As we all try to recover from a crippling recession many companies big and small are looking at information technology to help drive the next wave of growth.
With only a modest upturn in domestic demand this year, most companies are seeking to consolidate cost savings while exploiting growth opportunities. For car dealers, the real question is ‘how can technology deliver value to our company?’.
Apple state that ‘700,000 Mac Book Airs are expected to sell in the forthcoming holiday season along with 500,000 iPhone 4s and one million iPads,’ therefore the retail economy, more specifically the technology sector, is hopeful in receiving some positive Christmas sales. However, can this be used as a benchmark for the automotive industry? IT delivers innovation by embracing mobility; increasing access, reach and communication among companies and consumers.
Peter Sondergaard, senior vice-president of research at Gartner claims that ‘information has become the new gold or oil of the 21st century. Technology plays a pivotal role, not just increasing operational excellence and the performance of an enterprise; IT will assist in driving the revenue and value of the company’.
However, most companies spend 75-80 per cent of their IT budget on the people employed to manage technology. Ideally this should be cut to 50 per cent with the other half being put to good use in driving applications.
Dealers need technology to run their business and market their cars online. A report by internet world stats showed that those who intend to buy a car in the next 12 months are 90 per cent more likely to go online during the car purchasing process.
This proves technology is moving at such a pace that dealers need to absorb it faster to meet demands of the ever-evolving customer.
By utilising the full range of technology available today dealers can put themselves in the driving seat as traditional forms of media fall by the wayside.
Thanks to the likes of social networking, search engine marketing, behavioural targeting and other online strategies, creating an integrated and embedded viral position in the market is a dealer’s way of reaching a wider audience and becoming far more efficient and effective in their business strategy.
As seven in 10 UK car buyers use a search engine to locate automotive websites and two in five visits to dealerships come from search engines, the internet is clearly the perfect partner for the industry and can facilitate every point of the online customer journey and buyer cycle.
According to the Internet Advertising Bureau, the automotive industry is now the second largest spender online accounting for 12.9 per cent of the total market.
Some 85 per cent of internet users with an interest in the automotive sector also access consumer generated content or sites while shopping for a vehicle, proving that technology is an incremental asset to a business and a growing channel which dealers need to understand and embrace fully.