Greetings, I am sure you are already tired of hearing all the negative press and the scare that the media has been doing a great job on. We all get the severity of the circumstances and the serious consequences. But quite frankly I now turn the news off after I have gathered the essential update every morning, no one needs to hear the stats of infected people and the death count in your face every time you tune in.
Now that we are all isolated, distanced and socially disconnected, in order to sustain our livelihood in all areas of businesses we have to get creative, think outside of the box and take advantage of some of the limitations that the circumstances have imposed upon us. In our retail industry, and during a time when we have been talking about transformation regarding mobility concepts and the future of transportation, perhaps one advance step that we can take towards it is to change our philosophy about retail, transparency, employee and customer relationships and re-invent our business model to accommodate to self-quarantining customers.
While there are several models and software out there that provides online transactions to a great extent, none of them are complete from soup to nuts. You give out quotes, show cars, negotiate and settle up on price and payments. But when it comes to transacting the sale there are usually practical problems. While you can sign most of the documents such as lease and purchase contracts, it is still limited by state laws as to how much of the registration documents you can consummate on-line. And of course, the challenge of sight unseen trades. But none of this at this point is an obstacle to prevent sales on-line and delivered to customers. It is a matter of adopting philosophies, processes and policies.
There is however one important piece if addressed thoroughly would attract more customers to your website and encourage them to do business with your company as opposed to others. And yes, I am talking about interactive websites which are customized to each individual customer. With the artificial intelligence technology today, you can customize your websites to capture all of the interactions with your prospects and preserve what they had browsed through what information they inquired and what has been communicated back all the way to the details of the chats that had taken place between them and your sales staff on line. This will allow your customers to take control of their shopping experience and get comfortable with the style that not only provides a sense of security but also the desire to do business with a company that operates with full transparency.
Let’s face it, even though some states considered auto retailing “Non-Essential Business” you still have customers who are at end of lease terms who need to get another one, some get in accidents and total their cars and yet some others who need repairs and services. To continue operating during these times of lock down, it is no different than the restaurants now solely offering take out orders and or deliveries to maintain business. Most of them are doing well and have some employees who are able to keep their jobs because of this. Based on the same principal and provided that people would be reluctant to visit your showrooms or your service departments, would be offered solutions by bringing products and services to their doorsteps. Give them the convenience to shop and transact online, deliver and execute documents at their location and offer pick up and delivery for you service customers. You will be amazed how far ahead you could get. However, providing these services are not enough, you also have to go out there and let them know about it through every means of digital media known to man kind and direct all of you marketing dollars to that cause. This is the time to work smarter and not harder.
Stay strong, there is only one thing that is constant in life, CHANGE! therefore this will change as well.
See you next month.