Adapt to the Changes in Your Dealership’s Ecosystem | RouteOne

Adapt to the Changes in Your Dealership’s Ecosystem

You cannot negotiate with a storm. Once it’s upon you, it dictates what you have to do. But knowing that the storm is coming means you have choices to make to prevent catastrophe. And when the weather forecaster and the umbrella salesperson work together, storms become something different altogether.

We are living in a moment of climate change in the way car dealerships operate. No, not weather-related climate change, but technology change that will force the removal of decades of layers of how you’ve sold, merchandised, and serviced vehicles.

When we talk about a dealership ecosystem, the term includes current technology systems, business processes, best practices, and personnel policies you use today to service customers. At issue is whether these things can move your business forward (in evolutionary speak) to a more robust, sustainable bionetwork.

For years, we’ve been saying that dealers must invest in technologies to digitize their entire dealership ecosystem and develop the bioculture necessary to embrace it. The industry has felt this climate change’s storm winds on its collective neck for decades now. While we’ve learned to adapt and, on many fronts, embrace digital technology, we haven’t noticed how quickly it has overcome us.

We are moving from digitized to "widgetized." This is where functions traditionally done at the dealer are packaged into engagements available further upstream. An example of this is the way customers can now check their own credit and apply for financing on their smartphone, long before they physically engage with or travel to your dealership.

Take stock of the systems you now use and evaluate their compatibility with other systems and their digital functionality. How well do they support online retailing, including sales, F&I, vehicle delivery, service and parts, and rental or courtesy car operations?

How digital-friendly and useful are your sales and service processes? To what degree do they enable your staff and your consumers to engage with you across multiple channels, including mobile —and to what extent is your dealership ecosystem able to support more aggressive online product presentation, merchandising, consumer decisioning, and end-to-end transactions?

How much paperwork does your dealership create, store, secure, retrieve, and manage? Are you able to archive deal jackets digitally? Are repair order processes and recordkeeping digital — from tech bay to warranty administration?

How many efforts remain manual, redundant, or are still done out of tradition rather than necessity? What does it cost you in people, time, paper, and effort? What else could you be doing with those resources?

"Embracing digital technology and business models is the only path forward in a world where customers are empowered, and disruptors rapidly exploit the friction and flaws in your market," says CIO Magazine.

Whatever your feelings about the innovations in retail automotive, the consumer client has changed, and is forcing dealers to look hard at how to embrace the new consumer-centric future. Dealers obsessed with customer engagement have an edge here, because they’re focused now—and have been for some time—on exploring and embracing new retail automotive ecosystems. They’re reading consumers’ signs at many points along their shopping journey, and are leveraging technology to reach them deeper in the sales funnel.

Doing so, they are nurturing relationships that have the most potential for culminating in a customer for life. The digital, end-to-end ecosystem at the core of this new business model pampers prospects, builds trust with them, and demonstrates and delivers convenience. They’re pulling consumers into the buying experience using augmented and virtual reality tools, interactive and online consumer transportation-lifestyle surveys, and via these platforms, are enabling customers to interact with every department in the dealership.

The new dealership ecosystem is nearly entirely digital: a seamless and radiating web of access, knowledge, transactionality, real-time information, and reporting.

Click here to discover how dealerships like yours are using MaximTrak’s leading F&I menu technology to increase profits, reduce friction, and transform the customer experience.