Most of us have our own private love/hate affair with Amazon. We love how easy it has made life, putting almost anything and everything we could want just the click of a button away, but we hate it for the same reason, because this gigantic, efficient marketplace has effectively made brick and mortar retail businesses redundant, one sector at a time. As it turns out, we auto industry professionals may have one more reason to keep a close eye on Amazon, as it veers its interest towards the car industry.
In August 2016, Amazon launched Amazon Vehicles, a space where you can find reviews, specs, images, and more for thousands of new and used cars. Thinking about buying a new TV? Head to Amazon to check out the reviews and price comparisons. Thinking about buying a car? Do the same thing now! And if you are looking at finding parts and products for the vehicle you already own, register it with Amazon Automotive and they’ll make that easy for you too.
And that, our friends, is the key to Amazon’s success. They make life easy for you. Let’s go back to the TV example. If I want to buy a TV, I can compare models side by side, every single feature is listed upfront, and I can read hundreds of reviews on each model to check I am buying the correct one for me. Do I need to fill out a form to see how many HDMI cable ports the TV has? No, because that would put an obstacle in the way of me doing what the seller wants me to do, which is move to the next step: purchase. Similarly, I don’t need to call the seller to check whether the TV is still available, as a clear-as-day “out of stock” sign shows up next to the product. Amazon makes the researching, reviewing, and purchasing process as user-friendly and friction free as possible.
And that, our friends, is the key to Amazon’s success. They make life easy for you.
Jeff Woolcock, Chief Sales Officer at autoTRADER.ca, has been watching Amazon’s rise within the auto industry closely.
“Amazon sets the benchmark for online retailing,” Jeff says. “They understand the consumer’s desire to have all the information at their fingertips, right here, right now. We can feel pretty certain that they will apply that same process to their automotive offering.”
He believes that the threat to brick and mortar dealerships will be a real one in the future…if we don’t all rise to the challenge, that is.
“Rather than ignore it,” Jeff continues, “we are helping dealers understand what it takes to influence consumers and stay relevant. It is critical for dealers to shift their focus from hard leads to engagement KPIs. Visibility and engagement in online channels will absolutely be the keys to success for dealers as we continue to move through this disruptive cycle. Our focus at autoTRADER is to continue to partner with dealers and help them adopt these best practices for the months and years ahead.”
Visibility and engagement in online channels will absolutely be the keys to success for dealers as we continue to move through this disruptive cycle.
The good news is, there is plenty car dealerships can do in order to keep the car buying process something people want to do in person, and instead of fearing Amazon, we can all learn from what it does well and use that to guide us.
TIPS TO KEEP UP WITH THE COMPETITION
- Merchandise your VDP well. That means making sure that it looks good, but also that it includes all the information a potential buyer is looking for
- Invest in building unique and custom content for your dealership to build you own brand
- Stop thinking about leads as your friend and instead seeing them as a missed opportunity to bring a buyer one step closer to your door
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