How to Combat Automotive Showrooming

auto showroomingShowrooming: [ˈSHōˌro͞omiNG] the practice of examining merchandise in a brick-and-mortar store without purchasing it, but then shopping online to find a lower price for the same item.

Retail settings across the world have been experiencing showrooming with the rise of mobile popularity.  With automotive sales being one of the largest purchases a consumer makes, it’s clearly going to involve some research.  Now, consumers are using mobile devices inside dealerships to research prices, other dealerships, reviews, special offers & incentives and they’re probably even writing about you on social networks.  So how can dealers stop customers from test driving, and buying elsewhere?  Here are some ways to fight back and keep the sale in house.

TECH: Arm your staff with gadgets and educate them on new technology and video presentation tools.  Large touchscreens can keep shoppers off their devices and occupied while in the dealership.  Even offering free Wi-Fi can promote mobile usage, but be sure it’s your site they’re on.  Auto-related videos and product information keep customers from researching elsewhere, and keep them on your site.

MOBILE: Pay attention to how you appear on a mobile device.  Does your dealership have a mobile site?  What about an app?  The more you’re optimized for mobile, the higher you’ll appear on search engines to online shoppers.  From here, service offers and mobile coupons can get them in the door.

SIMPLY SALES:  When you’re trying to keep customers from buying elsewhere, price matching is an easy solution.  Be sure your sales pages are updated – then promotional offers can bring people in store or entice them to offer up their information.  This can then be used in future marketing efforts.  Just remember, product differentiation is difficult in the automotive world, so be sure to offer something other than just the car.

EXPERIENCE:  Like I said before, automotive sales are one of the largest purchases a customer will make in their lifetime.  Be personable!  Make it an experience!  Provide amazing customer service before, during and after they sign.  Keep them interested inside the dealership; they won’t have time to look elsewhere.  That new car is available at any dealer, so make them choose you.

It’s obvious that showrooming will happen in the automotive world.  Distracting your customers with awesome customer service and cool gadgets can keep the focus on you.  Don’t give them a reason to explore more online.  All it takes is a little romancing…