Let’s take a look at the evolution and future of automotive retail and potential new roles which are vital for dealerships to add if they want to sustain.
The pace across all industries is accelerating and the automotive industry is facing a bit of disruption. Evolving mobility solution, intensifying competition, product innovation, stringent regulations and changing customer preferences are the disruptions which are compelling dealerships to adopt new operating models and upskill salesforce. Future of automotive retail depends on these factors and whether the dealerships are ready to adopt new models to help them sustain.
Even with the ongoing transformation, the role of traditional dealerships is not likely to diminish. Reduction in the number of visits to the dealership has made the initial visit even more crucial while also increasing the prominence of the sales personnel.
Digitization is the prime driver of change and it is vital with regards to the future of automotive retail. The pandemic has accelerated the digitization process further increasing disruptions for dealerships. From customer acquisition and vehicle delivery to after sales, everything has been changing dramatically. Online presence needs to be increased nowadays, as it plays a crucial role in generating awareness.
However, it continues to be a blind spot for traditional dealers as majority of them do not tend to increase their online presence. Whereas, select Original Equipment Manufacturers, captives and brokers are offering sophisticated portals capable of performing entire customer journeys online.
With the constant innovation in technology and products, the existing salesforce needs upskilling. The salesforce should be familiar with all the technology and products to provide a seamless experience to the customers and ensure maximization of sales. Hiring efforts at dealerships need recalibration as the salesforce will continue to play a critical role and be a key differentiator.
Clearly, traditional dealers need to undertake significant change in management to catch up with the evolving mobility ecosystem. Achieving this transformation in automotive retail requires a concerted effort from all dealerships. Even with the ongoing transformation, the role of traditional dealerships is not likely to diminish but this alone cannot help and constant innovation is key for sustainability.
Evolving Mobility Preferences
Mobility preferences are evolving constantly aiding people to choose from the most appropriate option. Shared mobility operating models are diminishing the need to own a personal vehicle. This is a big challenge for dealerships and it highlights the fact that how will they deliver returns in an ecosystem where profits will be determined by access to data and miles travelled, instead of units sold.
Dealerships will have to highlight the prominence of their sales personnel to tackle this challenge and constantly upskill them so that they become familiar with the new operation models and work accordingly. Traditional dealerships need to assess all of their options and make a plan to improve sustainability.
Future of automotive retail is still in the hands of traditional dealerships as majority of people say that they will choose traditional dealerships over other channels to buy a car. Sales representatives hold prominence for not only closing sales with willing customers but also persuading unwilling customers. Also, dealers need to actively increase their online presence and optimize their efforts on traditional marketing channels.
Automotive retail is undergoing a significant transformation with increasing digitization, evolution of mobility-as-a-service and with OEMs taking an even larger role in managing customer journey and experience. This, however, does not dilute the role that a dealership plays – linking OEM and customer.