Latest OnLine Editon  Read Here

Tomorrow’s Dealerships Incorporate Tech, Keep Human Touch

Tomorrow’s Dealerships Incorporate Tech, Keep Human Touch Featured

The future of auto retailing is more technology, but also more human contact.

Consumers want to handle the unpleasant parts of the car buying process, such as obtaining financing, through programs rather than people.

Chris Macheca, chief operating officer for PassTime, said he foresees a time when consumers use a kiosk at the dealership to handle everything from obtaining insurance to making payments.

Despite all the talk about a cashless society, these machines will take cash for payments just like an ATM.

“No one wants to handle cash any more,” Macheca said.

That will be good for dealers because they can employ less staff and avoid the hassles that come with handling cash.

“You’re seeing more streamlining of customer service,” Macheca said.

Streamlining doesn’t mean eliminating people from the process, but rather focusing them more on what really counts for customers.

A study by Autotrader.com on what consumers want from dealerships found that 84 percent of consumers still want to buy a car from a person.  

“It’s not that they want the brick-and-mortar dealerships to go away,” said Michelle Krebs, senior analyst for Autotrader. “But they do want a lot of changes.”

What they want from dealership staff is guidance.

“They want salespeople to be more consultative about the products,” Krebs said.

This is especially true for younger shoppers. About half of Millennials surveyed by Autotrader said they are more likely to rely on a dealership for education about vehicle details, special offers, warranty and service information, financing options and just finding the best vehicle fit for their lifestyle.

Krebs said the best example of this kind of retail experience is the Apple Store, a place where people go to learn as much as buy.

Some dealerships are already offering classes on topics such as setting up an in-car infotainment system.

This can pose a challenge for used-car dealers as they have to keep track of a wide array of products from dozens of manufacturers.

Krebs said one way to address this challenge is by looking for staff from non-traditional sources. The local Best Buy might prove a better source for employees than another dealership, for example.

The industry also needs to promote auto retailing as a place where tech-savvy young people want to work. This might mean creating a different atmosphere than the traditional dealership.

Dealers might not need to go as far as putting foosball tables in their stores, but they’ll probably have to offer more flexible hours.

Another main demand from consumers is they want more test drives.

“They don’t just want the salesperson to take them around the block,” Krebs said. “They want more extensive test drives and they want to test drive competitive models.”

Technology will help dealers provide those test drives.  Macheca said dealers will use the devices from companies like his to track vehicles and turn them off if necessary for more than just collections.

These other uses can include test drives, but also short-term rentals and car sharing.

There are already European firms that finance vehicles based on how they are driven.

Good news for used-car dealers is that tomorrow’s consumer will probably be even less brand conscious than today. This creates an opportunity to gain customers by offering better service and more education about technology.

The biggest cost for creating the dealership of tomorrow then is hiring the right staff. This doesn’t require tearing up the bricks and mortar, but it might require tearing up the employee handbook.

Krebs is confident dealers can adjust to these new technologies and new ways of doing business.

“Dealers are adaptable,” she said.

Read 2410 times Last modified on Friday, 07 October 2016 20:50
Rate this item
(0 votes)
ADESA Adds Dealer Services Exec

ADESA Adds Dealer Services Exec

ADESA has named Steve Dudash vice president of dealer services. In this role, Dudash will lead the company’s more than 300 dealer sales professionals nationwide...

VW Recalls SUVs for Fuel Pumps

VW Recalls SUVs for Fuel Pumps

Volkswagen Group of America Inc. is recalling 240,487 model year 2013-17 Audi Q5 and 2013-17 Audi Q7 vehicles. These gasoline-powered vehicles have a fuel pump flange that may crack, allowing...

  • CarMax CEO Retires
    CarMax CEO Retires CarMax Inc. announced that Tom Folliard retired as chief executive officer of CarMax, effective Aug. 31. As part of this previously reported management succession plan, CarMax’s Board of Directors elected…
    Written on Friday, 02 September 2016 14:35
  • Autotrader Spotlights Best CPO Deals
    Autotrader Spotlights Best CPO Deals Autotrader announced its Top Picks for Certified Pre-Owned Deals for September. In September, Acura is offering a new car financing rate for used vehicles: 0.9 percent interest for up to…
    Written on Friday, 09 September 2016 19:35
  • FTC Hosts Disclosure Workshop
    FTC Hosts Disclosure Workshop The Federal Trade Commission has announced the agenda for its Sept. 15 workshop, Putting Disclosures to The Test, which will include 22 presentations covering a wide variety of topics on…
    Written on Tuesday, 23 August 2016 14:09
  • EFG Names Judges for Northwood Contest
    EFG Names Judges for Northwood Contest EFG Companies announced the judging panel in the 2016 F&I Innovator of the Year competition. The judges will select a winning F&I product idea from one of six teams currently…
    Written on Wednesday, 02 November 2016 18:39
  • Carvana Expands To Virginia
    Carvana Expands To Virginia Following a series of launches in Florida, used-car retailer Carvana is expanding into Richmond, Va. The launch in Richmond marks Carvana’s fourteenth market, and the company’s first location in the…
    Written on Saturday, 02 July 2016 21:08
  • Firm Offers Inventory Solution
    Firm Offers Inventory Solution Drivin now offers DealerSelect, an exclusive program that offers custom vehicle recommendations for dealerships based on customer purchase behavior, dealer demographics and local market demand.The program gives dealers access to…
    Written on Tuesday, 06 September 2016 14:48
  • MANHEIM Adds Retail Solutons Site
    MANHEIM Adds Retail Solutons Site Manheim opened its new Retail Solutions Center in a renovated 50,000-square-foot facility in Flat Rock, Mich., to provide Detroit-area dealers with greater access to high-quality services that produce retail-ready vehicles.…
    Written on Tuesday, 19 July 2016 15:31
  • AG Sues Dealer for Missing Titles
    AG Sues Dealer for Missing Titles The Ohio attorney general announced a lawsuit against a Dayton used-car dealer accused of failing to deliver motor vehicle titles to consumers. The lawsuit seeks reimbursement from Ashley Alexander, doing…
    Written on Wednesday, 21 September 2016 19:11
  • Vendor Sets Record with Dealer Program
    Vendor Sets Record with Dealer Program GWC Warranty, provider of used vehicle service contracts and related finance and insurance products sold through automotive dealers, has set a new record for the number of dealers who have…
    Written on Monday, 01 August 2016 12:46
  • Independent Dealer Travels Famous Route For Birthday
    Independent Dealer Travels Famous Route For Birthday Some people celebrate their 60th birthday with a cake and a family party. But independent dealer Guy Strohmeier instead went on a month-long hike from the French Pyrenees to northwestern…
    Written on Wednesday, 10 August 2016 17:34