Changes for automotive retail

The automotive retail sector is set to be disrupted.

Dealers and OEMs are facing a new world of EV startups, shared mobility and online distribution. 

In the past you bought a new car from a dealership and you expected to have an ongoing relationship with the dealership, but not with the manufacturer.  Now dealers are feeling the pinch as OEMs provide services beyond the sales point, including connected apps, autonomous driving and predictive maintenance.

Buying vehicles online is the future, but Star Global's research has revealed that automotive retailers need to think beyond customers just doing the deals in the showroom. With brand loyalty on the wain, they must create “seamless, digitally-enabled buying experiences” creating new interactions and revenue streams from spaces like cafés and restaurants. 

But it isn't just the coffee and food which tempts would-be vehicle purchasers into dealerships. Most people still want to see, test drive the vehicle and ask a real person questions. On the other hand, the digital customer journey involves online research and tends to lead to just one visit to a dealership before purchasing. making it important to have customer interaction at the early stages of the sales cycle. This can be done through closer collabration with OEMs with dealerships looking at integrated sales, marketing and service teams. A mix of online and offline approach to sales negotations with customers will help to ensure satisfaction.

Fewer people may be buying or leasing cars. With the rise of ride hailing apps, electric scooters and self-driving trucks, retailers should be watching these changes in personal mobility. Despite car subscription services costing more than vehicle ownership or leasing, their market penetration is growing, offering greater choice and flexibility.

Electric vehicles may not yet be mainstream, but there are millions of them on the road and many more in production. This offers an opportunity to dealerships to interact with their customers. Providing knowledge and expertise on EVs is a way of communicating and possibly persuading unconvinced consumers.