People have to touch the metal to believe in the dream – and create the connection. Digital solutions help make that magic happen faster, more easily and with greater satisfaction.
The simplicity of Thanksgiving is what makes it special. Sure, it’s just a day (or two), filled with football, food, and shopping – but it’s a sincere and unadorned day, a chance to pause for a moment, take in the year and say, simply – Thank You. In the automotive retail space, there’s much to be thankful for: robust sales have tracked along for most of the year, and we stand poised to see another record. Even with sales slowing, analysts estimate that activity in 2016 will meet or break last year’s record 17.39 million sales. It wasn’t that long ago that a seasonally adjusted sales rate of over 17 million seemed more pipe dream than reality – but here we are.
More than even that level of volume, though, this year showed the depth and quality of the automotive community, through crises such as the Louisiana flooding that closed or disrupted 80 dealerships and damaged close to 100,000 cars. Led by the National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA), the industry helped to care for the families affected by the floods, raising thousands of dollars to help get them back on their feet.
Technology Enables Progress
So there’s a lot to be thankful for this year. And believe it or not, that includes change, and the technology that helps enable the evolution of the retail experience. Think about how, over the past few years, the dynamic of selling vehicles has changed from a confusing array of online and in-store tools and tasks, into what is emerging as a smooth journey that fuses the power of online efficiency with in-store, in-person, and at-hand relationship building.
People have to touch the metal to believe in the dream – and create the connection. Digital solutions help make that magic happen faster, more easily and with greater satisfaction. With that in mind, here are three reasons to be grateful for technology, this year and into the future:
Gone are the days of bland, fern-laden cubicles that stop true engagement. Today, a substantive and connected sales conversation can be had anywhere in the showroom. That helps to create a comfortable and transparent environment in which a bond of trust is built between customer and sales specialist. The foundation arguably improves short term sales, as well as the opportunity for a long-term and recurring sales and service relationship.
Thanks to the technology of automotive retail, the work a customer does online can continue in the showroom, reducing frustration and creating efficiencies throughout the process. Behind the scenes, the opportunity to connect retail workflows from the front of the store to the business office has the potential to dramatically optimize operations and productivity. Connectivity is what keeps the conversation going, through sales, to F&I, and into registration and titling.
All in, technology comes down to finding more efficient ways to operate. If it doesn’t make the act of completing a task easier, faster or more comprehensive, then technology has not delivered on its promise. Effective technology offers a simple answer to fundamental and head-scratching business challenges. For example, electronic contracting can significantly reduce the time, hassle and expense of gaining contract approval; compliance takes important Federal regulations and automates them within sales workflows; and digital retailing is more than just a bridge to a better lead – it’s an open door to the showroom, a true and efficient connection point between online solutions and in-store processes.
So Happy Thanksgiving! As 2016 comes to a close, there are sure to be many new innovations and refinements that continue to take the business of automotive retail into the future of an on-demand and connected sales experience.