Auto dealers hit NADA with their checkbooks firmly in hand.  It was a convention full of frenzied deal making, with auto dealers’ willingness to shell out big money for the chance to find more customers and more sales.  Here are five takeaways after four days in San Francisco.

 

  1. Customer Experience Leads the Conversation

 

Auto consumers are searching and nearly demanding an effortless and transparent car buying experience.  It does not surprise anyone that the customer experience is still the #1 hot topic for NADA, NIADA, and Digital Dealer.  It appears that we will have another year of the most innovative and forward-thinking dealers examining every aspect of the customer experience.  How they shop, what influences them to click and ultimately why they purchase are all dominating questions when seeking better ways to engage customers.

 

Ironically enough we are also now witnessing a shift in how dealers interact with their vendors and technology providers they choose.  Profitable dealers are telling us they prefer intuitive support, user-friendly reports and partners who are working to improve the day-to-day experience for both their customers and dealership staff.

 

Big Time Advertising loves this direction and has developed a virtual road to the sale that better integrates and keeps the fundamentals that we all know sells vehicles while taking advantage of emerging technologies.  A customer’s path is complicated and they can come from so many places, let us help enhance the customer’s experience and generate leads that convert to deal recap sheets.

 

 

  1. Digital Retailing is the Hottest Buzz Word

 

If dealers have not heard the term “Digital Retailing” they will soon and often in 2019.  In fact, Digital Retailing was all the hype at NADA 2019.  Ultimately, providing technology that offers customers the convenience to shop where, when and how they desire is where it all is going.  This speaks to the bigger trend of meeting today’s auto shoppers on their terms.

 

At Big Time Advertising, we are excited to share in this process with our dealers.  We have some exciting new integration opportunities that will help lead the digital retailing environment.  Whether online with a desktop, tablet, or mobile all dealers need more work at providing a seamless transition to the showroom floor.

 

  1. Big Data Continues to Grow “to Infinity and Beyond”

 

Data continues to dominate the automotive space and is still a hot topic for dealers this year.  Dealerships now collect data from hundreds of sources, making it more critical than ever to capture consumer data in systems that provide actionable insight to improve customer experiences whle building a usable marketing database of like audiences.

 

Vendors continue to emerge trying to bridge the gap between CRM, DMS, Digital Retail, and Fixed Ops technology.  Integrating these critical components of our dealerships has never been more important.  Big Time advertising will continue to work with our dealers in this ongoing process.

 

 

  1. Aligning Digital Image with Dealership’s Image

 

An absolute take-away I heard at many booths, in the hallways, between sessions, and while having a few cold ones, dealers are struggling to get their historical and known image to convert and take flight with their digital image.  How to get a family owned, hard working dealership to matter in a digital world is a struggle and whoever can figure it out typically wins.  In an era, hyper focused on the sales result we are losing our way on the road to the sale.  First Impressions, Rapport Building, and so much more can convert in a dealer’s digital image.  Unfortunately, so many vendors are now involved that no-one communicates with each other for fear of churning a client instead of focusing on selling more customers.

 

Big Time Advertising recognizes and brings to life the need for a holistic approach to a competent marketing strategy.  At Big Time, we refuse to lose focus on this reality and challenge.  We strongly believe this is what separates us from so many marketing choices available.  Aligning our dealers image with our digital strategy is discussed every day.

 

 

  1. Used Vehicles Will Flex Their Muscle in 2019

 

Dealers have seen a shift of consumers demanding more light trucks which consists of utility vehicles and pickups.  In fact, 70% over 30% are shopping in favor of light trucks.  The industry does not see this trend stopping any time soon.  What else would have us all bracing for the return of the Ford Bronco.  However, another trend is the new vs. used conundrum.  We will see increases in late model used vehicle sales in 2019.  Take note though, we will see the light truck emphasis now take hold in the used market.

 

Finally, consumers will see more off—lease vehicles coming to the used-car market that have the driver-assist technologies that new car buyers have been seeking the past few years.  The used vehicle inventory needs to have a mix including these vehicles and have them displayed in all marketing strategies.  While interest rates are a concern for dealers, their bigger concern should be having the right used vehicle mix.  It will be critical for sustainability and growth in 2019.  Big Time Advertising would covet the opportunity to help sell the right mix.  It can happen with proper planning, vision, and all departments communicating appropriately.

bryson@gowithbigtime.com

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