What do technology, the Internet and online transactional tools like Ai Dealer's "self serve" desking application, NeoSynergy's "Buy Direct" and DealMaker.Com's real time bidding system that allows auto dealers to compete for the deal in an open forum have to do with automotive advertising and the evolution of the brick and mortar dealership? Everything!
DealMaker, for example, stores vast databases of every variation of every vehicle available; plus a nationwide database of dealer inventory. The data is continuously uploaded to major search engines. Buyers searching the Internet can then find the exact specification they require, and in just 3 clicks they can place an order, or bid the market with complete anonynimity.
DealMaker provides a Real-time Trading Platform where Buyers and Sellers can buy and sell immediately with no loss of momentum. All bids and offers can be seen by the whole market, so the best deals close first. All terms can be negotiated in the same transaction process, so there are no loose ends. Parties communicate directly to implement delivery, so there are no misunderstandings. The bottom line is that sales can be negotiated and consummated in real time on a virtual showroom with no high pressure sales tactics or misunderstandings to prevent a mutually acceptable transaction.
The low cost and extensive reach of the Internet can create a unique and compelling opportunity to slash the cost of sales which will go directly to the bottom line for auto dealers. Online marketing by manufacturers, dealers, and sales prospecting websites have grown exponentially over the past few years because consumers are looking for a more convenient way to shop for an automobile. Auto dealers have more aged inventory to sell than ever but matching available inventory to consumer demand is still a difficult and time consuming process. DealMaker is the real-time matching engine that turns search results into sales and the ability to accommodate an online transaction can finally be achieved.
Statistically, 80% of new car buyers now use the Internet as their primary source of information when shopping for a new automobile. Additionally, 20% of these buyers declare that they are likely or very likely to buy their next new car online. A further 51% indicate varying degrees of the same. Only 29% say they are not yet ready to buy online. These are reliable conclusions consistent with a number of comprehensive surveys conducted over the past 10 years by some of the world’s largest and most respected automobile industry advisors. It takes very special technology to negotiate sales of automobiles over the Internet, and DealMaker invented it.
Another extremely progressive application, Ai Dealer, allows an online customer to "desk their own deal" after reviewing all of the information they need to make a buying decision. Once the vehicle, price, downpayment, trade value, financing terms and payments are established the customer can make their offer online. If it is accepted by the dealer, they can take delivery at the dealership with little or no need for a salesperson.
NeoSynergy allows a customer to pick a car, make an offer and submit a deposit to hold the vehicle. Linked applications like LeadConverter can establish a dialogue on the virtual showroom that escalates the negotiations, if needed, to a delivery in the real world showroom.
Internet shopping patterns coupled with applications like those above - and many more in development - will allow an online transaction that places the future of the “brick and mortar” dealership at risk. At the very least, its role in the selling process must change as Internet technologies and applied automotive advertising applications mature. Huge investments in real estate, facilities and support staff are hard to justify when a virtual showroom can provide all of the information that a car shopper needs to make a decision for a fraction of the fixed expenses and variable operating costs of a real world auto dealership.
Established wisdoms shared in the auto industry support the need for a real world service center and even a staging area for test drives but the initial shopping experience has already moved online with 85% plus of today’s car shoppers using the internet to first select a vehicle and then select an auto dealer to buy and service it from.
DealMaker.Com, Ai Dealer, Neosynergy and applications like them - present and pending - are introducing cutting edge automotive advertising applications that will allow a virtual showroom to accommodate an online transaction with efficiencies superior to the real world selling process for both the buyer and the seller. The Internet has changed the automotive advertising industry and it is preparing to change the retail auto industry with the ability to replicate proven selling processes online that integrate seamlessly into established real world processes.
The search for an online transaction tool has reached critical mass due to shrinking margins in new and used car sales with increasing costs for auto dealers that are struggling to survive in a down market. Online transaction tools are positioned to take advantage of a clearly defined need in the retail auto industry.
No need to quit your day job as a salesperson or auto dealer just yet, as long as you join the internet and technology revolution as a willing participant. The only constant in the auto industry is change, so get ready to change or get out of the buisiness!