The Best Automotive Digital Retailing is Connected Retailing

The Best Automotive Digital Retailing is Connected Retailing

The best customer experiences are seamless. 

This is why so many dealerships in the auto industry are focused not just on digital retailing, but on something called "connected retailing."

Connected retailing means your online offerings and processes are mirrored in-store. More than just choosing an automotive digital retailing tool for your site so you fill a requirement, connected retailing involves lining up each step in the dealer sales process.

In other words, your online digital retail process should strive to be identical, or near identical, to your dealership's in-store sales processes.  

Your Automotive Digital Retailing Should Reflect Your Dealership In-Store Experience, and Vice Versa

Because connected retailing should be a mirror of your dealership's in-store and online sales processes, it is important to then consider what the human aspect of your online is going to look like for those looking to buy a vehicle.

Where in that online sales process will your human connection happen? Where can a person offer assistance? Buyers inherently seek out human guidance, connection, reassurance, and empathy in their unique customer journey.

Think about social media! There is a reason it is such a big part of our world today. Brands now operate with consumers in a very social way online. Gone are the days of a one-way line of communication when selling a product online. (To dealers credit, we have been seeing an influx of utilizing a social media platform to great effect, to make car buying seem fun again!)

Customers want to connect with businesses (yes, this includes your dealership) in an instant, and they want transparency and real service at every point of contact. Buyer/buyers value the ability for a business to provide human-backed solutions to the entire transaction (where possible).

The car purchase process is an emotional process, after all. Recognizing and reciprocating the varied emotions of your customers can make for a more pleasant (and easier) sell.

Automotive digital retailing is not just online window-dressing

It’s not simply having an online presence. You shouldn't have a digital retail option just to have it.

In an increasingly digital-minded world and with emerging technology, the modern consumer is expecting even MORE convenience from digital retailing. In fact, according to a study conducted by Cox Automotive in early 2021, the convenience and ease of online automotive digital retailing have led to high satisfaction with their purchase: 

“With buyers spending less time at dealerships and benefitting from more efficient, digital retailing processes, those who were “highly satisfied” with the overall shopping experience reached 72%, up from 60% in 2019. The average vehicle buyer now visits only 2 dealerships in the vehicle buying process, down from 2.7 in 2016.”

Leads are all fine and dandy, but we all know leads alone don't secure long-term purchase loyalty or sell cars. Consumers notice great quality of life-features, transparency on what to expect,

A human connection within your digital retailing tool to guide, engage, and move the shopper through the purchase platform can increase the number of customers completing more of their deals online. This also means your dealers in-store team can devote more time to those customers who haven’t adopted the digital retailing process yet.  

A Great Digital Retailing Platform is a Huge Benefit

Right now, many dealers are enjoying robust F&I revenue. One of the primary elements in continuing that success is having a connected digital retailing process that leverages the technology your team is already comfortable using.

A quicker buy-in and easier adoption of a platform in the store can help dealers not miss a beat in growing their online abilities while not completely reinventing what the team is doing in your dealership. 

This is why ActivEngage made the decision to integrate with the automotive digital retailing tools most used by dealers. Successful dealers know that keeping the human connection out of finance and general digital retailing will mean fewer sales, profits and less satisfied customers.

Choosing a messaging partner that integrates with a tool you already have allows you to offer that much-appreciated seamless experience -- and much quicker, to boot.

4 Digital Retailing Platforms That Integrate with ActivEngage

We dubbed our digital retailing integration “Guide By Side” because that’s exactly what we offer your online car shoppers! If you use one of the following automotive digital retailing tools, you have the opportunity to offer a real person - much-needed human guidance - that other automotive digital retailing platforms may be lacking. 

We work with some of the biggest names in the automotive industry for digital retailing, so we compiled a list of our major integrations and their essential elements that you can consider for your digital dealership, and what that can look like for your sales financing, credit, trade, and payment options:

Cox Automotive’s Accelerate My Deal

Recently, ActivEngage was named Cox Automotive’s exclusive digital messaging partner across their entire product and platform suite. The result is a seamless, complete live chat experience across all of Cox’s platforms; including their digital retailing tool, Accelerate My Deal. 

Accelerate My Deal is a full-service digital retailing experience that allows shoppers convenient features to structure deals and payments, browse their finance and credit options, reserve a vehicle, and schedule test drives with their vehicle or vehicles of interest.

Our technology, with the addition of our fully people-powered conversations aiding shoppers in the process, ensure that they feel at ease, heard, and assisted through the car buying process, which can historically be a complicated and emotional process with dealerships.

No matter where car buyers are shopping in Cox Automotive’s retail family, there is no break or gap in the online experience thanks to Threaded Conversations. For example: if a customer begins their vehicle search online on Autotrader, and goes down the sales funnel all the way to Accelerate My Deal, our integration allows the conversation to be maintained throughout these platforms. 

CDK | Roadster

CDK Global/Roadster was the first business in the industry to offer ActivEngage’s messaging within their respective digital retailing platforms. So, it made sense when CDK acquired Roadster because they had similar visions for their dealers and their customers; both of whom were looking for an improved purchase process and a platform that could help achieve that.

CDK Roadster allows a customer to shop your inventory online 24/7, the choice to receive a price based on purchase method (finance and the credit details that go with it, cash, or lease), and calculate payments using hundreds of data points for the highest possible accuracy. 

CDK Roadster is a very robust digital retailing platform that also allows you to value a trade, determine your loan payoff amount, and even add accessories on cars of interest. With ActivEngage’s CDK Roadster integration, your customers can rest assured their questions and concerns will get fielded and relayed to your team quickly and easily.

GM’s Shop. Click. Drive.

Even automotive OEMs are getting in on the digital retailing and connected retailing game! Actually, GM has been in the game for a while — Shop Click Drive was introduced in 2013, so kudos for being ahead of the automotive business curve, GM! 

This Digital Retailing tool is free for any and all Chevrolet, Buick, GMC, and Cadillac dealers, backed directly by GM and provides shoppers a quick and thorough way to find their perfect late-year model GM vehicle, tailor a deal and minimize office time — all without ever leaving the dealership website. 

To sweeten the deal, GM dealers have a choice to self-manage their own inbound messaging with GM’s own GM Dealer Chat or utilize ActivEngage’s Customer Engagement Experts to field questions and reassure shoppers throughout the process. So, whether you have a solid BDC team, or want to make sure your sales team can focus on the in-store experience, you’re covered! 

J.D. Power | Darwin Automotive’s Shop with EASE

J.D. Power is a leader in data analytics and consumer intelligence - which lends itself very well to a rich digital retailing offering for the automotive industry.

Shop with EASE (Enhanced Automotive Sales Experience) offers payment calculations for all 50 states, F&I products that use the company’s famous analytics to perform prescriptive selling, “buy now” electronic contracting, and instant trade payoffs using a deep data depository — among other great customer experience features. 

J.D. Power’s time-tested data expertise, mixed with Darwin’s retailing platform, and ActivEngage’s real conversations, offer customers incredible depth in their unique car shopping journey, ensuring more comfort in the transaction.

Level Up Your Digital Retailing Automotive Game with ActivEngage

Digital retailing certainly amps up the connected nature of your dealership's online and in-store customer experience, but real human interaction and guidance brings it all home to make a truly connected retailing experience! These tools offer clear incentives for your dealership to bring .

Our automotive industry partners see the value in human connection during the vehicle purchase process — a very emotional process — and know that live guidance from a real person is what truly provides a solution for a great customer experience. 

Enhance your digital retailing connection with ActivEngage! In addition to the deepest integrations with various automotive digital retailing tools, we also offer a varied suite of customer engagement solutions: 


Ready to enhance your digital retailing to connected retailing?

Let’s talk!