The last two years of upheaval in the auto sales sector has been industry-wide. From building out digital sales tools at the onset of the pandemic to more recent inventory and microchip shortages, the challenges have been profound. But dealerships that were able to quickly identify these challenges and embrace the new technological advancements in the industry have revolutionized their business, maintained profitability and stayed ahead of the curve.
Of course, 2022 is sure to bring a new host of challenges, but with it, new technology that will keep your dealership profitable. From new payment solutions, better data insights and new safeguards against cyberthreats, here are the car dealership tech trends we have our eye on for 2022.
Online auto sales continue to grow
A recent Cox Automotive study found that 55% of customers have shifted to an online car buying experience. Look for that figure to grow even higher in 2022. Online car sales are here to stay and will keep on evolving, especially in ways that continue to emphasize trust with consumers.
Your dealership’s online sales tools should leverage an online and offline composite, in which a customer can begin their shopping experience on their home computer and still have a single-point-of-contact, whether they complete their purchase fully online or at the dealership.
With inventory shortage challenges and rising prices, studies have found that more than ever, customers are willing to wait for the best deal. It’s important that online sales tools prioritize transparency and efficiency rather than trying to facilitate the fastest deal possible.
Convenient payment options
As customers have increasingly come to expect convenient, seamless payment options for all our purchases — digital or otherwise — dealerships need to upgrade their payment solutions to digital, automated systems. These secure payment solutions offer features customers have come to expect, including payment scheduling, digital billing and touch-free payments.
A recent study found that 82% of consumers prefer contactless transactions. Dealerships are responding by providing support for mobile wallets, tap-and-go cards and disabling signature requirements on some purchases.
And best of all, advanced digital payment solutions provide valuable and relevant insights to help measure profitability and performance.
Many dealerships are also integrating their appointment scheduling process with other customer-facing tools, such as customer service and payment options so that the online sales portal is a one-stop-shop for all your dealership’s services.
Digital purchasing process
When it comes to convenience, customers might prefer digitally signing required documents and notarizing title and registration forms online. In many states, customers are already able to browse and purchase a car from their phone or computer. Dealerships in these states are adapting their payment systems to accept electronic signatures for car purchases, which reduces paperwork, speeds up transactions and creates a much more customer-friendly experience.
These digital contracts also improve accuracy and flag potential contract issues in seconds. With a recent study showing that 92% of current car buyers conduct research online before they purchase, we’ll soon live in a world where car shopping is an entirely online experience, with fully-digital purchases becoming the new industry standard.
With expansion into online commerce, dealerships are increasingly prioritizing security. More than ever before, the risk of fraud, cyberthreats and hacking are top of mind. Dealerships must strike a balance between implementing measures for maximum protection for their business and their customer without impeding the customer experience.
Many dealerships are partnering with cybersecurity experts to make sure their digital transactions are protected. Secure payment processing solutions provide state-of-the-art security features to protect both your business and your customer. Touchless payments as well as PCI DSS compliance provide additional security for transactions. It’s vital that you have cybersecurity measures in place so your customers can shop with confidence.
Whether it’s creating a better customer experience, navigating inventory challenges, or measuring performance, dealerships are relying on technology to get better insights into their business. With inventory issues remaining part of our daily business, dealerships are utilizing digital customer activity tracking to determine which vehicles are currently in demand. Reporting and analytics platforms can help streamline your team’s processes and connect workflows across all departments. And dealer management systems are helping to track and measure performance and profitability.
In 2022, successful car dealerships will keep riding this wave of technology to withstand the increasing challenges of the business. It’s never been easier for dealerships to harness data to increase profitability, provide their customers with seamless payment options and maintain a secure and safe environment for customers to make a purchase.
Not only will your dealership save time and money by embracing technology, but your customers will thank you for creating a better experience, whether they’re shopping in your dealership or online.