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How car dealers can serve customers in a modern retailing environment – Ron Frey

With the acceleration of digital retailing, car shoppers have drastically changed how they interact with the dealership. Industry expert Ron Frey, principal of RL Frey calls this transformation, the “modern retailing” experience. In this segment, anchor Jim Fitzpatrick speaks with Frey about how online retailers, such as Vroom and Carvana, have mastered modern retailing in a seamless transition with consumers.

From Frey’s perspective, in terms of digital retailing, auto dealers have started redefining what that process means and how they implement it at the dealership level. Pre-pandemic, dealers thought about digital retailing in a remarkably different way than they do today. Frey says that first-and-foremost, dealers should approach digital retailing as a subset of modern retailing. Dealers need to ask themselves, -how can we serve customers today in a modern environment?

Thinking about modern retailing with a larger scope allows dealers to stop thinking that this entire movement is about technology. This movement is not simply a product that will magically transform the business. It is an experience that COVID-19 has created a demand for.

Thinking about retail moving forward, dealers need to realize that they are in control of that experience. They can determine what experience they want to deliver for their particular market, brand, and competitive landscape. Dealers should decide what brand value proposition is behind that experience, and how technology can enable it.

Frey brings over 35 years of experience to the automotive retail industry. In 1985, he founded Frey International, which was later acquired by Autoland Inc. Frey served as CEO of the company and oversaw two additional acquisitions, and launched one of the nation’s first virtual used-car centers. In 2005, Autoland Inc. was acquired by TrueCar and Frey became a founding partner and COO. He also previously held the position of CSO for AutoNation and worked alongside industry giant Mike Jackson. Frey then joined CDK Global as CSO and introduced Fortellis Automotive. In 2015, Frey founded RL Frey, Inc. to invest in, consult, and coach companies.

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