The Genie is Out of the Bottle (And There’s No Going Back)
In a recent panel with CBT News, leaders from Cox Automotive shared their outlook on the automotive industry for 2021. New technologies have elevated the way dealerships operate in the last twelve months. Dealers have made major shifts in fixed operations and sales. And buyers are voicing their approval. It’s become more clear that technology is the competitive advantage in retail automotive. It even feels as if the ‘magic genie’ is out of the bottle. But, with so many new tools available today, should we even consider putting him back? (Watch the full interview on CBT News here.)
“Habits have been formed.” – Lori Wittman, Senior Vice President of Dealer Software for Cox Automotive
The Next Great Evolution
Technology is creating a very real retail advantage. And dealers stand to win. Dealers have the very real opportunity to meet buyers on a personal level. And it’s shaping the behavior of buyers in the market. Lori Wittman, Senior Vice President of Dealer Software for Cox Automotive, explains there’s simply no going back. “Habits have been formed,” Wittman states. With new offerings like Vinessa Virtual Assistant, Connect Automotive Intelligence, and Automotive Marketing Platform powered by VinSolutions, the ability to deliver a superior, personalized experience is now within reach. “Tools like these combine the power of software, processes like machine learning, and really robust data that make it really easy for personnel to do their job,” Wittman explains.
Don’t Get Left Out
According to Cox Automotive research, 84% of franchise dealers expect to increase online sales in 2021. But failing to provide the tools, training, and technology that builds a personalized shopping experience is expensive. If dealers fall behind the tech curve it’s going to cost them. Two out of three shoppers polled say experience is even more important than price when it comes to buying their next car. Ultimately a poor customer experience will cost dealers in lost sales. And it doesn’t stop there. An 80% turnover rate plagues dealerships. Lacking modern tools and technology that are easy to use creates a ripple effect from your staff, to the customer, and eventually your bottom line. As Wittman explains, “Our dealers are anxious to be part of this evolution. I think we’re going to see more dealerships in 2021 who have adopted digital retailing solutions, and they’re going to outnumber the ones who don’t.”
Trust, Partnership, and Your Data
This next phase of digital retailing will require more trust, better partnerships, and access to data on behalf of both the dealership and its technology partners. “We know privacy is a big concern among customers,” Wittman shares. One study found nearly 84% of consumers wouldn’t buy again from a dealership if they knew their data had been compromised. And as dealers work to deliver more trust to their customers, technology providers must do their part. “We believe a dealers’ right to access their own data is self-evident. And simply giving more security and more capability should never limit or financially strain a dealer,” Wittman explains. Access to real-time data, without restraints, from the Dealer Management System (DMS) enables dealers to better understand their business. It’s also key to providing that personalized, valuable customer experience. But some DMS providers take it a step further. With dedicated Performance Managers, Dealertrack DMS is able to fully understand specific metrics, key business objectives, and offer a holistic approach to each partner’s business. After all, without the right expertise and the time to fully understand new technology innovations, that superior, personalized experience is at risk.
Dealers face fierce competition in 2021. As they work to gain trust from buyers and build more personalized experiences, new technologies will provide the advantage. Watch the full interview to learn how Cox Automotive is delivering new digital retailing technologies this year.