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Navigating the Vehicle Dealership Model Transformation with Omnichannel, Visualization, and Self-Service Sales Capabilities

Specialty and Heavy Vehicle Dealership Models are changing quickly

The heavy & specialty vehicles industries represent an industry dedicated to designing and manufacturing commercial vehicles tailored for specific functions across diverse fields such as trailers, RVs, construction, mining, agriculture, and other heavy-duty applications.  

These vehicles are customized with advanced features and technologies to address unique operational demands, driving continual innovation and adaptation to meet the evolving needs of specialized applications.  

In today’s rapidly evolving vehicle industry, sales strategies face three critical challenges:

  1. Dealership Model Transformation: The shift towards direct sales and online platforms challenges traditional dealership models. To remain competitive, manufacturers must adapt their sales strategies and customer engagement approaches significantly. 
  2. Omnichannel Sales: Providing a seamless omnichannel experience requires integration across multiple platforms and channels. Failure to offer a customized buying experience while maintaining brand cohesion can hinder success. 
  3. Customer Self-Service: Increasingly, customers expect the ability to customize and purchase vehicles online without direct sales assistance. 

Vehicle Dealership Model Transformation Affecting Heavy & Specialty Vehicle Sales 

Today’s buyers are no longer content with the traditional, linear path to vehicle purchase; they demand a seamless, personalized experience that spans digital and physical locations.  

The New Customer Journey in Commercial Vehicle Sales 

The journey of purchasing a commercial vehicle has expanded beyond the dealership’s showroom to include digital exploration, comparison, and customization, and frankly – to resemble the consumer buying experience and expectation. Modern customers start their journey online, expecting to research, configure, and even negotiate deals in a virtual space before they consider a visit to a physical location.  

This shift necessitates a unified approach to sales, one that Configure, Price, Quote (CPQ) software is uniquely equipped to provide. 

The Omnichannel Sales Strategy  

CPQ software integrates into the dealership’s sales strategy, offering a cohesive experience for the buyer, whether they’re online, on their phone, or in the showroom. Here’s how CPQ solutions are transforming the vehicle sales process: 

Digital Showrooms and Vehicle Configurators 

CPQ solutions empower dealerships to create online showrooms and detailed vehicle configurators, allowing customers to explore options, customize their vehicle to their preferences, and understand pricing in real-time — all from the comfort of their home. 

Unified Customer Data for Personalized Engagement 

By centralizing customer data from various touchpoints, CPQ enables dealerships to offer personalized engagement and recommendations. Sales representatives gain insights into a customer’s online activities, preferences, and interactions, allowing for tailored conversations and offers when the customer enters the dealership. 

Enhancing Mobile and Social Media Sales Channels

With CPQ, manufacturers can extend their sales channels beyond the traditional. Customers can configure their vehicles via a mobile app, engage with dealers through social media platforms, and even complete parts of the sales process virtually, ensuring a seamless transition between channels. 

Seamless In-Store Experiences Augmented by CPQ

When a customer visits the showroom, the dealership staff can access the configurations and preferences saved online, thanks to CPQ integrations. This continuity ensures that the in-person experience is not just a repeat of online activities but an enhanced phase where sales representatives can offer deeper insights, finalize configurations, and close deals with confidence. 

Overcoming Challenges with CPQ

Transitioning to an omnichannel sales model with CPQ does pose challenges, including the integration with existing systems and training staff to utilize new tools effectively. However, the return on investment is substantial, offering dealerships the ability to meet modern consumer expectations, streamline the sales process, and increase customer satisfaction and loyalty.

Data Privacy and Security

With CPQ solutions, managing customer data across multiple channels becomes more secure and compliant with privacy regulations. CPQ platforms are designed with robust security measures to protect sensitive customer information, ensuring trust and compliance. 

Embracing Self-Service Sales in the Heavy & Specialty Vehicle Industry

In the context of the evolving vehicle dealership model, self-service sales capabilities are becoming increasingly pivotal. The shift toward digitalization, accentuated by the demands of modern consumers for autonomy and instantaneity, has made self-service an essential component of the sales strategy in the heavy and specialty vehicle sector.

Empowering Customers with Information and Control

Self-service in vehicle sales allows customers to take control of their buying journey, offering them the ability to explore, configure, and even purchase vehicles without direct interaction with sales personnel. This capability aligns with the preferences of today’s digital-savvy, sustainable buyers, who value the convenience and speed of online transactions.

  • Interactive Online Configurators: By providing detailed, user-friendly configurators online, dealerships enable customers to tailor vehicles to their exact specifications. This not only enhances the customer experience but also streamlines the sales process, as the configurations provide a solid starting point for any subsequent sales discussions. 
  • Comprehensive Product Information: An essential element of effective self-service is access to detailed, clear, and accessible product information. This ensures that customers can make informed decisions, reducing the need for clarification from sales staff and increasing customer confidence in the purchase. 
  • Online Pricing and Financing Tools: Transparent pricing and accessible financing options are crucial for empowering customers to make purchase decisions independently. By offering these tools online, dealerships can facilitate a smoother, faster sales process that meets the expectations of modern consumers. 

Integrating Self-Service with Personalized Sales Support

While self-service capabilities offer numerous advantages, they are most effective when integrated into a broader, omnichannel sales strategy that includes personalized support: 

  • Seamless Transition to Sales Support: While many customers appreciate the ability to control their journey, access to expert assistance when needed is vital. Dealerships can integrate chatbots and live chat options, ensuring that customers can easily transition from self-service to human support. 
  • Data-Driven Personalization: The data gathered from customers’ online activities can be leveraged to provide personalized assistance when they choose to engage with sales staff. This integration ensures that the sales team is well-informed about the customer’s preferences and requirements, facilitating more meaningful and efficient interactions. 
  • Consistent Omnichannel Experience: Ensuring consistency across all channels—whether online, in-app, or in-store—is crucial for maintaining customer trust and satisfaction. By providing a unified experience, dealerships can reinforce their brand and build stronger customer relationships. 

A modern CPQ is the answer for a changing vehicle dealership model 

As manufacturers gear up for the challenges of 2024, the quest for solutions addressing high-variance products and customer demands remains paramount for sustained success. In this pursuit, Tacton Configure, Price, Quote (CPQ) stands as a strategic ally.

Building on our proven track record as the industry leading CPQ solution, Tacton empowers manufacturers to efficiently navigate intricate product variations and meet dynamic customer expectations. As the industrial landscape evolves, Tacton continues to be the go-to solution, providing manufacturers with the agility and precision needed to thrive in the complex and demanding market of 2024 and beyond.

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Author: Michael Brassea