Customers are no longer in the passenger seat—they are driving their own automotive experience.
The Omnichannel Automotive Customer Journey
“I want to buy a car, do you have what I need?”
During this initial phase, your customers complete the majority of their research online and expect to visit only ONE dealership to finalize the purchase process. Engaging with the customer at this stage is crucial since they are actively looking for where to buy their vehicle and which dealerships have it in stock.
“I just made a big purchase with you, will you stay in touch?”
This is where the final decision-making, negotiations, and reassurance take place. At this point, customers want to know where they can get the best deal for their car. They’ve checked pricing and available discounts, and have already looked up dealership address and hours. After a high-investment purchase, customers need to feel valued and gain a sense of reassurance. Post-purchase contact and follow up, is one of the most important parts of the customer experience.
- 62% of customers are not contacted post-purchase, but wanted to receive some form of communication.
- 75% of in-market shoppers are not contacted by dealers when they are actively looking for, or thinking of buying a new vehicle.
“I want to feel good about coming back in, what can you offer?”
The service phase is an often-overlooked opportunity to drive consumers back to your dealer website and back into your shop. When it comes time for service, vehicle owners have specific needs in mind, so it’s important to highlight your service discounts and offerings. Customers want to know who they can trust with their car, and what level of service they can expect. That’s why online reviews of your staff and dealership service department can play a big role in their decision to service a vehicle at your deaership.
“I’m looking for a new dealership to call home, is yours the one for me?”
This is an ongoing phase where you’ll win over prospects who are new to the area, your previous customers, or your competitors’ dissatisfied clients. Making these customers feel appreciated is important as they decide where to service or purchase their vehicle. These customers need to be reassured that your dealership is the best place to go for all their vehicle needs. Welcome customers new to the area with triggered communications and personalized mail, or get them thinking about a new car with a quote.
“I’m looking to change vehicles, does your dealership have the online tools I need?”
Customers who have reached this phase fit into one or more of the following: They have high mileage, positive equity, want a new car, totaled their car, or their lease is up. At this time, they are searching for vehicle information online, so making sure your brand is visible in the digital space is mandatory during this stage. These customers will be reassessing their vehicle warranty, figuring out their trade-in value, and researching car prices.