From May 9th – 11th dealers from around the country gathered at the Tampa Convention Center to network, learn, and grow at the Digital Dealer Conference. From keynote speakers, breakout sessions and meetings with exhibitors, there is a wide spectrum of knowledge to break down. A variety of topics from previous Digital Dealer and NADA shows were discussed, including first party data, electric vehicles and so much more! So, what information should you share with your team? Keep reading to see our biggest takeaways.
In many parts of the country, life seems to be going back to “normal;” however, the past couple years were anything but normal! As a result of dealerships being forced to close, a new concern for cleanliness arose. Of course, the chip shortage also placed a major hurdle throughout the industry. Those obstacles were not overcome without alterations in processes and adaptation of new strategies.
When we were all home during the pandemic, much of our professional and personal lives were online. From Zoom calls to shopping, we seemed to be moving deeper into the digital world. We see new technologies emerge (as you will find out if you keep reading), but also see a major focus on understanding that traditional media is not dead. Companies like Carvana disrupted the automotive industry and did so with simple, clean billboards, relatable television commercials and even radio ads. Although it feels like all eyes are on smartphones, if we look up, we can still see how present traditional media is in our everyday lives.
Another major lesson learned was the importance of used car acquisition. Focusing on buying cars off the street led many dealerships to develop a separate department entirely devoted to acquiring used vehicles. Once new car inventory comes back up to pre-COVID levels, it is important not to forget how significant used car acquisition was to dealerships’ inventory and sales during the pandemic.
Automotive processes have become automated using digital retailing tools. Digital retailing tools were slowly emerging before COVID but were in high demand during the pandemic. After implementation of digital retailing tools, dealerships had to retrain employees to coexist with their website’s new functionality. For many, this proved beneficial and has become a crucial part of everyday business. The ability for users to shop from home, initially due to safety, and now due to comfort and convenience are the way of the future.
It is more important now, than ever before, to provide an easy online user experience on your dealership’s website to compete with Carvana and CarMax. These industry giants make buying and selling a very competitive game by offering at home delivery and pick up, 100% online buying experience, and one clean website that provides all needed information. Dealerships must adapt to meet the customer’s where they are, both in their buying experience and physically, with customer satisfaction placed in a high priority.
As we move forward, dealerships need to continue to modify strategies to stay up to date with the latest tools and processes. As technology continues to evolve, keeping structure in how your dealership operates will be crucial.
In addition to dealership processes, we need to understand the world of Google is ever changing. With Universal Analytics sunsetting next summer, GA4 is on the horizon. Additionally, Google has launched new products, such as vehicle ads linked to your specific VPDs and business messaging which allows you to add a widget on products such as GMB and Google Maps.
In addition to Google, the Metaverse is making a splash in the automotive industry with OEMs like Hyundai already appearing in this space. Having virtual test drives and walk arounds of a car, that is not in your show room, is the future of sales. Start educating yourself now because before we know it the technology of our dreams will be our reality.
These highlights just scratch the surface of the wealth of knowledge obtained at Digital Dealer this year. To learn more about how to implement these and other digital marketing strategies, contact us today. Our team stays up to date with the latest industry trends so that you can focus on your dealership’s success!
After graduating from the University of Delaware with a major in Media Communications, Leigh began her career working in advertising. Two years of agency experience in account management and digital marketing as an intern and full-time employee, have given her the knowledge and experience to grow in this field. She enjoys creating campaigns that drive leads and traffic for clients, in addition to optimizing and strategizing for best results.