Last week, auto industry thought-leaders from across the nation descended upon the Big Easy for the annual NADA 100 convention. As advertised, the convention was packed to the gills with industry sponsors and exhibits, workshops of shared industry best practices, and compelling keynote speakers. But looking back over the course of four very full days, here are the three most striking things I learned about where the auto industry is heading and in some cases, has already arrived.
#1 Technology - It Will Continue to Change the Way Dealers Sell Cars
It’s been said it’s hard to teach an old dog new tricks. However, when applied to the auto industry and specifically the dealership, the phrase ‘differentiate or die’ has never been more appropriate as now is clearly the time to change the way business is done. The complexity and insertion of technology into the fabric our culture has moved at breakneck speed. Today’s car buyer and the cars they’re looking to buy requires dealers to change the way they manage and execute the shopping experience from start to finish. And this goes well beyond the now aging menu-selling tactics once thought innovative. The dealership of the future will adopt new technology and software that provides buyers with a faster, transparent platform that streamlines F&I into the sale, eliminating the need for more than one client or sales point of contact.
According to Autotrader’s Car Buyer of the Future survey, only 17 out of 4,002 respondents said they prefer the current car buying process. 72% of consumers said they would visit the dealership more often if the buying process were improved. One shining example of a dealer who has implemented technology for the new car buying experience is the Schomp dealerships in Highlands Ranch, Colorado.
#2 Technology Will Help Win the War For Client Attention.
The car-buying process is going to be increasingly influenced by mobile. Recent data reveals that ten years ago, the average car shopper made five visits to dealerships to research potential vehicles. Today, that number has dropped to two.1 With more research being done online at home; it's essential to make the most of the visit to the dealership. When shoppers see a digital sales process and mobile technology in place, it provides assurance that you understand them and will be able to provide what they want and need.
Shopping habits of younger generations are very different from those of their parents. Millenials and later generations are armed with vast amounts of competitive information that's readily available on their mobile devices. So dealers who want to win in the future have to go mobile if they haven't already. These savvy buyers will not participate in a process that takes hours to complete. NADA featured technology that provides buyers with a streamlined sales process with one associate than can be done in under an hour. This is the kind of change leading the industry, the dealerships that get there first will reap the rewards for years to come.
#3 Technology Will Solve the Sales Talent Retention Problem.
Finally, as auto dealers seek to innovate with best-in-class technology in the showroom and in the living room via their apps, they will be encouraged to learn they will have better opportunities to hire and retain younger talent for sales and client associate positions. Recruiting from a pool of already tech savvy employee prospects will reduce some of the training time on the technology and better leverage their ability to guide buyers through an integrated sales process. While on-going training is paramount (84% of consumers still want to buy a car in person)3 and critical to solving the talent retention problem, those dealerships who employ better time-saving technology will also be able to reward those sales and client associates financially.
If you're Principal Dealer or GM looking for practical next steps on how to make the transition technologically or aren't getting what you need from your current platform, please get in touch with us. We would love to show you proven examples of dealerships that are leveraging our technology and products that boost customer satisfaction and profits. www.tripacdealer.com