Automotive Ecommerce Benchmark Study—what are the implications for your dealership?


Digital disruptions in automotive retailing. Are you seizing the advantage?

Research shows that by the year 2030, the global automobile sector is set to grow to a staggering $9 trillion industry (Statista 2021).

2020 saw the accelerated digitization of the auto buying journey, beyond the trend that was already in progress. To keep selling, auto dealerships must adapt to include a digital buying journey. The trends are characterized by these examples:

  • 95% of vehicle buyers use digital sources of information
  • 83% of consumers want to switch to buying online to save time
  • 80% of buyers use 3rd party sites or to be more precise—automotive ecommerce stores—when buying a car

How can your digital showroom help make you more money?

1) You need to drive more traffic to the site
2) Engaging the consumer on your site
3) Converting the customer

You are doing all of these things presently, but are you doing a good job or a great job? The difference is that in one case you are reaping the full benefits, whereas in the second case you are leaving money on the table. Money that another dealer is scooping from your bottom line.

How can you go from good to great? You need a holistic strategy to optimize the value of your digital presence. Think along the following lines:

  • Drive traffic to your site by using digital ads, SEM, and SEO. If you are not already using it, Salesforce Ad Studio is a sensible step in the direction of winning in this realm.
  • Once you have spent the time and money to get people to your site, what are you doing to keep them there? What are you doing to convert them into a sale? Do you have the key website capabilities that consumers seek that strongly correlate with sales? For example, having the ability to show vehicle inventory online that is closest to a customer’s location, and the ability to book a dealership visit or book a test drive are three important aspects to car buyers. Having these key capabilities that consumers are looking for increase your ability to appear in online search requests, keeps them on the site longer and gets them to actively engage, ultimately resulting in more car sales. In the OSF Digital 2022 US Automotive Dealership Ecommerce Benchmark Study, we found that aligning and optimizing key website capabilities makes it easier for the consumer to shop for new vehicles. That translates into more new vehicle sales for your dealership.
  • Make it easier for a consumer to connect with you. One key finding and easy fix is to let your customers ask questions about the vehicle by email. That was an even more important factor than letting them ask questions by telephone, text message, and even chat. Auto buyers love email.
  • Add an ecommerce platform to your site for easier and safer transactions for your customers. Another key website capability that consumers are looking for that strongly correlates with sales is being able to make a vehicle reservation. Now more than ever, your site needs to be ecommerce-enabled to accept a credit card for the deposit.
  • Knowing your customer better increases your sales conversion. Systems like Salesforce Marketing Cloud provide the ability to know more about your customer online and offline to personalize communication. As we all know, personalization in marketing increases sales conversion rates. That, in turn, increases your ROI and revenue.

It's not just about having a better website. It is about a better holistic marketing strategy and customer buying experience, which, OSF digital—unlike other vendors that only have one core competency—can do for you. We can work with you to develop a strategy to optimize the return on your investment in digital spending. Or, we can improve key capabilities on your website to convert more sales, increase your knowledge, and leverage that data to better engage and convert consumers.

Connect with us for a pressure-free discussion about how you can drive greater demand and bump up your conversions into auto sales.

Charles Dimov

Author: Charles Dimov, VP of Product Solutions

Charles brings more than 20 years of experience in marketing, sales, product development, and management. With depth and breadth in varied markets, he drives the right go-to-market and demand generation strategies for OSF’s core products. A lifelong learner, he graduated from the University of Waterloo with degrees in management, business economics, and engineering. Charles also holds several certifications in leadership and marketing.