by CDK Global | 12 January 2018

Five Resolutions the Auto Retail Industry Should Make in 2018

We’re a little over a week into 2018, and a lot of people have already made resolutions and others have likely already broken them. But after spending time creating our Year-end Report, we realized that there are a handful of resolutions we could make as an industry that would help us better serve our customers, and ultimately stay competitive in an industry brimming with change.

Resolution #1: Don’t Get Left Behind

If you didn’t already know, there are a lot of entrants who pose an inevitable risk to dealerships and their tried-and-true business model. Amazon is the big player making noise about its interest in the auto industry, but other, smaller players pose their own threat to business “the way we’ve always done it.” In the midst of potential change, the industry should resolve to focus on new ideas, strategies and technologies that meet changing customer needs— before we get left behind.

Resolution #2: Be More Transparent

One key shift in consumer behavior lies in their desire for transparency. With so many of their shopping experiences happening online, they are conditioned to want the ability to see a variety of options with clear pricing, and make the choice that best suits their needs. Historically, dealerships have been known to manipulate pricing and negotiate deals to make a profit. But consumers won’t stand for that much longer—causing the industry as a whole to resolve to meet their customers’ desire — or lose them altogether.

Resolution #3: Embrace Change

In the past year, significant technology changes have taken place in our industry. Online retailing has become a major player, Facebook Marketplace announced integrations with dealership inventory platforms and mobile experiences continue to be a priority. Dealerships should first resolve to embrace the change that has already occurred by making sure their dealership is using the most recent, cutting-edge technology. But dealerships should also resolve to brace themselves for the unknown, and be willing to boldly adopt changes that will inevitably come in 2018.

Resolution #4: Consider Alternate Ownership Models

Another major shift in the consumer experience is tied to ownership models. The early success of initiatives like Maven, Getaround and ReachNow indicate consumers’ growing appetites for alternates to the traditional vehicle ownership model. It looks like OEMs may lead the charge in many of these initiatives (and some like Volvo already are), so dealerships should prepare to examine how these new initiatives will affect their dealership. Leasing also is on the rise, so it’s time to start exploring how dealerships can use this growing trend for their benefit.

Resolution #5: Push the Envelope

With every new year comes a chance to be bold and reorient yourself. In 2018, we as an industry have the chance to push the envelope in the experience we provide, the technology we embrace and the future we choose. Let’s make this year the year of making bold moves. Inevitably, we’ll make mistakes or try strategies that aren’t quite successful— so let’s resolve to pick ourselves up, brush ourselves off, and make the next bold move.

What are your resolutions for the automotive industry in 2018?