Welcome to another edition of our Dealer Forward video series with Cox Automotive, where we talk about some of the most challenging issues affecting the automotive retail industry, and how dealerships and industry leaders are tackling those challenges.
Joining the show is Josh Bickerton, Director of Product Consulting for Dealertrack DMS. Today, we’ll discuss what Josh is hearing from General Managers and Principal Owners about how a more flexible Dealer Management System is helping them unlock profitability and improve operations.
Bickerton works with professionals with extensive experience with Dealer Management Systems and helps them make technology-related decisions that will help them succeed. That includes “uncovering the right strategies and tools to drive profits.”
Dealers, Bickerton says, have encountered problems with “utilizing and understanding data,” and they are looking to outside vendors to assist them with these challenges. Dealers reportedly have an overwhelming amount of data, and Bickerton says Cox Automotive is helping dealers “unlock key insights” that compile all of this data and produce something “meaningful.”
While having significant amounts of data is great, Bickerton says it isn’t valuable unless dealers know how to interpret the information.
Dealers have also reported challenges with hiring and retaining talent as well as finding “flexible vendors” who do not prevent them from operating their businesses “the way they want to.”
On hiring, Bickerton says workers have more of an opportunity to “be picky” now. He adds that a recent study found that more than 50% of dealership employees turnover within a year of hiring and that dealers need to find people from a wider talent pool capable of being trained on their technology.
“Simplified, connected workflows,” according to Bickerton, can lessen costs and boost profitability while improving the customer experience.
Bickerton cites a Cox Automotive study that found dealers use an average of seven different technology platforms to conduct one transaction. These technology integration fees are costing dealers an exorbitant amount of money.
The solution, Bickerton says, is that dealers should identify partners who are “inclusive” and “well-connected.” He notes that these inclusive partners are open to integration with other Dealer Management Systems instead of solely pushing their own solutions on dealers.
Bickerton points out that Dealertrack offers its Opentrack platform, which is connected to over 200 vendors and offers “secure, bi-directional data flow” between the various systems.
Along with “intuitive technology,” Bickerton reports that partnership is also critical to a dealer’s success. Having a partner that understands the challenges dealers face, he says, can help dealers analyze and use the data they have amassed.
Bickerton says that successful dealers think of their performance managers as members of their teams and are transparent about all aspects of their businesses, ranging from long-term goals to financials and the development of their Dealer Management Systems.
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