Automotive Industry Moving Towards Car Showroom Updates with New Technology
According to a 2013 Australian automotive industry survey, 32 per cent of car showroom operators plan to increase their sales by over 50 per cent through 2020 with the use of new technologies like virtual showrooms, social media, e-commerce, and other online communications tools.
The car salesperson is no doubt a fixture in any car showroom setting scenario around the world, but even he/she will eventually feel the pinch of technology and how it always manages to change the status quo.
The survey, conducted by Australian Automobile Dealers Association (AADA) and commissioned to Moore Stephens Automotive, also found out that well over 60 percent of car dealerships have less than 30 per cent of sales coming from online transactions.
According to Moore Stephens Automotive head, Brett Fowler, the continuous growth in online sales should force the automotive industry to adapt multi-channel online communications to drive online transactions. He adds that the shift is simply in line with the measures other retail sectors are currently utilising.
The survey also found that respondents identified the increase in online retail activity as being a crucial factor that will affect not only existing advertising and marketing campaigns, but also the very concept of investing in a traditional ‘brick and mortar’ showroom. In fact, as much as , 79 per cent of respondents saw the value in having a virtual automobile showroom.
While the survey shows that there is certainly a lot of interest in virtual showrooms and how they can be used to generate sales over the next seven years, the pressure is on dealerships and franchisors to make the virtual store functional and financially viable enough to replace the brick and mortar premises. And then of course, is the prevailing notion that customers, while using the Internet to find product information, still want to do the usual test drive.
Fowler understands this, pointing out that many automotive retailers and customers still see personal interaction as a key factor in the process of purchasing a vehicle. However, he pointed out that online sales and communication can only enhance the relationship and dealer. He adds that customers don’t just use the Internet and the retailer’s website to find more information about their desired automobile, it’s also a way for them to review the retailer’s services, such as parts, servicing, financing, etc.
Ultimately, the purpose of developing an Internet presence is not just to facilitate online transactions, but to deliver a better product experience. With customers getting more information about a product before visiting the retailer, they are more likely than ever to spend less time negotiating with car salespersons.
These changes should by no means be limited to car showrooms. Automobile parts vendors should take note of the obvious lessons from this trend. As more consumers choose to do their business online, it pays to provide customers with easy and accessible ways to communicate and make transactions with their respective businesses. Failing to do so means missing out on an opportunity to increase revenue.