DMS Edge is an opportunity for our dealer clients to learn how to sharpen their DMS skills and improve their dealership. Our latest DMS Edge event took place September 19-22nd. We want to thank all those who attended and offer the recordings to those who missed it.
Our first keynote, hosted by Kurt Olnhausen, AVP of Operations at Dealertrack DMS, "Dealer Panel: Leveraging Technology to Gain the Competitive Edge," included three dealers that are using technology to win the competitive battle in the automotive industry. We captured some of their insights below.
Kurt Olnhausen: What is your dealership doing to embrace changing consumer trends?
Mike Kelley, General Manager of Bourne's Auto Center: In 2003 we took a look at [changing consumer trends] and went to a no haggle price model. That's something that has really set us apart and helped us with today's consumer. With them spending that amount of time online, when they get to the store we need to be sure that we're ready to go. So, if they've done anything online, we're having our sales associates find that out. We're asking, "Have you evaluated your trade?" or "Did you submit a finance application?" This way we're not starting them over and beginning the process. Having the fixed pricing, having the sales staff asking them what they're doing online, and having an in-store process has helped get them into the vehicle as quickly as possible.
Kurt Olnhausen: Thinking about the future, how are we going to interact with technology?
Clay Johnson, Technology Director at Prestman Automotive: Not coming from the car industry, when I saw how business was being conducted, it really is antiquated in a lot of areas. I mean, we're very forward thinking in marketing and tracking analytics online, but as far as all the technology there's such huge opportunities in the car industry right now and there's tools out there that Dealertrack has provided, like Opentrack, that gives dealerships access to raw data. That's information that we've been able to take and create platforms for our dealership that keep us ahead of the game. It makes us more competitive and it allows us to engage with our customers more on the level where they are using mobile devices. They're using technology and if we don't incorporate that into our dealerships then there's going to be other dealerships that are going to surpass us. There's a lot of great third-party tools out there that do a number of things that allow us to conduct our business properly but utilizing tools like Opentrack to be able to customize that experience for our dealership and our customers has really allowed us to move forward. And I see that as being the future of the industry.
Kurt Olnhausen: Thinking about working with consumers in different ways, what are you doing?
Rick Sweeney, IT Director at Woodhouse Auto Family: We're currently in a project of redesigning Woodhouse.com, our main group site, and we hope to have that rolled out by the end of the year. The first revision of the site won't function a lot different than our current site, but the code that the site has been built on is completely different and will allow us to grow that site and start adding. If the customer is spending about eight hours or research and going to fewer dealerships, we want our website to be one of those sites they can use for their research. If they use our site for the research, the likelihood that they would buy from us may go up. So, that's where we're kind of banking the future on is getting our website to be one of those sites that they go to. On our analytics, it was just a year or two ago, that we noticed mobile devices outpaced desktops visiting our site and if more people are viewing our site on mobile devices than they are on a full screen desktop, our new redesign is going to take that into consideration as well.