Eliminating Pain Points in Today’s Automotive Dealerships (IV) Leveraging Technology to Survive Slow Sales
“May will be the fifth consecutive month in 2019 to experience a sales decline, with calendar year-to-date sales through May expected to be down 5.2% compared with the same period in 2018.”
These days, half of a vehicle’s operation manual concerns the configuration and use of its technological features. Advanced safety options, lane-keep assist, and media integration have come to dominate the market. While today’s vehicles are certainly leveraging technology to ensure safer drives, they’re not alone. Automotive dealerships are making use of advanced technology to weather sales lulls and inventory glut while simultaneously lessening the burden of sales staff and customers alike. Let’s explore how.
Firstly, dealerships must understand where their customers are coming from, the vehicles they own, what they’re buying, how often they are returning, and what they can do to stay abreast of changing technology and market dynamics. To this end, the right solution can weave together every aspect of the store, from back office processes, CRM, and sales force to financing, insurance, KPIs, service visits, vehicle inventory and more. A simplified buying experience is a boon for buyer and seller.
Web and mobile based software requires no special hardware and is thus inherently more affordable than the legacy desktop solutions they aim to replace. The mobility provided by deploying tablets and smartphones in the dealership environment decreases lengthy sales cycles by providing instant access to the information necessary at any given moment – whether in the showroom or out on the lot.
“Last year, more than 238,000 vehicles were sold over the holiday weekend, accounting for more than 2% of full-year retail sales. The number of new vehicles sitting on dealer lots is rising. On average, new vehicles sold in May spent 74 days on dealer lots, the highest level for the month of May since 2009 when the industry was dealing with the effects of the great recession. In fact, 29% of vehicles sold so far in May have sat on lots for 90 days or longer, up from just over a quarter of vehicles last year.”
Having a solid grasp on the current state of the market is just as important as understanding customers. To be profitable, dealerships must know what their competition is doing and tailor their service offerings accordingly. The means to track customers throughout their lifecycle can deliver the business intelligence necessary to keep dealerships in the black. Connected dealerships or dealership groups leveraging centralized data can generate demand directly from vehicles to deliver a proactive approach to vehicle maintenance recommendations while simultaneously boosting consumer trust and retention.
Automated Communication & AI-enabled Servicing
“The automotive industry is being led by technology, as opposed to cost, or horsepower.”
Like it or not, business success is now intricately tied to the effectiveness of constant contact initiatives. That means mobile. The ability to engage customers wherever they are and stay connected to them with targeted, meaningful messages is key to success. Advances in AI-enabled technology can automate customer engagement in ways previously only dreamed about. Backed by the right solution, dealerships will know when a customer is ripe for trade-in, a new car, or in need of services based on individual driving patterns and direct vehicle-to-store communication. These shifts away from traditional mileage or time based servicing will introduce a vastly superior type of maintenance schedule: on demand. Predictive servicing and tailored offerings coupled with automated engagement will drive customer loyalty and repeat business, all without sales staff having to lift a finger.
SHIFTMobility’s integrated application suite for dealers and franchises enables single stores and MSOs to track and engage with the vehicles they sell and the customers they serve from initial purchase through maintenance lifecycle. By leveraging technology, dealerships can drive personalized customer experiences, evaluate business performance at any point in their network, spot missed sales opportunities, and gain deep insight into overall business health to not only survive sales slowdowns, but thrive.