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Trends that Will Shape Your Dealership’s Future, Whether You Like It or Not

Aside from the prevalence of flying cars and hoverboards Marty McFly used, ‘the future’ is happening. Innovators dreamed of a world with cars that drove themselves, intercontinental visual communication – even a home that interacted with the occupants. These things used to be just futuristic visions but now they are a reality.

Whether you believe we will all live like the Jetsons in a few years or not, changes are constant. Both personally and professionally, you must make a choice to stay abreast of new trends as former methods fall to the wayside. Waiting for trends to become mainstream before implementation will see you scrambling to catch up instead of neck and neck with your competition.

Certain trends are already presenting themselves as a force that won’t go away anytime soon. Be aware of them and get aboard to take your dealership into the future.

(And, for the record, I want a ‘Rosie’ in my home sooner rather than later.)

The Car Buying Process

According to AutoTrader’s Car Buyer of the Future study, only 17 percent of car shoppers like the buying process as it is today. And an overwhelming majority – 72 percent – would prefer to remain anonymous until the final details are locked in.

Giving it to you straight, car shoppers want the flexibility to buy on their terms without the typical sales shtick. It starts with stress-free online research and culminates with a no-pressure transaction at the dealership. Transparency with the sales process and simplified F&I decisions enhance the customer’s experience.

Online Sales

Carvana, CarsDirect, Chevrolet’s Shop.Click.Drive campaign – they’re all geared towards the uptick in customers who want to buy a car without leaving the comfort of home. Without a question, the demand is increasing exponentially for online car retailers, and it’s a bandwagon you should be hopping onto right now.

An Accenture survey from more than two years ago shows that even at that time three quarters of respondents “would consider making their entire car-buying process online, including financing, price negotiation, back office paperwork and home delivery” if given the opportunity. Being an early adopter of online sales exposes you to customers your competition will never see.

How Cars Are Owned

As recently as 2011, leasing was virtually non-existent in the automotive market. It’s an area that has grown by leaps and bounds, making up 31.1 percent of all new car transactions in the first half of 2017. The popularity of leasing is driven by seniors and millennials, two segments that are drawn to low payments and flexible buying choices.

But it’s not just leasing that is trendy. The ‘shareconomy’ is real, and it’s growing in strength. Shared ownership explores partial ownership and car sharing, both of which are breaking down barriers for those who formerly wouldn’t be in the market for a car.

The Un-Dealership

New competition is coming from unexpected places. Amazon has already retailed vehicles for Fiat, Hyundai and Opel in the UK, and it won’t be long until that crosses the pond if online retail giant, Amazon, has their way. Already established as an un-dealership is Tesla whose customers can purchase directly from the manufacturer.

Now, more than ever, it’s important to know current and upcoming trends. The difference between implementing early and completely missing a trend can be a matter of just months, not years. And while you can’t prevent disruptors in the industry, you certainly can stay at the leading edge of trends to capitalize on your fair share of car sales. Know this: even if you aren’t working the trends, your competitors certainly are.

Jason Unrau
Jason Unrau
Jason Unrau is an automotive specialist with more than 15 years of experience at the dealership level. Focusing mainly on fixed operations and the service industry, Jason’s expertise is in enhancing the customer experience and promoting a healthy, profitable service department.

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