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6 Technologies That Will Change The Retail Automotive Market

LAS VEGAS, NV - JANUARY 8: A man looks over a ...

Image by Getty Images via Daylife

I always enjoy ringing in the new year – the thought of working with a fresh slate to create bigger and better things is both refreshing and exciting. I’m curious to see how the newest technologies adapt to become viable solutions and strategies for progressive companies and individuals.
Here’s my list of the technologies with incredible potential for creating new solutions for automotive consumers and professionals in 2010.

1. Real time Search: Google and Bing are squaring off in the first round of real time search results by providing real time results from the likes of Twitter and Facebook. While we don’t see these results in the same format as regular search results now, this will move from being a silo to being a primary search result visual. Search Engines such as Topsy will help the competition ramp up improved methods of displaying real time results from relevant and influential sources; other players in this space: Collecta and OneRiot.

2. Geolocation Services: It will become increasingly easy to engage with prospects and customers with the advent of GPS style functions within mobile phones, social channels and smart phone apps which harness geolocation capabilities. Geolocation API’s will increase the ability to communicate with consumers; your own creativity is the limitation. For example, Whrrl’s Merchant Program is a simple way to extend your online footprint and offer an incentive for consumers to visit & engage them with new discount/promotional ideas.

3. Mobile Video: Video has become a standard for the automotive segment within websites – mobile video will be a new frontier. Smart phone video usage will continue to explode as it becomes easier to stream from your phone – and to users phones. Network expansion from 3G to 4G and Google’s entry into the spectrum will open up new creative possibilities. The first step was gaining mobile acceptance and basic usage. Nine million users accessed their Facebook account via their mobile phone in 2008; that number exploded to 88 million in 2009. Huge opportunity for mobile video in 2010.

4. HTML5: The newest version of HTML will host a suite of user features and benefits that improve online experiences. Rich applications (video & animation) will be easier to integrate as Flash and Silverlight won’t be as heavily relied upon. The goal is to create simple user experiences which function like a desktop application and also allows next-gen features such as offline data support and drag and drop capabilities. Hopefully more automotive web developers will recognize the opportunity this presents to provide dealers and their visitors more memorable and effective experiences.

5. Social Centralization: This is my term for the direction of car dealer social networks and the value added services they will provide automotive professionals. Dealer network sites will evolve into centralized destinations that provide more than blog posts and discussions. As user acceptance and awareness increases, greater value will be driven by segment specific research, access to video libraries and vendor ratings. I see the culmination being the eventual cross-pollination of content and resources from major industry brands into their own specific communities. I also see the user gaining greater access to this content, whether they act as a contributor or a reader, via simpler access points such as smart phone apps.

6. Social CRM: The entire CRM segment will be shaken up in 2010. Old systems dealers have been subjected will be turned upside down with the advent of more web based systems. The biggest changes could also come from the integration of the social channels to these systems to help improve and monitor customer communications. Major CRM solutions have already made this leap; I’m confident these solutions will make their way into the newest CRM tools being rolled out. I wouldn’t be shocked if an open source DMS-CRM solution sprouted up. Salesforce.com is adding a new data tool to their offering called Chatter. Other companies such as Yammer have rolled out creative solutions which mesh internal and external communication efforts.

We’re experiencing another round of significant changes in the automotive markets. Improvements in the retail process, customer service and online user experience will continue to move at break neck speeds in 2010 and aren’t limited to the above list; they’re certainly not limited to simply technological solutions – these are simply tools to help make the improvements easier to achieve. The biggest change will undoubtedly come from how the professionals in our market react to the needs of the automotive consumer and work towards creating a better overall customer experience.

The automotive retail change movement has already begun, how will you become a part of the solution?

Original post republished from the DrivingSales.com Dealership Innovation Guide


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Tags: Bing, Collecta, Facebook, Google, OneRiot, Salesforce.com, Topsy, Twitter

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Comment by Eric Miltsch on February 4, 2010 at 9:58pm
@Matt -

I don't see HTML5 being the Gold Standard in '10 - but I do see it ramping up quicker than anticipated as updated browser versions continue to expand their capabilities while even more reduce/eliminate their support of IE6 just as quick. IE: Google shuts off their support of IE6 in March w/Google Docs & Google Sites.

And in all likelihood, as newer ideas crop up to adapt to HTML5, a new wave of technology may beat it to the punch...especially as the slate PC movement emerges as the new tech giant on the block.

I'm not too concerned with the actual technology - something cool will always be there. I'm intrigued at the solutions these platforms afford us, as an industry, to provide consumers.
Comment by Matt Watson on February 4, 2010 at 9:36pm
HTML5 has some nice enhancements but it will take 5-10 years probably to get everyone using a browser that supports it. For example, IE6 is almost 9 years old and is still heavily used... HTML5 still isn't 100% available in the newest browsers today. The W3C hasn't even finalized all the standards for HTML5. It is in its infancy.

Javascript/DHTML/jQuery/AJAX, Flash and Silverlight will be the technology of choice for the next few years.
Comment by Keith Shetterly on February 4, 2010 at 8:13pm
Ralph, I like hearing that! I think everyone at ADP should be as well-founded on what you're doing in this area.
Comment by Ralph Paglia on February 4, 2010 at 7:04pm
@Keith and Eric,

Myself, Brian Garofolo and several of his programming colleagues have been working on a new "from the ground up" BuzzTrack Lead Management tool for 10 months now... We have made considerable progress on the creation, programming and integration of Social CRM communication features. Our use of Facebook Connect, Twitter and other Social App based messaging is designed to eliminate the need to use email when the user is a friend, follower, Fan, Connection or similarly connected status. The majority of our team understands that the email based "Lead Submission - Dealer Response" process of the 80's is gone...
Comment by Eric Miltsch on February 4, 2010 at 1:39pm
Interesting...Thanks for the feedback; I was only interested in the supporting aarguments - but since you offered - look for my email!

Thanks,

Eric
Comment by Keith Shetterly on February 4, 2010 at 1:28pm
Sure. If you email me, I'll tell you who they were (try not to disparage vendors here publically).

The two biggest who were in here recently said some similar things, and a few different.

They both were confused when I first spoke to them because they thougth I meant management of the facebook, twitter, etc. accounts. Like they were going to do a MySpace layout for me and such. Not that that wouldn't be interesting, but my point was about how to handle the inbound marketing.

The biggest one told me that CRMs were a loss leader and not worth the effort to put into them, and development for Social Media CRM was not worth it.

The other one (still big) told me a month ago that they'd take care of all my SM needs with their digital marketing products. "Really?" I replied. "What can you do to help me tweet to my customers and put that in the customer records just like my email blasts are done today? What can you do to handle an inbound facebook or blog comment that I'd like to keep a record of? What can you do to help me keep track of what **I** have tweeted, fbook'd, etc. as so that I can measure ROI on those marketing efforts?"

I believe wholeheartedly that they hadn't considered all that until I asked it. Neither of them.
Comment by Eric Miltsch on February 4, 2010 at 1:16pm
@Keith - Interested in hearing their reason(s) for stating why CRM's have no place in the SM space...
Comment by Keith Shetterly on February 4, 2010 at 11:42am
How funny that Another Big Automotive Player was just in here this week telling me (like so many other folks) that CRMs have no place in Social Media. I know one or two who will be making that leap, and anyone in the CRM space NOT doing that (Automotive CRM or not) is soon roadkill on the infobahn.

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