Arguably, the most discussed topic at this year’s NADA Convention and Expo in New Orleans was how automotive buyers are now performing more of their shopping online and how the industry is preparing for this growing trend.
As automotive buyers ask to do more of the shopping steps online, dealers are looking to meet that demand by providing their customers more advanced dealer controlled shopping tools that help standardize the shopping experience online and in the showroom.
Dealers are now shifting to meet that demand by creating an online environment of trust and credibility that eventually transfers into the dealership showroom.
And this trend wasn’t just anecdotal “shop talk” on the NADA show floor.
According to a Deloitte Automotive report, consumers want to complete their vehicle purchase transactions quicker, with nine out of 10 consumers stating that they desire an “extremely efficient” buying process.
And dealers “overwhelmingly” share this sentiment with 80 per cent saying that the “ideal sales and financing process” should take two hours or less compared to the four hours or more it takes today.
Which is why I am proud to announce Dealertrack Canada will be partnering with TRADER Corporation with the rollout of our new Digital Retailing Solution.
The partnership with Trader, which is scheduled for April 1 rollout, provides the ability to exclusively embed the Dealertrack Digital Retailing tools in their TRADER website solutions websites across Canada. Dealers using other website providers will also have the ability to take advantage of these plug-in capabilities later in Q2 this year.
As dealer expectations rapidly move from treating digital retail as a niche experiment to a foundational part of their online process, the new Dealertrack Digital Retailing Solution demonstrates a vision of how dealers can change their processes to take full advantage of this rapid shift in consumer behaviour.
From desking tools that enrich the in-store experience to the largest lender network in Canada, Dealertrack serves dealers, lenders, OEMs, third-party retailers, agents and aftermarket providers. And now, during this era of online retail transformation, the Digital Retailing Solution addresses the changing needs of both the consumer and the dealer.
For example, from a consumer’s standpoint, the Dealertrack Digital Retailing Solution offers more transparency online about their vehicle purchase and saves them valuable time at the dealership.
On the dealer side, they benefit from the digital integration of the Dealertrack Credit Application Portal — the largest in Canada — into their existing process, differentiate their shopping experience and build instant trust and rapport with their online shoppers.
As one of our existing Dealertrack Digital Retailing Solution U.S. clients told us, “The online buyer puts a little more thought into the process – this is a hot prospect, we know that they are already visualizing the purchase of the vehicle. We can be transparent, yet still, control all the information the consumer has access to with Dealertrack Digital Retailing. And because the customer gets more information, our clients will be better positioned to close more deals than ever before.
“They already know what they want. Not giving the customer that information results in the customer going to another dealership.”
The “Amazonification” of automotive retail is a trend that is here to stay. And I expect that by the time next year’s NADA Convention and Expo rolls around, the show floor chatter of dealers adopting Digital Retail practices will graduate from “Do you think we should give it a try?” to “How fast can we implement it?”
Backed by our parent, Cox Automotive Canada, our existing clients already know Dealertrack’s breadth of services and access to data makes us uniquely positioned to provide dealers with both services and insights.
Based on what Dealertrack Canada has to offer, and what partners like TRADER and others in the future will provide, I strongly feel that our new Digital Retail Solution positions us well to manage the changing needs of both the automotive consumer and dealer.
Richard Evans is the vice-president and general manager of Dealertrack Canada.