MINNEAPOLIS--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Amid shutdowns and social distancing, a Minnesota-based automotive group is pivoting to redefine the car buying process. This week, Walser Automotive Group launched Walser To You, a home delivery program offering customers the option to buy, test drive, trade in, and service vehicles all from the comfort of home.
The program gives automotive customers the ability to completely purchase a vehicle remotely, said Walser’s Chief Merchandising Officer Colton Ray.
“Most dealer groups are focused on a sales experience that caters to a dealer’s needs, not the customer. We believe customers shouldn’t have to compromise. Customers can choose to shop online or in store because Walser To You is a true 'click and mortar' experience,” Ray said.
Walser To You creates options for customers who want to shop remotely; however, all Walser retail locations are still open for business. In an open letter from Walser CEO Andrew Walser, the company details its expanded cleaning protocols including the use of gloves on all customer vehicles, additional wipe downs of high-traffic touch points, and increased professional cleaning services.
Ray added that the move to offer an online buying experience has been in production for some time. The company, which has operated under a one person, one price business model for nearly 10 years, already utilizes proprietary financing software and digital payment review tools to streamline the process.
“The impact of the COVID-19 outbreak has been profound, and automotive groups are not immune to this. Major changes to our business landscape meant we needed to think creatively about how to best serve our customers in a way that’s easy, comfortable, and safe. Walser To You is the next evolution in our customer-centric approach,” Ray said.
Walser Chief Human Resources Officer Sherry Schultz said the offering is also about the protection of Walser employees amidst continued consumer demand.
“COVID-19 is changing everything about life and work as we know it. We are doing everything we can to keep our employees working and employed while safely supporting the transportation infrastructure in Minneapolis and Wichita,” Schultz said.
The National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) estimates that 1.8 million vehicle leases are due to expire nationwide between March and July. Schultz added that the option to buy and service remotely means customers, especially those who work in essential service roles, retain access to transportation for groceries, medical care, and critical work.
“This goes beyond casual Saturday dealership shopping. Instead, we are talking about the support of necessary sales when leases come due, when cars are totaled and need to be replaced, and heavy truck sales for infrastructure. Online sales with home delivery mean customers can obtain personal transportation without congregating in public places,” Schultz said. “We’re committed to supporting the maintenance of this while keeping our employees safe.”
Walser To You Program
Walser To You includes at-home test drives, free home delivery, mobile trade appraisals, and white glove maintenance options. The program also includes a host of digital offerings for shoppers including real-time vehicle walkarounds, virtual test drives, and video chat.
“Walser has always been an innovator in the automotive retail industry, and we’re not stopping now. We’re committed to supporting our customers with a sales and service experience that supports their needs,” said Ray.