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How to Connect With Shoppers Digitally as Social Distancing Becomes Common Practice

Written By Ted Rubin

The automotive industry is facing uncertain times, as COVID-19’s effects on business remain unclear.  The nation continues to practice social distancing as a safety measure, putting businesses that depend on real world foot traffic in a tight spot.

Social distancing may affect real world business, but digital foot traffic is thriving.  To offset any upset in sales, we’re sharing three ways that your dealership can connect with shoppers effectively in a digital world.  

Human Communication

Make virtual interaction a human experience. Chat tools are a great way to connect with consumers, but it is vital that there is a face behind the conversation.  Consumers want to connect your business with real people; offering personalized interactions not only allows for more in-depth conversation, but increases your reputation amongst consumers.

  • Provide consumers with 24/7 availability
  • Offer reassurance that your dealership is virtually open and functioning
  • Validate customers and take care of their concerns 


When uncertainty has settled in, human interaction makes one thing clear to customers; your dealership cares.  Let consumers know that you value their business and will go the extra mile to provide top-notch service.

Extend a Virtual Hand

Customers don’t always know who or what they’re searching for.  The first step in creating a relationship with them is extending a virtual hand, so to speak.  If your dealership is not present in a customer’s digital space, it doesn’t exist to them.  

The chance of a consumer taking the time to search for your specific dealership is slim, so it is important that you make yourself available to them.  Reaching out to customers starts a guided retailing experience that works in your dealerships favor.  

Some ways to guide customers in your direction are:

  • Offering customers deals on their turf by having inventory advertised on social media 
  • Increasing your overall visibility to reach more customers and stay top of mind

Cast Your Brand in a Positive Light

With social distancing resulting in a lack of face-to-face interaction, customers need validation and reassurance more than ever.  There are only so many places customers can search through to form a well-rounded opinion about your dealership. Without a physical dealership location in the picture, the public opinion and the reputation that surrounds your dealership matters even more because it acts as a source of credibility.  

Customers will try to assess your reputation by looking up reviews and seeing what others have to say about your dealership.  Some ways to enhance your chances for business are:

  • Boosting your dealerships reputation with more genuine customer reviews
  • Interacting with customers and commenting on reviews to show that you value their time, business and opinion


The biggest takeaway from this article is that the impression your dealership makes on the customer matters.  Make digital retailing during this uncertain time a personal, inviting, and caring experience, and you can expect your digital connections with customers to be as strong and fruitful as any real world connection can be.


Ready to discover how ActivEngage helps your dealership succeed?