Changing the motor retail mindset from ‘traditional’ to ‘pioneering’

It’s clear that today’s car market has become increasingly complex and challenging, but recent research provides a fascinating insight into how dealers are responding to these changing market conditions.

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Few dealers would argue that the automotive retail sector is rapidly evolving, be this from the way that consumers research and finance their next car, to the vehicles themselves. Combine this to a blend of external factors, such as Brexit and changes to Vehicle Excise Duty and it is clear that today’s car market has become increasingly complex and challenging.

A recent research paper by Auto Trader has provided a fascinating insight into how dealers are responding to these changing market conditions, both in terms of macro and micro influences. The study has revealed a number of trends, the most significant of which is a deep division in terms of attitude between the best performing and the less successful. The top performers were found to share a ‘pioneering’ approach, whilst the less successful approached business from a ‘traditional’ retail perspective.

Taking these macro changes into account, any dealer that is operating today can be considered successful. However, despite these challenging macro conditions, the report found that many businesses from across the franchise, car supermarket and independent sectors were flourishing.

The research was based on a series of in-depth interviews with around 70 dealers and revealed a number of important trends, most notably a deep attitudinal division between the best performing dealers and the less successful. All retailers were having to adapt to ever changing market conditions, but the study also found that the more successful dealers approached their business with a ‘pioneering’ mind-set. In essence, the more successful retailers are embracing the changes within the market and take the optimistic view that these changes present an opportunity to evolve their business. These dealers were found to take a more entrepreneurial and flexible business approach and were open-minded to new views and practices from outside the motor industry in sectors such as high street and online retail. The ‘traditional’ dealer mind-set, on the other hand, was found to generally consider change is a more negative way. The study showed that the less successful dealers were falling into this group, with some looking back rather than forward to a bright future.

Autoglym’s LifeShine vehicle protection system can add real value to dealers, supporting their pioneering ambitions by helping generate additional revenue at the point of sale through a compelling customer proposition.

Furthermore, three-quarters of dealers considered to be successful in terms of their financial performance had a positive outlook for the year ahead, considerably more than over half of those deemed to be their less successful counterparts. In addition, one fifth of the less successful performers were already planning an exit strategy in the longer term.

Beyond the commercial outlook that separates the pioneers and traditionalists, the management approach and areas of focus taken by the two groups was found to vary considerably. Those in the less successful portion placed great emphasis on their sales ability and customer service, whereas the stronger performers also possessed wider-ranging strengths, such as marketing, a forecourt strategy, stock management and financing.

The Auto Trader research findings clearly demonstrate that in order for dealers to meet the challenges of the constantly changing motor industry and ever-increasing customer service expectations, a more pioneering and bolder approach to business is required. In the round, motor retailers that are adopting this mindset, are selling more new and used cars, more quickly and more profitably. This ultimately creates more capital to invest in marketing channels, training and development and forecourt enhancements, all of which contributes towards growing the customer base and the lifeblood of the business.

Taking a pioneering approach towards achieving success demands a commitment to change throughout an organisation. However, it has become evident that dealers unwilling to make this commitment risk being left behind. Although implementing change is seldom straightforward, there are also steps that all dealers can take. Securing incremental business on every new and used car sold provides a good example, providing dealers with marginal gains that combine to produce a valuable revenue stream. This is where Autoglym’s LifeShine Vehicle Protection System can add real value to dealers, supporting their pioneering ambitions by helping generate additional revenue at the point of sale through a compelling customer proposition from a highly regarded and recognised brand.

To discover more about how LifeShine can boost your business, please call 01462 677766 or email lifeshine@autoglym.com.

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