Online sales in a market in difficulty of supply

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It may seem counterintuitive to announce your business’s service level challenges to online customers right off the bat, but it can actually be the best way to maintain customer satisfaction.

It’s no secret that supply chain disruptions have impacted virtually every sector of the economy, but in recent times it seems like problems in the new car industry have made the object of extensive media coverage.

And while aftermarket supply issues don’t always keep pace with new vehicle production, there are commonalities in the manufacturing and transportation of discrete parts.

With so much commerce online, it’s important to recognize that setting customer expectations up front and presenting options is an important part of delivering a positive customer experience, even in the face of sourcing challenges.

A recent study by JD Power on digital storefront offerings from automakers highlighted the challenges and some possible approaches.

Low inventory levels affect not only dealers, but manufacturers’ websites as well, according to JD Power. US Manufacturer’s Website Assessment Study 2022—Winter. Specifically, 53% of OEM websites saw a drop in satisfaction with the functionality that helps buyers find a vehicle.

It is not difficult to see that buying vehicles online can be a frustrating business when the vehicles to match a customer’s needs simply cannot be found for sure.

“Despite things that are beyond the manufacturer’s digital control, like inventory issues, there are some best practices that can help alleviate these digital challenges,” says Jon Sundberg, director of digital solutions at JD Power. “Optimizing website speed and including things like wait lists, orders when available, or even just stating issues up front can make a big difference in website satisfaction. “

So, to reiterate on the advanced points:

  • Make sure your website / ecommerce platform is fast.
  • Include a “waiting list” or similar mechanism.
  • Include an “order when available” option.
  • Indicate in advance any delay in supply or similar problem.

The goal of this approach to your online sales is to ensure, as much as possible, that customer expectations are managed in a way similar to what a professional teller would do on the phone: helping customers understand how. plan work or projects and anticipate delays.

And although the process of buying a new car differs from the parts and accessories market in terms of ticket price, providing a seamless shopping experience by setting realistic expectations for parts delivery / pickup can help. retain customers today and bring them back tomorrow.


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