The rapid change in consumer behavior and what the industry needs to do to meet their demands were hot topics at LGM’s first-ever OEM forum.
Held in Toronto in early November, the gathering saw speakers J.D. Ney from J.D. Power and Jim Carroll, recognized futurist and innovation expert, address a group of automakers and industry reps.
OEMs present included BMW, Hyundai, Kia, Mazda, Mitsubishi, Subaru, VW and Volvo.
LGM president Jeff Fallowfield said much of the night dealt with the future and how it pertains to the retail auto industry and ancillary F&I products.
“We introduced the event as a means to discuss our changing consumer and how we can and should be catering to them and why we haven’t been successful to date,” he said. “Dealerships aren’t going away, which has been talked about for so long. Dealerships are changing in alignment with how our customers are changing.”
He said there were a lot of nodding heads in the room as attendees were looking at the next steps to take to make change and how to best influence dealers to make change.
Specific to F&I was the idea of incorporating the product roster into the OEM build-and-price website page, or offering a series of lifestyle questions online in order for consumers to come to their own conclusions around their purchases.
“Change is slowly happening within the F&I space as it tries to keep up with the rapid pace of technological transformation and of course, meeting the ever evolving set of customer expectations,” he said. “We are adapting through the development of ancillary F&I products that focus on bringing true value to the consumer and then training financial services managers on how to best understand their customer before offering suitable solutions.”
Jim Carroll’s presentation focused on the future of automotive retail and highlighted concepts like autonomous cars, evolving consumer expectations, the rise of Millennials and how to be a leader in the auto industry.
“Think big; start small; scale fast,” he told the crowd, noting those who don’t could be left behind.
“The next frontier is making the process more transparent by providing information online, and allowing customers to educate themselves prior to any dealership visit. This includes details on product attributes, applicability and pricing,” Fallowfield said.
Turnout and feedback was so positive LGM confirms it has already started planning the 2016 forum with an eye on growing the size and scope.
“Due to the rapid change in customer expectations, dated traditional sales tactics employed yesterday will not work tomorrow. Those who embrace this new business model and implement strategies that focus on the new customer will succeed in the future. These will be strategies for years to come so there is a lot to talk about”