Most automotive consumers want auto dealership websites to offer an array of user functionality beyond focusing merely on what vehicles are for sale, says Max Steckler, vice president-global products for CDK Global, a dealership-information services provider.

Serious digital shoppers desire the full monty, including the ability to calculate car payments and learn about finance and insurance products.

Offering customers those things not only fulfills wants but also helps a dealership’s bottom line, Steckler says, citing the higher profits that come from dealer operations other than new-car sales.

“Profits from aftermarket products and service contracts are up, while new-car sales profits average 2.5%,” he says at a recent CX Summit in Los Angeles. “Are we going to step over profit dollars (from F&I and accessories) to get to the dimes of front-end gross?”

A modern dealership website should include a robust calculator that shows payments and how they change from trim to trim level, he says. That lets online shoppers on their own “make adjustments and see how those affect pricing.”      

He urges dealers to think of digital retailing as an end-to-end process. “How will dealers not only sell cars, but ensure that profits are being driven?”

He calls on the industry – from automakers to dealers to affected third-parties –

to work together to enhance the automotive digital customer experience.

“There has to be a remodeling not a rebuilding,” he says of progressive effort towards A-to-Z auto retailing online. “The option is we don’t evolve into what the customer wants, and then Amazon comes in.

sfinlay@wardsauto.com