Technology ineptness is an industry issue, not a dealer issue
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Discuss Technology ineptness is an industry issue, not a dealer issue in the Automotive Internet Marketing forum at Car Dealer Forums; A new blog has appeared on the scene and one of the recent posts on ...
Technology ineptness is an industry issue, not a dealer issue
A new blog has appeared on the scene and one of the recent posts on it talks about how car dealers are "2-3 years behind on Internet trends." While this is not automatically a bad thing when it comes to business and technology, I am concerned with the statement that car dealers are slow to embrace technology trends in comparison to other industries because I don't think it is necessarily a dealer issue.
One area that lacks in car sales is online shopping carts. All you can do online with dealers is generate leads, make offers, and request quotes. You can't actually make a vehicle purchase on the Web. eBay is the only successful online selling system for autos which I think demonstrates the fact that PEOPLE WILL PURCHASE CARS ONLINE and that DEALERS UTILIZE THE TECHNOLOGY. So why do dealers not offer this on their websites? Is it because they don't want to, don't know how, or is it because the technology is not available?
Is this a car dealer issue, or an industry issue?
I think it is an industry issue. The auto industry is riddled with "technology" + "marketing" companies which makes for mediocrity in both areas. Dealer.com has their 360 product, a "complete" dealer marketing solution, but guess what, consumers can't purchase vehicles with it from dealers. I don't mean to single them out because everyone is a culprit here. Everywhere you look, someone has a "complete" solution or a silver bullet, but no one gives dealers the ability to execute vehicle transactions on their site...well, almost no one.
The only company with a product designed for dealers to make direct sales on the Web is Ai-Dealer. Their software plugs in to a dealer's site and requires customers to go through a double-opt-in-like process before they can even begin to make a purchase. While lead generating companies might argue that this limits the number of potential leads that could be generated from people choosing not to input their info, the proprietor has statistics to show that this actually makes those that do register with the software more qualified, which is as we all know of high importance for dealers.
So here we are, in a moment of time where essentially every major retail business in the world sells their products online with shopping carts, except for car dealers, and only one company has the means to make it possible. This is why I think the problem is an industry issue and not a dealer issue. People WILL BUY CARS ONLINE if they are capable of doing so and I think this attitude needs to be better understood and embraced by those producing tools and solutions for car dealers.
and indirectly (email addresses are required in order to get in to the shopping carts).
Disclosure: Ai-Dealer does not provide the solution in use at Lithia or AutoNation. Those are custom creations. This is a forum not an infomercial. Ai-Dealer has its own shopping cart ecommerce product in use since Nov 2006 at dealerships around the country.
Can a shopping cart be used as an important part of a car dealer's marketing message? At Ai-Dealer, we provide franchise-exclusive 30-50 mile territories to our dealers for them to market their competitive advantage.
What do user's think? How's this for a review by the Editor of F&I Magazine
"I thought I'd put it to the ultimate test.. what did my wife think? She's pretty crafty you know. She selected the Camry and breezed through the rest of the process... She got a kick out of how the avatar's eyes followed the mouse and how it changed facial expressions... Now my wife has purchased a vehicle before, but it sounded like this was the first time she completely grasped the itemized breakdown of the deal."
Car dealerships are busy places. Internet selling from leads is HARD. Shopping carts are new, but address many of the fundamental friction points in the market today - falling traditional advertising effectiveness, consumers hiding on the Internet due to mistrust of the traditional dealership sales process, etc
As Ryan pointed out, almost every other industry on the planet has fallen to shopping cart based ecommerce. In the Dotcom era, this was tried (quite spectacularly unsuccessfully) by pure ecommerce companies. In round #2, companies like Ai-Dealer are arming the dealers themselves to transfom them from brick and mortar retailers into true click and mortar retailers.
Will it work??? Anecdotal evidence is there... as CapGemini reported in its July 2007 report... 1 in 5 In-Market Vehicle Consumers would buy online if the capability existed (up from 2% in 2001).
Dealers using the Ai-Dealer system are selling more cars with it than without it. Communicating the capability to consumers seems to be the biggest challenge at the moment. Once they find it and use it, great things happen
Or maybe the Internet and selling cars are fundamentally incompatible beyond consumers submitting leads and dealers following them up with phone calls and emails to set showroom appointments.
It is not what I am betting on and not what the CEO of Google would advise...
"…what’s surprising is that so many companies are still betting against the net, trying to solve today’s problems with yesterday’s solutions. The past few years have taught us that business models based on controlling consumers or content don’t work. Betting against the net is foolish because you’re betting against human ingenuity and creativity."
Obviously I have a bias in that Ai-Dealer is my company and I believe in what we have done and what we are doing. I encourage you to engage in the discussion and experience with your own opinion... this is a forum after all.
according to me Technology ineptness is i an industry issue. The auto industry is riddled with "technology" + "marketing" companies which makes for mediocrity in both areas. Dealer.com has their 360 product, a "complete" dealer marketing solution, but guess what, consumers can't purchase vehicles with it from dealers. I don't mean to single them out because everyone is a culprit here. Everywhere you look, someone has a "complete" solution or a silver bullet, but no one gives dealers the ability to execute vehicle transactions on their site...well, almost no one.
I'm curious about this phenom of people actually making a purchase as expensive as an automobile with actually having seen the car in question other than on a website. My function at my new job is to get them to the website, get them to interact to the point where they make contact. Then actually set an appointment for them to come by and check out a car.
Actually buy the car? Online? Sounds great! And I'm looking forward to reading more about it.