by Alistair Jeff

I’d earmarked this NADA Workshop session led by Ron Andrews from Dealer Inspire primarily centred upon its provocative title; well, I’m a champion for the benefits of digitising the dealer model while also embracing the importance people can bring at the same time. My philosophy is that digitisation can enable people to be more productive and to add greater value to the businesses in which they work. So, was this session going to change my thinking?

In short, the answer to my question was no.

Dealer Inspire positions itself as ‘the innovative disruptor future-proofing dealerships with connected solutions that sell and service more vehicles, more efficiently.’ I saw and enjoyed a session that reaffirmed my beliefs and introduced me to the type of business with at REALtime Communications; we enjoy collaborating.

Whistle-stopping through the accelerating use of technology in automotive retailing over recent years, the key take-aways from Ron’s presentation were:

  • “Digital” is no longer a different or separate experience
  •  Everyone expects online and in-store to be the same seamless experience
  •  We need to fuse people, products, and processes to win

I’m sure why you can see I said I found a kindred spirit. For Ron and me, automotive retailing today must ‘fuse’ digital and personal. A business’ culture, marketing and operations must gear themselves around the reality that digital is how people find their next car, their aftersales and added value services, such as F&I. This is the ‘what’ today’s dealers must do. The neat twist Ron offered was the critical role of how businesses conduct business online and offline.

Success for Ron is the combination of the right tools, expanding the roles and responsibilities of a dealers’ “Digital Showroom Department”. It is about empowering the team to collaborate with online shoppers using the available tools. In addition to the importance of leadership and training Ron highlighted, I would add something deeply embedded into our business philosophy at REALtime Communications.

Enhanced success is the prize available to dealers by collaborating at a deeper level with open-minded, support focused businesses such as ours.

As a business, we see the value for us and our dealer clients of forging symbiotic relationships with other suppliers, including some who could be considered competitors in areas such as eVHC and Workshop Management. Working together, we can all win by optimising the value of digitisation, training and customisation. Get it right, and we do, and our retail partners and we are delighting increasing numbers of customers offline and online. It is a win win for everyone.