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Jared Hamilton
From: Jared Hamilton
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Larry Bruce

Larry Bruce Founder / President / CEO

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Future Auto World… what’a ya think?

An interesting report from comScore and I think some premonitions for retail automotive.

 

  1. Could FREE shipping break open real eCommerce for automotive? I think it is certainly a big hurdle right now logistically and monetarily. Taking away the monetary factor may go a long way toward opening this up. Of course there are still some logistics involved and there is the tactile factor. The need to touch and feel the vehicle is diminishing slowly and logistics can be overcome… Thoughts?
  2. Pricing in the palm of the customers hands. Like it or not that part of eCommerce is upon us, the whole TrueCar mess may have brought it to our attention on a large scale but it was going to get there anyway. It’s not yet main stream but customers walking around your showroom with iPhones in hand comparing your cars, dealership and prices is coming like a freight train. If you try to fight it you’ll just be run over by it. So here are a few ideas to help you embrace it.
    1. Use SMS short codes on your window stickers. Better than QR code because customers are more used to it and because you get to capture the cell number of the customer and have a possibility to continue the conversation.
    2. Use QR codes to direct customers to Google places to review your dealership and see your reviews. On your Repair receipts, on your envelope the license plates the customer gets, on posters in your showroom and just about any other correspondence you have with customers. It will pick up reviews. While you’re at it use QR to direct them to a mobile coupon as well, might as well get the service business there’s a little bit of money there.
    3. Remember people do things with mobile not research so much so help them do those things. If they want to compare on your floor have an SMS short code that gives them a special discount or incentive and links to other prices…Remember they are on your showroom, you’ve got home court advantage and they’re going to do it anyway might as well direct the process to your advantage.
  3. The day of the “Big Lot” is coming to an end. I can foresee a day in the not too distant future where there are small retail dealerships in high traffic down town locations where you pick out your vehicle; it is stored in a central much cheaper storage facility outside the city but it goes much deeper than that however. I can see this going to mass customization where you pick the car, and the paint job and the electronics package, the wheels, tires, ground effects etc. and there is an assembly line type factory on the storage facility site that customizes that car for you in a few days then delivers it to your house. I would love to see someone try this on a small scale it would shake up the car world.

These are a few thoughts that come to my head as I watched the video above, let’s here yours.

See the full comScore report here.

 

 

Jay Lynch
Ask yourself what would happen if there were no longer a need to create tangible value and need in a new car? OEMs are in the business to wholesale and you are the retail expert who represents their interest. What if an OEM no longer needed retail experts? OEM's already charge a delivery fee? Could an OEM erode their franchise base and go direct to consumer (ie. Dell/Geico)? Go to Auto Trader and search for a BMW 3 Series with a Premium Package? Are you able to create value in your product? Is price the primary lead driver? Should we just buy manuals with crank windows and no air? As a franchised dealer should I be in competition with independents? No question, ecommerce is driving our business (sometimes I forget I am not in retail anymore)… Are we to except that we are simply part of the mass? I believe the future of ecommerce is standing out in a crowd, branding our name, and in creating value in ourselves.
Bryan Armstrong
"I believe the future of ecommerce is standing out in a crowd, branding our name, and in creating value in ourselves." I couldn't agree more!
Larry Bruce
Jay I think you make the mistake of assuming that your product is the car. The fact is your product is not the car it is “YOU” the retail expert. Only in this case you’re a consultative retail expert helping the customer get what they want and therein lies your value. When a customer goes to AutoTrader and looks for a BMW 3 they still need someone to help them with their trade, they still need someone that will help them with the workings of the vehicle, they still need someone to help them with their payment options, with maintenance etc. Let’s face it dealerships are Service Companies with product offerings. You should never acquiesce to be a part of the mass, you should always be looking to differentiate yourself but the car is not the place where you will do that. Helping a customer, custom outfit a car that fits their lifestyle well…
Larry Bruce
Bryan you have to remember it's not about what you want it's about what they want and how you can help them get it.
Bryan Armstrong
Larry, I see your point and know your not calling for the absolution of the Salesperson, but I RAN a Scion Store and that business model, though it may male sense on SOME level, doesn't work. The Public clamor for transparency and ease of purchase, but most have been mired in the "Game" for so long they wouldn't believe anyone who tried to "Change their Stripes".

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