Buying online has become common practice for both customers and retailers. With 79% of smartphone users making a purchase online within the last 6 months, finding ways to make shopping for an RV more mobile and e-commerce friendly is one of the best ways to differentiate yourself as a retailer in the RV space.
Th RV industry is in demand and customers expect more upfront information and price clarity before purchasing a unit. With recent inventory shortages, this can get tricky because multiple factors affect the price each customer pays. Customers want to know all their options, and they want them readily available at their fingertips.
If you put yourself in the customer’s shoes, you can see their frustrations. They are accustomed to living in a world with Alexa, who can answer any question at the drop of a hat, and of course Amazon, where purchases are delivered within 24 hours. These expectations are hard to live up to, especially when selling high-consideration products such as RVs, which require a significant amount of upfront information from the customer.
Before visiting a dealership, customers want to understand their financing options, trade-in value, dealer fees, and qualifying incentives, so they feel comfortable reserving the unit and placing a deposit for the purchase. When customers do not have total deal clarity, they can become frustrated and are more likely to abandon the purchase altogether. The good news is that modern digital retailing solutions available to RV dealers today can create a better experience for their customers, especially in a competitive buying environment where demand is high, and inventory shortages are real.
Step one for any RV dealer is to build trust with their customers. Every part of the sales process is geared towards ensuring the customer feels comfortable and confident in the dealer’s ability to provide the best product and price available, even if it’s a digital transaction on their website. This can be tricky when a customer has to make assumptions about your dealership and your products based on your online presence and reviews.
For this reason, you want your online presence to be professional, transparent, and building trust in the sales process. One way to do this is to collect as much information as possible about your customers while letting them drive the entire transaction from the comfort of their homes. This means thinking differently about your lead acquisition strategy and capturing information such as pre-qualification status, trade-in value, and the unit of interest. Collecting this data in the initial stages of the shopping process can tell the salesperson a lot about the customer, so it’s essential to provide potential buyers with the right digital shopping tools to help qualify and guide the sales conversation. With Rollick’s all-new Digital Retailing solution, RollickDR, dealers can collect essential customer sales information in a single lead submission. RollickDR also provides the customer with a personalized report of all the information they would get in a dealership, such as special deals, financing, trade-in calculation, monthly payments, interest rates, and more. RollickDR even allows customers to reserve an RV online and place a deposit.
The idea is to simulate the same experience shoppers are used to on popular e-commerce sites like Amazon or Chewy. Moving the needle for the recreation industry is a reality for RV dealers with solutions like RollickDR.
Adopting new technology and implementing enhanced sales processes can be challenging, but we have you covered with these five tips:
Tip 1: Let Go of Some Control
First, you have to let go of some control in the upfront pre-sales process. The goal is to help your customers feel in control of the entire buying experience, so let them engage with your inventory and develop the deal on their terms. Increased customer interaction on your website vs. in-store will likely result in a better purchase experience.
Tip 2. Think Beyond Traditional Lead Forms
Traditional lead forms are dead. Now, the focus is shifted towards a better way to acquire information, so customers feel in control and dealers have the data they need to close the deal without having to "sell.” Driving traffic to static landing pages with a call to action of “give me your name, email address, and phone number” will only get you 10% of the way in the sales process. Using a single-point deal creator tool, such as RollickDR, will allow your sales team to close deals faster because all pre-sales information is captured upfront, and the unit can also be reserved with a deposit in the same transaction. Initial Rollick data shows that dealers who fully embrace the digital retailing experience are seeing a 50%* increase in close rates and leads that pass pre-qualification close at 2.4x* compared to traditional website leads.
Tip 3: Rethink Your Follow-Up Strategy
For most dealers and sales teams, digital retailing may feel a bit uncomfortable at first since traditional lead forms have been the primary source of customer data for RV dealers for the last 20+ years. The key is to be patient, give the customer some time to build their deal, then follow up with specific questions or next steps related to their RV purchase. Your first outreach to customers shouldn’t be focused on product discovery questions. With RollickDR, you will have all the pre-sale information at your fingertips to close the deal.
Tip 4: Use The Data to Your Advantage
With RollickDR, you can expect to see up to an 87%* increase in lead submissions, so leveraging the customer-facing deal creator, and the data that comes with it, is paramount to your sales success. When you receive new opportunities, RollickDR scores each lead on a 1 - 5 flame scale. A five flame is the hottest opportunity. RollickDR also provides additional insight into whether the customer passed or failed the pre-qualification process, annual salary, and buying time frame. These key indicators can be used to your advantage in the sales process.
Tip 5: Communicate with Customers in their Medium of Choice
To make the buying process as seamless as possible, ask your customers upfront how they want the flow of communication to go. For example, they may not want to come into the dealership right away, so don’t force them into your showroom for a face-to-face meeting. Today, text messaging is the most popular form of communication; that’s why RollickDR is a text message-enabled platform, allowing dealers to text, quote, and email directly with customers as leads enter the pipeline.
Gathering information about financing, trade-ins, and realistic pricing benefits both the customer and the dealer. This helps customers feel in control and confident about their purchase while also creating a seamless sales experience. Armed with this data upfront, the odds of your digital shoppers converting are significantly higher, and a sales rep can reach out with all the information they need to complete the sale. As an RV dealer, your online presence and capacity to deliver a seamless digital retailing experience online are your two most powerful tools to edge ahead of the competition.
* Data based on Rollick's May 2021 internal analysis - Actual results may vary.
Consumers today have been trained by leading eCommerce and tech companies that anything can be delivered to them in an instant. When shopping on Amazon, buyers can point, click, and have items shipped within a couple of days, and in some cases the same day. Ask Alexa where the nearest boat dealer is located, and she immediately provides the distance to get there, directions, and will even call the dealership for you. Information is endless and easily accessible to make informed purchase decisions. However, when examining today’s retail experience in the recreation industry, the buying experience is counter to what consumers expect, especially when purchasing a big-ticket item, such as a boat.
Warranty registrations. Words that might bring about a long sigh and an eye roll for OEMs and dealers in the recreation industry. Warranties can be a great consumer benefit: they are a huge selling point and can make a one-time buyer into a lifelong customer. Submitting Registrations, on the other hand, is an extra step in the sales process and typically the last thing dealers want to think about after making a sale. However, the secret we all know is that registrations play a huge role in warranty claim management, continued customer satisfaction, and a healthy marketing ecosystem between OEMs and dealers.
While the pandemic has created some uncertainty in the world, it has also created a selling opportunity for OEMs and dealers selling outdoor recreational vehicles and boats. As we enter the summer months, we are seeing a shift from summer vacations and travel expenditures to more investment in local, outdoor lifestyle activities where social distancing can be easily monitored.