Toyota Motor North America has officially unveiled the next iteration of the SmartPath retail experience, allowing customers flexibility in how they buy their next Toyota. Working hand-in-hand with dealerships across the United States to integrate online and in-store retail, TMNA assumed the responsibility of the research and development of one, a comprehensive retail program to offer customers the opportunity to lease, finance or purchase their new vehicle without the need to physically visit the dealership.
Developed in partnership with Toyota Financial Services in response to shifting consumer purchase preferences, Toyota began piloting SmartPath in 2019 to expand the retail footprint, offering a flexible shopping experience that is convenient, interactive, connected, transparent, and customized. The COVID-19 virus accelerated consumer demand for digital transactions, with a recent digital shopping survey showing two out of three shoppers are more likely to purchase a vehicle 100% online¹.
Toyota’s SmartPath technology puts the car buying process in the hands of the customer, providing an integrated user experience across Toyota.com, buyatoyota.com, the dealership website, and the physical dealership store. Customers can choose the path that works best for them by starting their journey online, saving their progress in the “digital garage” and picking up where they left off at the dealer or completing their purchase with their SmartPath dealer entirely online.
By utilizing SmartPath, customers have more control over how they purchase their vehicle, increased transparency into current inventory and real-time pricing, and flexibility to shop when and how they want.
For Toyota dealerships, the new technology integrates with current inventory, the customer relationship management system (CRM) and directly with financing through TFS, allowing sales associates the opportunity to better understand customers wants and needs, while accessing time-saving tools, enhanced analytics, and advanced lead handling that allows the dealer to pick up right where the customer left off online.
“Our goal is to ensure we create the best experience for our customers and our dealers,” said Jack Hollis, senior vice president, Automotive Operations, TMNA. “As our customers’ expectations evolve, SmartPath provides our dealers the technology to exceed those expectations. Our shared mission is to make the experience of shopping, buying, and owning a Toyota as easy and carefree as driving one.”
SmartPath customers have the option to finalize their purchase by physically visiting the dealerships, or through a digital appointment with the dealer.
SmartPath is currently available to customers in select markets through more than 50 dealerships, with an additional 50 dealerships launching this spring, with plans to aggressively bring more SmartPath dealerships to market through 2021. The all-new SmartPath complete online experience, which expands to allow customers the ability to complete their purchase online, will roll out market by market starting in mid-February 2021.
¹Source: 2020 Cox Automotive COVID-19 Digital Shopping Study, April 4-5, 2020