To pick the Web Innovation winner – one of the five Ewards categories – the judging panel got together at headline sponsor Autotorq’s HQ and had a good old debate.
The sites the different judges picked were absolutely fascinating and all were real eye-openers as to the leaps in innovation being made online.
But what really got my brain ticking over was a discussion I had with Autotorq’s Clive Jackson and Stewart Niblock while we were tidying up after the judges had gone home.
The subject? Google – and its plans for world domination. OK, so maybe not world domination exactly, more specifically what the search giant’s plans for expansion could mean to car dealers.
Just think about it for a minute. Google enjoys by far and away the lion’s share of search. That means more of your potential buyers are likely to use Google to find you than any other search engine.
If you’re not on Google, you’re not going to be selling many cars any time soon.
However, it’s what’s next for Google that really got me thinking. Clive and Stewart suggested the giant might one day not just want to facilitate consumers’ search, but to offer them the end product too – actually sell the things its users are trying to find.
And when you think about it that makes a lot of sense. Yes, Google currently makes billions from companies paying it to put their firm’s listing at the top.
But what if when a buyer typed ‘Ford Focus’ in it guided that buyer towards its own Car Dealership? Scary, eh? But it goes deeper…
What if Google wanted to start taking a slice of the sales it helps facilitiate too? It helps a car buyer find you, so why can’t it be paid commission like a broker?
This makes even more sense. There are hundreds of brokers putting buyers in touch with sellers every day and this, at its very basic level, is exactly what Google already does – it just doesn’t take a cut. Yet…
The more you think about it the more worrying it becomes. After all, Google revolutionised search and, in a lot of respects, the internet, when it arrived on the scene – what’s not to stop it taking car retailing to the next level too?
Our Eward experts discussed what they thought the future holds for car dealers online at our judging day too and their thoughts will be printed in our next issue (out in December) along with a very exciting launch for Car Dealer…
In the meantime, to find out who won this year’s Ewards, follow this link.