EDMONTON, ALTA. – Consider the path paved.
While a handful of Canadian stores and dealership groups have danced around it, toyed with it and even completed certain elements of vehicle e-commerce, Alberta’s Koch Automotive Group made waves with this week when it announced itself as Canada’s first e-commerce dealership.
“As a dealer group focused on brick and mortar and the experience in the store, we need to have a great digital experience, too. I think going forward, you need to offer a strong experience online and match that with what you offer in the store,” said Jeremy Koch, assistant general manager at Koch Ford in Edmonton.
“We want to streamline the sales process to let you get as far as you want in the process, in addition to offering a great physical facility with process in place. People are ready for both.”
He said the e-commerce technologies were roughly three years in development. They were built both in-house and with a third-party tech company. A final cost was not revealed other than to say it was “pretty high.”
Koch says the system allows for a 24/7 dealership-experience online that lets customers browse inventory, chat with live operators and reserve or purchase a vehicle all from the convenience of their laptop.
Using the online “Reserve” option, consumers can reserve a vehicle with a refundable one per cent deposit. Online deposits are risk-free and include a money-back guarantee.
A “Purchase Vehicle” option directs consumers to use a major credit card or a PayPal account to complete their transaction. Consumers have the choice of paying the vehicle’s total online or speaking with a representative to complete the financial terms.
The Koch Auto Group, which runs three dealerships, has rolled out the technology at Edmonton’s Koch Ford Lincoln and DK Ford in Leduc, Alta.
Koch told Canadian AutoWorld that the real goal of this system is to dramatically increase the number of people who move further down the digital sales funnel. Bringing potential customers further towards purchase online means fewer issues at decision time and greater ease with the entire process.
“There is real importance here is going after the omni-shopper,” Koch said.
Check out the technology here.