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The Future of Automotive Retail

The Future of Automotive Retail

The retail world is rapidly changing.

The new consumer

Today's buyers are used to instant information and simple transactions. They make purchases with updated information and comparison data to hand and they expect the same when buying a vehicle. Fair comparisons, simple processes and buyer reviews are shaping customer's decisions and retail models need to reflect this.

How do businesses meet the demands and expectations of the new breed of consumers?

Change doesn't come from new technology alone, brands need to make a psychological connection with their customer, making them feel heard and understood. Brand loyalty and future endorsements come from earning a customer's confidence. Brand trust is not a new thing, but in these days of digital transformation it is vital to let customers know that their business is more than just data, algorithms or AI and that there is still a personal connection.

By offering convenience, speed, clear information and transparent pricing plus a high-tech showroom experience, a retailer can offer the customer the complete package; seamlessly combining the online experience with a new and digital dealership experience. Ultimately a positive, memorable customer experience will give OEM's a competitive advantage and should be a priority moving forward.

Disruption

Companies like AutoGravity, Joydrive, Blinker and AutoFi are forcing the large automotive companies to look at every aspect of their retail business from financing to parts. A 2015 study by Accenture said that consumers dislike the process of buying a car ,with three quarters preferring to not enter a dealership at all during the process, so the new disrupters are capitalizing on consumer trends and offering them what they want – financing, price comparison, no paperwork and home delivery as a simple process.

Car as a Service

There is a growing trend of consumers buying services rather than products. The impact of consumerism to the environment and the desire to have experiences rather than own possessions is changing the mood and habits of consumers and is impacting retailers' strategies. Even in the automotive industry, consumers are beginning to lease their vehicles rather than own them.

Amazon Cars

Amazon have been experimenting with the idea of CaaS (Car as a Service) on their Spanish site; a form of digital renting/leasing where you choose the model, set the dates, payments and the car is delivered to your home. This form of renting/leasing cars has the potential to totally disrupt the whole automotive sales industry if it proves successful. Not only are Amazon able to utilise their consumer findings from years of experimenting with Amazon Parts and Accessories and Amazon Vehicles their research tool; they can also utilize their enormous marketing resources.

Amazon Motors has been available in Spain since June 2019 and only offers a limited number of car brands currently. After the first year of renting via Amazon a rental agreement continues with ALD Automotive a Spanish car rental company.

The future of automotive retail is at a crucial point, with consumer trends changing and new retail models emerging and disrupting the industry; a shift in the culture and mindset of traditional selling is vital. Dealers and OEMs need to address their role in a future of autonomous vehicles, car sharing and digital renting and evolve their business to protect and capitalize on the capabilities of the future.

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