Top Tech Trends Leading to a More Efficient Dealership in 2022
The past two years have ushered in more technological advancements than dealers, like you, have probably seen since modern computers made their way into every business sector. If it feels like your head just stopped spinning from setting up your digital sales team, and you’re finally catching your breath this season, you’re not alone. According to a recent 2021 Cox Automotive Study, the greater majority (more than half) of your business has shifted online. And a continuing inventory shortage challenge means that up to 70% of your buyers are choosing to wait it out and repair their vehicles rather than replace them. So where does this leave you, and your profitability in the new year?
With 2022 already in full swing, automotive experts are quick to weigh in on new technology trends—with flashy bells and whistles—that promise to “revolutionize” your business like never before. Sound familiar? While it’s tempting to envision a new system that promises to overhaul your dealership—with exciting new features—you haven’t forgotten what the past two years were like. With each new tool and technology, your team shouldered the burden of learning new processes and adapting to new ways of running your business. Basically, you did what needed to be done. That’s life in the fast lane. But what if 2022’s tech trends focused on adapting to your dealership? What if you didn’t have to start over from scratch each year? What if new technology was flexible and empowered your dealership by allowing you to run your business the way you want to?
Better Insights for Better Business Decisions
Your dealership has a lot of data, but what are you doing with it? How is it helping you and your staff make better business decisions? Our top tech trend of 2022 falls into the category of data insights that empower actionable business decisions. Instead of creating more work, data-centered technologies should be helping you make better decisions about your business. And it goes beyond the top-level decision-makers, too. While general managers and dealer principals rely on data to measure performance and gross profit analysis, your sales, service, and back-office depend on flexible reporting and timely insights to make important decisions, too. Access to critical data can mean the difference between surviving and thriving.
To get the most valuable insights and metrics, look for an analytics and reporting platform that uses data from your dealer management system to create intuitive, role-based reports. The right reporting tool should simplify your team’s reporting process with pre-built dashboards, modules organized by department and job function, and group and roll-up reporting options.
Human Resources That Help You Level-up
Our second pick for top technology trends to look for in 2022 has to do with the number one, single largest expense at most dealerships—payroll. Payroll costs your dealership a lot—68% of a company’s overhead on average—yet it’s rarely thought about as a key area for technology investment. In the automotive industry, that’s easy to understand. After all, your current payroll system probably isn’t helping you sell or service more cars. Instead, it’s probably distracting you from your real job and from the activities that earn you money. Yet, your human resources team—those dedicated people tasked with staffing, recruiting, payroll, processing payments, commissions, and Tech Time—are likely losing hours and days each week manually processing payroll due to a lack of integrated systems across multiple dealership locations.
A modern, integrated payroll system should let you focus on what matters most—your people. By replacing complex spreadsheets and second-rate platforms with a streamlined solution connected to the data within your dealer management software, dealers are actually turning payroll into a competitive advantage.
Payment Solutions That Make Customers Happy
With more of the buying, shopping, and scheduling process moving online, your customers expect you to offer multiple, convenient payment options. This next year needs to be the year your dealership upgrades its payments solutions to an automated, digital system that reduces stress for the consumer while helping you get paid quickly and easily.
New digital payment solutions are streamlining the payment process and enhancing the consumer experience, using the technology already baked into your DMS. These secure and efficient tools offer flexible payment options and reduce the time it takes to collect payment. So, your customers get a better experience and you get a long list of great benefits, including simple merchant account setup, touchless transactions, automated billing, efficient receipt processing, and automated payment reconciliation.
Connected Workflows That Keep Your Departments Efficient
In today’s market, with its unique circumstances, you may want to take a more holistic view of your business. Because you need each department to contribute to your bottom line, integrated dealer systems have become more essential. Recent moves by Cox Automotive to connect its industry-leading brands demonstrate the value of cross-departmental workflows. Dealerships using tools from Dealertrack DMS, Dealer.com, VinSolutions, Xtime, Autotrader, and Kelley Blue Book now enjoy increased levels of connection and dealer management system integration. By bringing their sales, service, marketing, and operations in sync, they’re setting themselves up for more deals and more dealership-wide wins.
Thriving Dealerships have Flexible Technology
As your dealership gears up for the New Year, you may be evaluating the flexibility of your current tech stack and looking to add technologies that don’t dictate your business decisions. As you seek out new tools, remember to focus less on what the tool can do and more on what the tool will allow you to do with your dealership. Flexible tools, including those related to reporting, payroll, and payment processing will help your business thrive by simplifying your current processes, improving your efficiency, and enhancing the customer experience.