CarMax has made omnichannel retailing — which refers to offering a seamless buying experience to consumers whether they shop online, in-store or both — a large piece of its retail strategy this year. CEO Bill Nash told investors recently that since debuting its OmniChannel offering in Atlanta in December of 2018, CarMax has seen two straight quarters of double-digit percentage gains in same-store sales in that market, and those same-store sales have outpaced company averages.
Tom Laymac, global director of digital at Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, is a staunch believer that auto brands and dealers absolutely must move toward a “tierless” marketing approach. In this document, Laymac discusses the pitfalls of a “silo” mentality in today’s industry, and the drawbacks associated with having brand, regional, and dealer segments acting as autonomous entities. Instead, Laymac makes the case for consolidated data and a “frictionless” consumer experience, which can only adequately be delivered with a tierless approach and an OmniChannel marketing strategy.
"Targeting high-intent consumers yields a more efficient paid search spend. We’ve been able to more than double our digital-lead retail sales at the same marketing cost. This strategy has also enabled us to strengthen the bridge between tiers and make more informed marketing decisions."
Consumers don’t just want some channels—they want them all.
Critical Channels of Choice, a study by The CMO Council, polled consumers, finding that 59% say it’s important for companies to be OmniChannel, with 28% feeling it’s critical and only 13% not caring. In addition, 85% want a blend of physical and digital.
Learn how CarMax, the largest used car retailer in the U.S., has worked to re-invent the used car market to be an OmniChannel environment that’s innovative, easy-to-use, and transparent.
"We believe that no other company is in a better position to deliver this OmniChannel experience efficiently and profitably," said Bill Nash, president and chief executive officer CarMax. "This is truly an unmatched experience that we are confident is the future of car buying.”
Harmonized retail, which is the integration between physical stores and technology, will be necessary for the future, says Rick Chichester, president and CEO of Faris Lee Investments. "We are already seeing the trends in today’s market. E-commerce firms are moving rapidly into brick-and-mortar such as Amazon launching the Amazon Go concept and opening the initial store in Seattle as well as Walmart also increasing its omnichannel presence. The integration of physical stores and technology is critical for success and future growth."
According to April 2019 data from business intelligence company Incite Group, customer service professionals from various industries worldwide said that a seamless OmniChannel user experience (34.0%) and the encouragement of self-service tools (29.7%) will be two of the most transformative customer service innovations over the next five to 10 years.
In 2018, ICSC published a landmark study exploring the influence of physical stores on retailers’ web traffic. The findings demonstrated how brick-and-mortar stores form the foundation of a halo effect—namely, that the presence of physical stores boosts the share of those retailers’ web traffic in the markets where the stores are present; that closing stores causes a corresponding drop in online clicks; and, that the presence of physical stores has a demonstrable effect across several metrics of brand health.
Dealers use a ton of vendors. CDK has released a study that indicates dealers utilize 14 service providers on average, ranging from digital marketing to CRM systems. That said, 78-percent remark that they wish they had someone to lean on to inform them as to how best to understand their metrics and maximize performance.
The takeaway: At dealerships, there may be too many tools in the toolshed.
Equifax Automotive vice president of strategy and marketing, Jennifer Reid, speaks to Auto Marketing on the challenges dealers face when moving into the digital retailing space, and how a complete solution is the holy grail for approximately 75% of dealers that don’t wish to deal with platform fragmentation.
“So the true solution is going to be looking at a partnership across the technology platforms, the data providers and services providers, to be able to connect those things together,” Reid said.
In an effort to streamline the companies and tools they work with, Toyota is taking a proactive approach by adopting an omnichannel retail strategy that enables customers to shop, finance, and schedule service from anywhere that boasts an internet connection. It provides a seamless buying experience regardless of whether the customer is operating from a computer, a phone/tablet, or in a dealership.
While digital marketing gets plenty of press these days—and rightfully so—a strong direct mail strategy is crucial to your dealership. In fact, direct mail’s effectiveness continues to reach new heights. The ANA/DMA Response Rate Report 2018 reflects two points: the direct mail response rate is the highest it’s ever been (since they first started tracking in 2003), and the direct mail response rate for house lists, specifically, is at nearly 10% and now also the highest it’s been since the report began. Fascinating insights inside this PDF…