Closing Time: Thought Starters and Trends from NADA 2016

After three days of automotive retail at its finest, NADA 2016 is over. Estimates vary, but officials believe over 25,000 attendees perused the show in Las Vegas, most in happy moods due to healthy business, good conversation and exciting technology. All in all, it was a spectacular way to celebrate the business of selling cars, starting with a very special keynote speech from former NFL quarterback and future hall of famer Peyton Manning. According to NADA.org, Manning’s speech highlighted the importance of inspiring teamwork to gain victories proved that his understanding of business is equal to his skill as a top athlete. “Every business or profession has great leaders, but there are many leaders under construction,” said Manning. “They are working toward becoming someone others will follow. No one starts out as leader, it doesn’t matter if you title is quarterback, mother or CEO.” 

For Dealertrack, Dealer.com and the rest of the Cox Automotive family, that message – the power of teamwork – really resonates. And ultimately, that’s what innovation through integration comes down to: teamwork and collaboration dedicated to creating end-to-end solutions that solve problems and create efficiencies for dealers. There’s frankly no better way to express that then to travel to NADA, sit down and have a conversation with dealers and managers about solutions, challenges and the way forward. To that end, our time at NADA 2016 revealed three key headlines:

Old Fashioned Values and Common Sense Usability Count in the Digital Age
It's not enough to have advanced technology if no one knows how to turn it on – and there’s no one available to help on the “help” line. As with any function within a dealership, when it comes to workflow technology, what matters is the intelligence of the technology, the partnership and the thought behind the design. 

Digital Retailing: It’s Not Why, or Whether – but How
It’s no longer a question of whether or not buyers use the Internet to research and buy a car. It’s a given, today. The key question is how dealerships will adapt to the changing digital world, and how they will provide the online tools and the level of authenticity and transparency that consumers want – before they walk into the showroom. Today’s automotive retail environment is an online to in-store experience, and the more seamless that bridge is between the two showrooms, the more effective the process will become.   

It’s Time to Pay Serious Attention to Data Security
It’s a reality of life in today’s automotive retail industry: Dealerships are targets for cyber thieves and hackers, and protecting against this type of theft is an expensive proposition unless you integrate best practices into you daily operational workflows. While big companies and banks may get the headlines when it comes to customer data theft, it’s the smaller businesses that are quickly becoming the preferred target.