Learn more about the best practices for Vehicle Home Delivery.
E-commerce has taken foothold in all parts of our life. People are more comfortable making larger purchase online thanks to companies like Amazon, Walmart and eBay. The way people buy and sell cars is also changing.
More people are shopping for vehicles online as consumers get comfortable with purchasing cars remotely. This shift started before the pandemic and has accelerated as Covid-19 spurred people to shop more online and demand for cars surged.
What this means for Dealerships
The auto dealership could soon look like other parts of the retail world upended by e-commerce. Many retailers started to adopt an omni-channel strategy by integrating brick and mortar with e-commerce. Similarly, dealerships of the future will hold fewer cars on the lot and, according to the Wall Street Journal operate more like service-and-delivery centers. Dealerships will be hubs where customers can pick up vehicles ordered online and get them serviced.
The majority of e-commerce vehicle sales have been in the used car market. Companies like Carvana, Vroom and Shift are leading the change, but large dealership groups have also created stand-alone e-commerce brands to sell used vehicles.
Even car manufacturers expect to shift most of new vehicle sales online by 2030. Ford recently introduced Ford Express Buy, an online-only way to purchase a Ford vehicle which is currently only limited to Mustang Mach-E but is expected to expand to other models.
For dealerships that would like to establish an omni-channel strategy, there are multiple steps to build a successful digital retailing operation. Delivering the newly sold vehicle and picking up the trade-in are critical steps of building the end-to-end solution.
Consumers used to the seamless Amazon delivery process have the same expectations when purchasing a vehicle online. Delivering on that promise is an important part of maintaining the dealerships’ brand identity especially since the transport company acts as an extension of the dealership. Time of delivery would be the only face-to-face interaction with the consumer. Creating a positive customer experience for the consumer is paramount to support dealership’s reoccurring sales efforts.
Final Mile: Vehicle Logistics
Car transport companies have been delivering vehicles to residences for years, whether that is for relocation or for snowbirds migrating South for the winter. What is so different about delivering vehicles for online sales customers?
There are two main differentiating factors:
- Purchasing a vehicle is an emotional experience since it is a second largest purchase after a home.
- Consumers expect an “Amazon like” experience for online purchases regardless of the retailer or the product.
Providing a positive customer experience is an important step in building a successful digital retailing operation. Therefore, striving for the cheapest transport service is not the right strategy. It will diminish lifetime sales from that consumer if the experience is undermined. Dealerships should look for a logistics partner that has the expertise, technology, and established processes to deliver on consumer’s expectations.
Logistics Partner Selection Criteria for Dealers
Choosing the right logistics partner to execute digital retailing strategy is a meaningful step for dealerships. There are 5 key criteria for dealerships to consider when choosing a transport partner to fuel their e-commerce strategy:
- On-Time Delivery
- Competitive Pricing
- 24/7 Communication
- Insurance Coverage
- Vehicle Condition Report
Consumers are used to the “Amazon like” experience so vehicle logistics partners should have capabilities to provide a similar experience. A vehicle is not a package, so it cannot just be dropped off at the doorstep. Car shipping requires vehicle owner or designated individual to be present to accept delivery.
First step in achieving on-time delivery is setting accurate delivery window expectations up front with the customer. Often, the customer must take time off work to meet the driver. So, on-time delivery is extremely important to maintain a happy customer.
Shipping is not an area for dealers to pinch on rates. A happy customer is more important than the few dollars a dealer could save on cost. Providing the best possible service should be the #1 goal…but also at a competitive price.
In order to gain leverage dealers need to provide volume to auto transport services. Negotiating with volume, gives the dealer better leverage for competitive pricing.
Clear and timely communication is one of the most important ways to keep a happy customer. It starts by setting expectations for a communication channel.
Today, most people do not want to talk to a person on the phone. Instead, they would prefer to reach someone by text. Fast response time to text messages will create the best possible experience for the client.
Tesla implemented texting with their customers early in their journey and saw a significant improvement in their customer satisfaction. Proactive and timely communication creates happy customers. Logistics partner that can offer that level of customer service with 24/7 response times, will help dealers create repeat customers.
There are nightmare stories in the vehicle logistics industry about poor customer service, especially when it comes to insurance and coverage for claims. The industry is so transactional that customer service is often overlooked when it comes to claims. Many transport brokers don’t properly vet the transporter’s insurance and automatically pass claims responsibility to the transporter once shipment is loaded. What happens if the driver’s transport company goes bankrupt, who will pay the claim?
It is important to have the right logistics partner that has a proper process to deal with unpleasant claims situations. It starts by properly vetting transporter’s authority, insurance, and safety record.
The logistics company should also carry a contingent insurance policy in case the transporter is unable to cover the claim. Insurance coverage is another area where dealers should not take a shortcut. A proper process and insurance coverage can save a customer experience even in unpleasant situations.
Vehicle Condition Report
A good logistics partner will have a process for documenting a condition report of a vehicle. Recording the condition of the vehicle on the Bill of Lading at the time of loading and unloading is a very important step for minimizing the risk of damage claims. Dealers should look for logistics partners that can deliver digital condition reports with a multi-tier inspection including pictures.
Carpool Logistics is an experienced logistics partner ready to help dealers execute their digital retailing strategy. We have partnered with many dealerships and understand today’s consumer expectations when it comes to delivery services. Our logistics team leverages transporter partnerships and technology to optimize vehicle transportation.
We understand the importance of on-time delivery and open communication, that is why we utilize SMS technology to keep the customer updated 24/7. We also hold dual insurance protection for vehicles in-transit by carrying transporter’s insurance policy and Carpool’s contingent insurance policy. Carpool Logistics’ digital platform provides vehicle pooling, route optimization and status visibility for our customers.