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Car Dealers Selling Cars Online:

The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

 

This past week, I was asked by my friend Chris Ferris, Internet Director at the Accent Auto Group, to try to capture why so many in our industry are so frustrated with trying to sell cars online and to highlight what I consider to be the absolutely critical things that separate top performing eDealers from everyone else.

Yes it is people and process and those are critical, but the Internet is new and not well understood in the industry either.  It was there that Chris asked me to collect my thoughts.

To me, much technology implemented to date in dealerships is poorly designed in that it violates everything that has ever worked in trying to sell a car to a consumer... and that is before you mix in the new dynamic medium that the Internet is.

Since much has therefore been tried and most has produced substandard, mediocre or negative results, in the absence of knowledge of how and why things succeeded or failed and the relative importance of differentiation criteria, many fall back on "what my OEM tells me to do" or "which vendor had the niftiest sounding "nextware" that made me feel good, or other criteria that usually indicates to me that the person is making the decision to the detriment of his dealership.

I want better than that for those of you who care enough about your profitable success on the Internet to read my newsletters (it is why I write them).  To set the context correctly and explain the rationale, I turned it in to a PowerPoint.  To me, Chris' question came down to what I have captured on slides 4 and 7:

  • Online, many car dealer's sales funnel narrows too sharply to be profitable and efficient.
  • Car dealer's Internet sales funnel narrows too sharply because technological solutions have been implemented around the conversation you the dealer want to have, not the conversation the consumer wants to have.

There are several ways to view the collection of thoughts about why I think this is the case:

  1. An embedded Google Docs Powerpoint right on this page (below)
  2. A link to a full screen version of the same presentation
  3. A downloadable link to the original file in PowerPoint (with proper animation of the points if you run the slide show)

And as always, we encourage you to tell us what you think of our ideas on the Forum we maintain for that purpose.