Any franchised dealer that has not fully embraced the internet by now must face a difficult future of being steadily left further and further behind.
Showroom visits are few today, with consumers arriving ready to purchase and armed with weeks worth of research they’ve conducted independently via online sources.
Last month’s AM/Razsor Digital Marketing Conference focused on how dealers can maximise the effectiveness of their online assets, and how they ensure the customer’s experience of these assets will ultimately lead to stronger relationships and sales.
The national event, held at the Ricoh Arena in Coventry, attracted senior directors and managers from franchised dealerships, groups and car manufacturers.
A view from the chairman
James Bellini, futurologist and conference chairman
Bellini said the evolution of the digital world is top of his agenda.
Dealers must ask themselves if they’re on board with the realities of now.
Reports suggested that from 2014 every new car could be connected to the web.
The EU plans from 2015 for new cars to be fitted with e-call, a sensor which calls the emergency services in the event of an accident.
“We’re seeing the digital car with us, the question is whether digital car retailing is keeping up with the game,” he said.
Bellini also referred to a recent report by automotive analysts at Frost & Sullivan which suggested that by 2020 across the globe 4.5 million new cars will be sold completely online, around 4% of all new car sales.
“The power of the internet will need to be an essential part of your sales strategy,” he added.