The 5 keys to a competitive EV buying journey

Auto Dealerships | 19 September 2023

“Wow, that was easy!”

That’s what your buyer-turned-customer should be thinking when leaving your dealership (or closing your website on their internet browser).

But how do you get there? How do you help your buyer find what they’re looking for — and keep them engaged with your brand?

The answer: a seamless buying experience that meets their expectations and helps your brand stand above the competition.

Here are five keys to unlocking that.

Key #1: Make it multichannel

29% of customers
want to buy their next car entirely online.

23% of customers
prefer to order a car online, but go to the auto dealer for a test drive and consultation.

90% of buyers
consider a test drive to be a critical precondition for purchase.

In today’s fast-paced world where nearly everything is just a click away, it’s crucial to bridge the gap between the online and offline buying experiences. To do that:

→ Focus on the main task at every step

Identify the essential tasks that customers need to accomplish at each stage of the EV shopping process. Those could be to:

  • Understand the differences between various types of EVs
  • Learn more about home EV chargepoints
  • Explore available EV models
  • Check financing options
  • Compare chargers

Then make sure your website (and the sales team) provide easy access to the information and tools the buyer needs to accomplish them.

More on that in the next section.

→ Prioritise convenience

Implement a seamless transition from virtual research to in-person dealership interactions and back.

Offer the flexibility to choose between online and onsite transactions, home delivery, and an in-person expert consultation or a test drive in a few simple clicks (think embedded booking calendar over long contact forms).

Top buyer activities online:

  • Researching car models
  • Selecting vehicle configuration options

Top buyer activities at the dealership:

  • Test drive
  • Interacting with a salesperson
  • Experiencing the car in the showroom

Key #2: Simplify online research

Your website is your dealership’s online presence. Buyers will expect it to be an intuitive, user-friendly experience.

So give it the modern design and attention it deserves.

Our advice:

→ Turn it into your online consultant

Provide comprehensive information about EV models, charging infrastructure, and government incentives — in text, tables and infographics. That includes:

  • Detailed product descriptions
  • Advanced filtering and sorting
  • Clearly outlined financing options
  • List of different EV bundles offered

Play with different formats to see what works best.

The goal — to help your prospective buyers find answers to the most immediate questions as quickly and easily as possible.

→ Light it up with interactive tools

EV shopping can feel quite overwhelming, especially to the first-time buyer.

That’s why we recommend interactive tools, such as:

  • Payment calculators
  • Comparison of EV models
  • EV vs ICE cost calculators
  • EV ownership cost calculators
  • Electricity vs solar comparisons

They could become your superpower.

Bonus tip: Add customer reviews to the mix. There’s nothing like hearing from another first-time EV buyer that you were the right choice.

Key #3: Alleviate buyers’ fears and concerns

It’s no secret that potential EV buyers have a long list of questions and concerns buzzing around in their head.

A savvy dealer comes prepared for that.

They’ll save the buyer hours of research — and reignite their excitement about EV ownership.

So our tip:

→ Add a helpful FAQ section to your website

Have a dedicated FAQ section that addresses the most common questions and concerns about buying and owning an EV.

Include any queries you get on repeat, for example:

  • The pros and cons of different EVs, brands, and models
  • Info on the growing number of public chargepoints
  • Available discounts, leases, and subscription deals
  • EV bundles and packages you’re offering
  • How to know which deal is right for me
  • Battery life and maintenance
  • EV charging infrastructure
  • Used EV markets

→ Get ready for the well-informed buyer

Whichever direction you look, all signs point the same way — building relationships and getting to know your customers, their needs, and buying journeys has become more important than ever.

In the buying process, that means taking consultative sales to the next level. It means being ready for the well-informed buyer who’s spent hours on online research and comes in with very specific questions and clarifications.

If your sales reps can match those, they’ll be able to have more engaged conversations and help position your dealership as a trusted advisor to come to for all things EVs.

It’s how you’ll differentiate your brand, sell better, and upsell more effectively.

Resources that will give your conversations an instant boost:

→ Highlight the environmental and financial benefits

Eco-awareness and sustainability remain the primary motivators behind EV purchases, but, with so many practical concerns in the way, they can easily fade in the background.

This is your opportunity. Ignite the green fire in the hearts by reminding (and informing) of the many environmental benefits that EV ownership brings…

  • Environmentally friendly maintenance
  • Fewer emissions and air pollutants
  • Tax incentives and discounts
  • No exhaust particle fumes
  • Lower noise pollution
  • No toxic land waste

… and the financial gains that come along with it:

  • Fewer charges thanks to compliance with environmental regulations
  • Lower maintenance needs compared to traditional vehicles
  • Reduced running costs of electricity vs. petrol or diesel
  • Further cost savings with solar power
  • Tax incentives and discounts

Key #4: Make it quick and simple to buy

Make it ridiculously easy to buy an EV (or book a test drive) — onsite or online. It seems common sense, but you’d be surprised how often dealerships (and indeed brands across industries) get it wrong.

This LinkedIn post is a perfect illustration of why it’s crucial to get this part right. The difference in speed and ease to book an appointment can win or lose you a client.

42% of buyers
would switch brands if their current dealer didn’t offer a good e-commerce solution.

Our advice:

  • Create simple, clear, and transparent pricing to take away the stress of haggling
  • Simplify financing and lease agreements to ensure a hassle-free buying experience
  • Offer useful add-ons like EV charger installation to complement the deal
  • Provide customers with a platform they can use to purchase add-on services, find EV charging equipment, and manage the cost and use of energy

Key #5: Uplevel the in-person experience

While online shopping is common and convenient, it’s unlikely to beat the lasting impression of the in-person experience (if it’s done well). And getting it right is crucial in today’s competitive market.

With this goal in mind:

→ Enhance the showroom experience

Imagine having a dedicated area that showcases the fast charging experience, complete with different types of chargers for customers to see in action.

A showroom where:

  • Virtual and augmented reality solutions allow buyers to see themselves behind the wheel of the newest EV.
  • Customers can satisfy their curiosity about solar and broader electrification of the home.

You’d not only educate but also instill confidence in acquiring an EV and home charging infrastructure to boot.

→ Become a hub for EV knowledge

If the Apple Genius program has taught us anything it’s that knowledge matters.

So why not create your own EV Genius Bar? Partnering with an experienced provider like Powerverse can be an effective way to make this a reality.

With a platform of learning, sales, and marketing collateral in hand, your staff could quickly become the go-to experts on EV and home energy solutions — and your dealership the go-to destination to learn, see, and experience the product.

→ Increase customer dwell time onsite

Added onsite EV charging services? Great.

But don’t stop there.

Make the most of your customers’ time on site:

  • Serve good-quality food and drinks that cater to different dietary preferences
  • Create family-friendly areas with good child changing facilities
  • Provide spaces for children to play and engage with cars
  • Offer leisure and retail services to enjoy while their EV is powering up

It’s all about becoming a destination of knowledge, fun, and convenience. One worth returning to even when your EV doesn’t need charging.

Want more actionable tips? Download our complete Auto Dealer’s Guide to Increasing EV Sales & Revenue.

Latest Posts

Everything EV

What are grid services?

Practically everyone in the Western world is a consumer. But recent years have seen the rise of the “prosumer”–a person… Read more

Solar System

Renewable Energy: What’s in it for us?

There’s a lot of talk about renewable energy these days. This is particularly true in the world of electric vehicles… Read more

Everything EV

How you’ll benefit from an EV solar-ready charger

Charging your electric vehicle (EV) at home is less costly, more convenient and better for the environment than using public… Read more

More posts
Let's Get Started