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The future of dealerships

The automotive industry is continually evolving to meet customers’ ever-changing demands. How cars are sold, advancements in vehicle types, new ownership models and technological innovations that give buyers control must all be considered by dealers, who need to adapt if they are to retain customers during competitive times.
Consumers expect to move seamlessly between mobile devices and real-life experiences; 90% of multiple device owners are reported to switch between screens to complete tasks, using an average of three combinations each day. As a result, customers expect retailers to be ‘always on’, so dealers need to ensure all touchpoints are synced.
“Retailers must embrace these customers online, helping them transition from the virtual-world research and consideration phase into the real-world dealership to experience the vehicle first-hand. Customer service plays a huge part in capturing this market, as dealers connect and perfect their online and offline customer interactions,” says CDK General Manager Middle East and Africa, Phil Stubbs.
According to CDK Global, 71% of consumers who bought cars via a dealer rate customer experience as either somewhat or very important when choosing where to buy a vehicle, so dealers need to ensure they deliver excellent service on and offline.
Retailers should also look to capitalise on the growing trend for subscription models, with the global car sharing market expected to hit 36 million by 2025. Selecting a car type to match needs or moods (sporty coupé for a weekend away, SUV for weekly shop) will soon become a reality, particularly in urban environments where traditional ownership may soon be an expensive inconvenience. “Dealers still have a crucial role to play in this emerging market, guiding customers into new ownership models and themselves developing fleet service and vehicle management skills,” said Stubbs.
“How we travel is constantly changing and, with more options becoming available to consumers, dealers can implement best practice now to advise customers and ensure their services remain competitive. To do this, retailers must keep up with industry trends and harness the power of digital and social media to reach new customers. The dealerships that take action now will reap the benefits in the future,” concludes Stubbs.