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How to build awareness about your digital retail experience

5 Ways to Differentiate Your Dealership from the Competition


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It’s well-documented that car buyers think buying a car takes too long. They want to find their car online, agree on a price and trade-in value, and do their paperwork before ever going to the dealership.1  But you’ve already started to solve those challenges by using digital retailing at your store.

Now it’s time to let your potential customers know: you’ve got a better way than the competition for them to buy a car.

The Basics: How to Market Your “Digital” Dealership

Getting the word out about your dealership’s online buying experience begins by shifting the way you think about it. It’s not just an online deal-making tool for your team. It’s a shopper-friendly solution designed to improve the customer experience by speeding up the purchase process, promoting transparency on both sides of the transaction, and empowering shoppers to do more of the work at their convenience. The benefits of doing so are real and impressive. According to Driver’s Village in New York, their customers now engage with them online more than 50% of the time.2

Just think of the opportunities you can leverage to promote such a powerful advantage. Digital retailing is a critical point of differentiation between your dealership and the local competition, and marketing it as such gives you a valid and compelling reason to share it with potential customers and expand your reach. Here’s how:

1) Put It Front and Center on Your Website

Spread your digital retail gospel across your website, but especially from your homepage. Think through the most-important and most-visited pages of your dealership website, and make sure your digital retail message can be seen there, too. By merchandising your digital retail experience across your website, you are creating awareness in the minds of customers who may not currently be in the market for a car now, but will be in the future (e.g., customers scheduling vehicle service).

2) Promote It in Your Service Department

You’ve got existing customers who are visiting your dealership for service, likely a few times a year. Chances are, the last time they bought a car, they did it the old-fashioned way. This is a great time and place to let them know that, next time, they can start the car-buying process online on your dealership website.

3) Create Content that Tells Your Digital Retail Story

It’s vital to tell your own digital story, one that incorporates key elements of digital retailing: the fact that it’s the same experience with real, accurate numbers whether at home or at the dealership, and the time customers can save. Keep in mind these 3 points when crafting your message: (1) How much time will it save? (2) How do I use it? (3) Who has had success?

  • Create a dedicated landing page on your website that educates consumers about the process, like Frankman Motors does.
  • Use video like Driver’s Village of New York. They came up with a fun and educational video that illustrates the online buying process for customers. Best of all, they were able to illustrate customer pain points – and their solution to it.
  • Use testimonials from happy customers that let them share in their own words the benefits they enjoyed of buying a car this new way – focusing on things like time savings and less in-store paperwork.
  • Create an infographic that illustrates the steps in the process.

4) Launch a Digital Ad Campaign

Your dealership’s decision to invest in digital retailing is a big deal, so treat it as such by devoting some ad dollars to it. Use display advertising that drives to your dedicated digital retailing landing page that explains the process. Have some fun at the local level by tying it to major shopping themes, like Black Friday.

5) Use Social Media and PR

You’re saving car buyers time and giving them what they want – a convenient, fast, personalized and transparent experience. It’s ample ground for an ongoing series of stories or social posts about how your digital retail experience makes a significant difference in car buyers’ lives. Post happy car buyer photos on Instagram and Facebook, for example – and use a digital retailing hashtag that’s specific to your brand.

You should also contact your local media that talks about how your new process revolutionizes the way members of your local community can buy a car.

No matter what you do, keep one thing in mind: don’t make your digital transformation a secret. Shout it from the rooftops!

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