Some say that NADA in San Francisco is lighter attended than other locations. Regardless of quantity, the quality of conversations I had with clients was as good as they have ever been in my ten years in the automotive industry.
From these conversations and my observations of the show itself, I noticed a few trends.
Online Inventory Merchandising is Trending in Discussions
Vehicle merchandising is piquing the interest of dealers and partners alike. Discussions have evolved from general interest in the basics to dealers actively seeking us out to dive deep into merchandising strategies and how to use their current merchandising tools efficiently and effectively.
Partners are also display a growing interest in the movement of inventory and are seeking overall guidance on how dealers should merchandise inventory to elevate their own offerings. Other providers that were not as focused on this in prior years are now expanding their thinking to cater to the growing importance of merchandising.
Dealers Becoming More Intelligent with their Merchandising
I’ve always stressed the importance of tracking your processes to measure the success of your merchandising. In the past, I’d have one-off conversations with a handful of progressive dealers about this during NADA. However, I had this same talk with almost every dealer I encountered this year. This is a great indicator that dealers are becoming more intelligent with their merchandising strategies and are interested in the health of their listings.
In fact, I spoke with an independent dealer that began as a body shop. When he began looking into the possibility of beginning a retail business, he recognized he had no understanding of the business and what tools would help him. He noted that Cox Automotive’s end-to-end solutions simplified the process and proved to be a great choice for his budding business. He made HomeNet his first stop and learned the impact photos, pricing and the right data had on the success of his listings.
Integrated Solutions are the Future
Easy to use and integrated into their current process, that’s what dealers want. Changing tools, processes and even data feeds are all things dealers tend to be resistant to. It takes time, money and a great deal of effort to get things switched over. Simple tools that seamlessly blend with other solutions are key to optimizing dealer efficiency and are going to be the most beneficial in the long run. As the industry moves forward, solutions should aim to be easy to adopt, offering to be minimally disruptive and highly effective.
As we continue in Quarter Two of 2019, HomeNet will be wrapping up a merchandising study. Stay tuned for the exciting results as we break down what it means for your business.