Dealers need strong, cooperative integrations to meet the evolving competitive demands of consumers
The auto industry is experiencing rapidly evolving consumer expectations in all facets of the sales process. The evolution of these expectations is compelling and creating great change.
As we all know, times of great change create winners and losers. Among the many products and services showcased at this year’s NADA Convention, this was the overriding theme that permeated the entire show at both the OEM and dealer levels. Today’s retail auto consumers expect ever-greater levels of transparency and control of their vehicle shopping and purchase experience—and the market is absolutely rushing to provide it.
There are a variety of third parties working to offer consumers what they want. Some of them are threatening to disintermediate dealers and OEMs from the customer relationships they have long enjoyed by exerting ever-increasing control with the promise of providing leads. Still other third parties focus efforts to help dealers and OEMs remain central to their customer relationships by providing tools that support their ability to manage the sales and financing process the way they wish.
Dealers have a choice, and there are arguments to be made in favor of either approach. After all, the aim of both is to drive more vehicle sales and profits. When third parties insert themselves into the customer relationship, however, it creates an additional layer that, ironically, creates another cost in the sales process because of an extra middleman step in the industry: These third parties need to get paid.
There is rapid experimentation going on in the industry. Examples include GM’s “Shop. Click. Drive,” Lincoln’s “Click-to-Purchase,” Scion’s “Pure Process Plus,” and AutoNation Express’s online initiative. Each of these creates value in a manner appropriate for the respective OEM and dealer body, and generates findings foundational to the evolution of the future vehicle shopping and purchase process. With this approach, dealers and OEMs are in control with their service providers playing a supporting role—not the other way around.
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Dealer Marketing Magazine
Author: Digital Dealer
Digital Dealer exists to help dealers and their managers sell more vehicles more profitably by creating the best live events and media in the industry.