If you’re in the business of buying and selling cars, it’s hard not to see how rapidly our industry is changing.
From the way consumers now research and purchase vehicles to how dealers are connecting with these new, digital-savvy customers to advanced technologies in after sales service, our industry is seeing a rapid and comprehensive transformation.
This trend, dubbed “Digital Retailing”, was by far the most talked about topic at this year’s National Automobile Dealers Association convention in New Orleans.
Statistically, car buyers spend up to 75% of their shopping time online, according to a 2016 Deloitte Automotive report. And that fact was backed up anecdotally on the NADA show floor.
Whether I was speaking with attendees, colleagues or Cox Automotive Canada clients who made the trip to The Big Easy, much of the discussions came back to how quickly Digital Retailing has evolved from a trial to a pillar of their online automotive remarketing strategies.
Another result of this shift to Digital Retailing: dealer franchises now create large amounts of vital customer data needed at all retail levels. When captured and used correctly, this wealth of new information—or “big data”—can be employed to project overall market shifts and individual customer needs—information vital in a competitive market.
While many in the auto industry only see Digital Retailing as a way to generate more sales leads, many automotive retailers are embracing these new digital practices in a more holistic manner, incorporating lender and F&I capabilities for a complete Digital Retailing ecosystem.
Of course, our Cox Automotive Canada team only knows all too well how valuable a comprehensive Digital Retail ecosystem is as a source of information and consumer influencer. Two examples of how we are leading the digital revolution in remarketing can be found with our Manheim and Dealertrack brands.
First, our Manheim Canada auction team has created a solution to run digital auctions for a broad range of clients, from OEMs to dealer groups large and small, offering a 24/7-auction capability via manheim.ca.
Second, our Dealertrack Canada brand is partnering with Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and Trader Corporation with the roll-out of an exciting new Digital Retailing Solution that demonstrates a clear vision of how dealers can change their retailing and lending processes to take full advantage of this rapid shift in consumer behaviour.
No doubt, Digital Retailing is transforming the automotive remarketing industry.
No matter if you are a single dealer, a regional franchise group, or an OEM, having the ability to analyse consumers’ desires and expectations are crucial going forward.
More than merely generating more leads, strengthening your connections with local customers, and communicating digitally to a wider group of buyers is the main advantage to getting on board the Digital Retailing trend.
Jack Sulymka is the Director, Marketing & Corporate Communications, Cox Automotive Canada.