The past two years of pandemic and supply chain disruptions as competition from startup rivals grew have forced traditional dealership groups to take a closer look at the convenience and customer experience they offer.
That has led to a shift from a linear, store-driven sales process to more of a hybrid one — in which a consumer can start or finish a car deal online and jump in and out of the digital or in-store environments as often as necessary. That approach is often referred to as omnichannel retailing.
I wrote this week about the digital retailing initiatives by the nation's public dealership groups. Several are investing in — and targeting greater revenue from — their own branded online tools. They generally aim to leverage their brick-and-mortar stores and digital platforms to create a flexible, omnichannel experience that gives them the scale to reach a wide swath of consumers.
That hybrid approach may be an advantage for the public groups over online retailers Carvana and Vroom, says Marvin Fong, an equity analyst at BTIG, who analyzed digital sales data from both types of vehicle sellers.