As of 2017, there were over 18,000 light-vehicle automobile dealerships in the United States. That statistic shows that the landscape for automobile dealers is a competitive one. Another piece of data that can be alarming to an aspiring automobile is the fact that almost 8 in 10 businesses fail within the first 18 months. Emerging dealers not only face competition but new complex processes such as inventory management, F&I regulations, and the ups and downs of seasonal demands. On top of all this, dealers also have to reach the masses through an effective branding strategy. There is a lot for dealers to address in their preparation for opening an automobile dealership. Because of this, it is essential for dealers to have resources to help them continue to expand. Here are five resources for auto dealers who are entering the automobile industry.
Starting With The Best Tools
In any business automation is key, but the significant amount of customer interaction and data collection that occurs during vehicle purchases requires tools that capture as much information as possible. Customer Relationship Management Systems (CRMs) and auto dealer software can help emerging dealers start off on the right foot. On the customer side, CRMs allows dealers collect contact information from customers and automate emails when a customer completes specific actions such as visiting the main page or purchasing a vehicle or service. Auto dealer software can automate inventory orders, and better manage supplies. Here is a list of auto dealer management software to get dealers started in their research.
Set Up Digital Marketing Plans With Ease
We live in a world where an online presence beyond a website is critical. To an emerging dealer, navigating social media can be overwhelming, but it is too essential to ignore. This is something many people wait to develop, but life would be a lot easier if this were something dealers addressed in the beginning. There are tools dealers can use to plan and manage their digital marketing presence. Tools like Trello can track social media campaigns, while Excel can help dealers assign posts or plan blogs for the next month. Here are four tools that can help dealers starting out to speed this process along effectively.
Get Connected To A Network
What are the trends for used car prices this year? What can dealers expect from new fleets from manufacturers? Are there any conferences addressing dealer issues? The National Automobile Dealer Association (NADA) began in 1917 and represents the interest of car and truck dealers to the media, government, public, and manufacturers. They release informative reports about car price trends and overall market analytics that are meant to help dealers make informed decisions about their inventory. NADA is an excellent resource to stay up on automobile market trends.
Stay Up-To-Date On Regulations In Your State
This one applies explicitly for those still in the launch process, but it does have implications for those who have gone into the operation phase. It is vital that dealers stay current on licensing information in their state. DMV.org has created a web page that allows dealers to go to each state for a list of required licenses and tags for operating a local dealership.
Safeguard Your Dealership From Violating Regulations – All industries have regulations that businesses need to watch for and avoid violating. The automobile industry is no different, so those who are new to it would benefit from learning the laws that impact dealers. In 2010, an author at Auto Dealer Monthly created a list of the 19 most essential regulations dealers should be aware of. They address everything from how personal consumer financial information should be handled to what should be included in a Buyer’s Guide. Regulations can be altered at any time, so it is important always to keep an eye on these rules throughout the years.
The first step in launching a dealership should be to make sure helpful resources are readily accessible. There are many complex processes that dealers have to deal with just starting out, but things like a reliable CRM, digital marketing plan template, access to a network of like-minded people, and information on related regulations can get new dealers off to the right start.