically look for the “it’s too good to be true” aspect of offers when they shop. So, be transparent, honest, and upfront with your merchandising. Don’t draw shoppers onto your website on false promises or hide crucial details in fine print, because you’ll never see or hear from those shoppers again.
Google research shows that 95 percent of car shoppers use digital as a primary source of information. It also shows that they generally collect all the information they need to make a purchase in two weeks or less. What’s more, the amount of phone calls and lead submissions has decreased, and in-store visits before making a purchase have dropped from five down to one or two.
This means you have fewer opportunities to make a good first impression. With fewer opportunities and more information available to immediately validate or invalidate your claims, building a relationship on trust is crucial. The most important thing to remember is that trust is not built on one interaction, but it can be shattered with one poor one. Build trust into all that you do.
Here are 3 keys to building digital trust in your store today:
Provide a consistent shopping experience from end to end, i.e., your ads to your website. This means if there’s an offer in your ad, it better match the offer on the landing page to the penny.
Be specific, diligent, and consistent across all communication channels when it comes to syndicating your messages. If someone searches for monthly payments or lease payments on vehicles in your area, do you show up? Do you answer the shopper’s question with relevant details, meaning more than MSRP? Tricking people into visiting your site with lines like “See deals on our website” and then dropping them on your homepage or an unfiltered SRP that never answers their question is one of the biggest mistakes that happens all too often.
Don’t waste your time, effort, and money spent to drive form submissions, calls, and in-store visits by not being prepared to reinforce the Digital Trust you have built online. That means your entire staff must be aware of your online offers and how to handle them in-person, whether they answer the phone, are a floor salesperson, or are a service writer.
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