Screen Shot 2017-09-16 at 3.04.30 PM

The post-digital dealership

“All prices are internet prices only.”


“Internet price may include all generally available rebates.”

Or, maybe not.  We haven’t decided.

“The dealer advertised price may not reflect specific dealer offers.”

That last one, I get. The others, I don’t understand, and I work in this line of business.

One can shop for cars and research pricing online, but, in all but rare instances, one needs to see how specific offers and incentives apply to one’s situation on a certain date, and you probably need to come into my place of business to process this transaction. Yes, in some cases, you can click a “buy it now” button and arrange payment and shipment.  But let’s talk about what happens most of the time.

What we can do for you may depend upon the specific date we do it and more terms and conditions too numerous to mention.

That last bit would probably look less snappy as a retail disclaimer on a web site, but it would be an improvement. In the post-digital world, you’re not innovative if you’re online. You’re just like everybody else online. We’re all online. Here are a few actual screen shots I’ve collected (none from dealerships I’ve worked for, so I may not know what I am writing about firsthand); I cannot recollect which dealerships they are, or which disclaimers may or may not be currently in use, depending on which winds of regulation and enforcement are blowing and which competitors may be applying competitive pressures in a given regional market:

Screen Shot 2017-07-28 at 11.37.28 PM

Screen Shot 2017-07-28 at 11.31.41 PM

Screen Shot 2017-07-28 at 11.24.52 PM

The dealership world is chock full of sales trainers, marketing consultants, digital ad agencies and other advice-givers loosely termed “vendors.”  The automakers, or “OEMs,” an abbreviation for Original Equipment Manufacturers, likewise, devote organization and resources to advise dealerships on using the tools of data mining and digital marketing. Vendors and OEMs tell us dealers much the same: shoppers today want a fast, friendly, clear and transparent shopping experience that works seamlessly from the web site to the showroom. From millennial hotshots to old car dogs, to a person, their advice is proven to work: customers want discount pricing online. So, do it.

And, then, let the games begin.


I just added that last part.  No one, professionally, advises us to “let the games begin.” That said, the worksheet above, or variations of it in use at many dealerships, may be why the prices you see on the internet are internet prices only.


Screen Shot 2017-09-16 at 3.04.30 PM

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *