According to the Q1 2018 Cox Automotive Dealer Sentiment Index (CADSI) , U.S. automobile dealers generally expect tax reform to boost their profitability and provide more disposable income for their customers. The majority of auto dealers expect President Trump’s recent tax reform legislation to have a positive impact on their business’s profitability over the next three months.
Cars.com Cars Social
Cars.com announced the launch of Cars Social, a new digital ad product that will help dealers attract more quality customers through social media. In addition, Cars.com indicated that at the 2018 National Automobile Dealers Association will make available to its customers Conversations™, the first integrated Dealer Inspire product since the recent acquisition.
The Conversations platform, which was developed by Dealer Inspire to connect consumers with dealers, will now be integrated with Cars.com through a Conversations Starter™ package. All new incoming chats will be answered by an AI chatbot named “Ana.” Ana saves dealerships time by greeting shoppers, answering their most frequently asked questions and even scheduling appointments. Whenever she is unsure how to answer a question, Ana instantly and politely transfers the customer to the dealership’s team or DI’s Managed Chat Call Center to expand on the response and capture the customer’s information for the dealer.
LoJack Next Gen for Dealers
LoJack, a wholly-owned subsidiary of CalAmp and a leader in stolen vehicle recovery (SVR) and innovative automotive services, announced next-generation consumer telematics solutions. Through a combination of CalAmp core telematics services and peerless LoJack SVR technology, the LoJack brand is expanding across the U.S., making SVR and enhanced telematics services including CrashBoxx alerts available nationwide. These new connected vehicle services will enable dealers to realize additional revenue streams through this next-generation LoJack telematics bundle with safety and security features to expedite crash response and help save lives all across the country.
DealerSocket, a leading provider of technology solutions for the automotive retail industry, today announced a number of improvements for its automotive retail technologies, including dealership CRM, sales, inventory and pricing. These are on display at the 2018 National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) Convention & Expo.
DealerSocket retail technology announcements include:
AutoHook Integrates SMS
AutoHook, the automotive industry’s frontrunner in driving proven, incremental showroom traffic to dealerships, has taken their private test drive incentive offers to the next level by integrating direct SMS delivery into their incentive redemption process.
AutoHook’s latest initiative will significantly improve deliverability rates of test drive offers to online vehicle shoppers. Their ability to successfully send redemption codes via text message will help dealers reach already-engaged customers on a much broader, faster and more reliable channel than email delivery alone.
A text message containing a unique coupon code will be sent to a customer’s mobile phone after they elect to receive a reward via AutoHook’s incentive lead form, redeemable only by visiting a participating dealership’s showroom. Incentive lead form overlays appear throughout several channels across the web including both mobile and desktop dealer websites, third party lead sites, manufacturer sites, social channels and more.
Direct to mobile delivery enables dealers to provide a faster, more convenient way for their customers to redeem test drive rewards in their showroom. Once the customer receives their reward code, they can then send it directly to their Apple Wallet or Google Pay for instant access upon arrival at the dealership.
Naked Lime Data Marketing
Naked Lime Marketing (NLM) is demonstrating its array of data-driven marketing services at the annual National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) Show.
Inventory Management is the company’s second software release in the past six months for their next-generation platform. The web-based solution boasts vehicle appraisal, inventory pricing, and marketing and merchandising functionality. It allows dealers to pull real-time auction data and book values directly into the DMS.
Autosoft’s new platform currently incorporates Sales and F&I, Inventory Management, Bookout, collaboration tools, customer and vehicle records, dashboard and configurable reporting, mobile access, and a full customer knowledge center. Autosoft continues to develop the accounting, service, parts, and CRM components with expectations to release these new applications in close succession over the next couple of years.
AutoSoft DMS Could-Based
Autosoft, a leading national DMS provider, is showcasing their next generation cloud-based dealer management system and Inventory Management solution.
Kelley Blue Book Trusted Advisor Program
Car buyers are shopping around less, report being less satisfied with the price paid for a vehicle, and less often trust that the dealership gave them the best deal, according to the 2018 Cox Automotive Car Buyer Journey Study. To help alleviate these pain points on both sides of the transaction, Kelley Blue Book announced the launch of its new Trusted Advisor Program, which, from online to in-showroom, streamlines the vehicle trade-in and purchase process delivering the fast, easy and more enjoyable experience dealers and consumers deserve.
The new Kelley Blue Book Trusted Advisor Program educates both dealers and car shoppers through a full-suite integration across digital and print marketing platforms, including:
- Dealer Differentiator callouts to set participating dealers classified listings apart on KBB.com and Autotrader.
- Marketing capabilities to announce and support dealers participating in the program in both online and offline advertising communications, in addition to a Marketing Assets Web Portal to support dealers advertising and marketing needs.
- Displaying the Kelley Blue Book® Price Advisor and KBB.com Ratings, Reviews and Award content directly on the dealership’s website, providing pricing context and transparency, and to enable more site engagement.
- A choice of Kelley Blue Book solutions which include the Kelley Blue Book® LeadDriver, providing a quick view of trade-in valuations while capturing leads, and/or Kelley Blue BookSM Instant Cash Offer, generating actual offers for vehicles.
- Inventory Pricing Analysis Reports to help dealers understand where dealers are pricing their vehicles compared to the Kelley Blue Book® Fair Market Range.
- The online and printable Kelley Blue Book Price Advisor Report with comprehensive information about vehicles and specific dealer information, to help build consumer trust and confidence in dealers’ vehicles, their dealership and the price point of their vehicles.
- Comprehensive training, plus ongoing support, from an Implementation Consultant to help dealers gain full benefit from the Trusted Advisor Program and to help enhance the dealership’s business, in the short and long term.
The new Trusted Advisor Program is replacing the Kelley Blue Book Price Advisor Participating Dealer Program. It is now available at different levels of entry based on the dealership’s needs, including Lite, Plus and Premier packages, all with different levels of integration.
American Guardian Warranty Services
American Guardian Warranty Services, Inc. (AGWS), part of the American Guardian Group of Companies and leading F&I products and services provider, is exhibiting in the North Hall of the Las Vegas Convention Center at the upcoming NADA Show, March 23 – 25, at booth #513N.
Conference attendees who visit the AGWS booth can step onto the court and take a shot to win basketball themed prizes. Dealers and agents will have an opportunity to shoot for a chance to win a Grand Prize Trip for two to San Antonio and tickets to “The Big Game” on Monday, April 2, 2018
In addition to the booth giveaways, AGWS will also feature a charity Pop-A-Shot® contest for St. Jude Children’s Hospital, in which attendees can test their basketball skills. For each player who makes six straight baskets in a row, AGWS will donate $100 to St. Jude Children’s Hospital. The charity Pop-A-Shot contest follows AGWS’ recent Pars for a Purpose fundraiser, which raised $280,000 for St. Jude Children’s Hospital in February 2018.
“American Guardian partners with dealers and agents to provide outstanding coverage, value, and service to its customers. NADA 2018 will be our most impressive showing yet, given our new offerings, expanded product line-up, and innovations in the industry,” said Jon A. Anderson, President and COO of American Guardian. “We look forward to seeing our partners and customers, and establishing new business relationships at this year’s show.”
The executive team, sales, and ownership will be in attendance at the AGWS booth (#513N) throughout the three-day expo, as well as the company’s Friday and Saturday night parties where they will be available to discuss any of the company’s services and offerings. Extended service contracts, appearance protection, warranty protection, and tire & wheel coverage are just some of the products that American Guardian offers. The company also provides reinsurance services, capital advance programs, and e-Contracting for products to help dealers become more profitable and productive.
Dealer.com New Products
Dealer.com introduces several new and enhanced products at NADA 2018, adding to its connected platform of award-winning Websites, Digital Retailing, Advertising and Managed Services.
Dealer.com websites deliver unmatched mobile and desktop flexibility, personalized shopping and buying, comprehensive vehicle merchandising, and groundbreaking connectivity with Autotrader, Kelley Blue Book and other Cox Automotive solutions. This unrivaled combination transcends traditional website limitations, allowing dealers to optimize every aspect of their website strategy.
A2Z Sync is a software solution as innovative as it is intuitive. NADA attendees have been signing up online for one-on-one private demonstrations of A2Z or to attend one of the scheduled general sessions.
A2Z Sync is a proven solution with implementations at some of America’s leading dealerships including Schomp Automotive Group, the largest dealer currently using A2Z Sync. With 75 years in the industry, Schomp was prepared to take the sales process into the future and has processed over 30,000 transactions while boosting profitability.
Open Dealer Exchange & RouteOne
Open Dealer Exchange and RouteOne announced a strategic alliance that brings together industry-leading organizations to provide streamlined solutions to their partners CDK Global and Reynolds and Reynolds that bridge the gaps, open the entire lender network and streamline dealers’ processes for providing financing and aftermarket protection products to car shoppers. As a result, vehicle shoppers will experience a more robust online and in-store sales process and spend significantly less time in the dealership Finance & Insurance (F&I) office when buying or leasing a vehicle.
Highlights of the alliance include:
- Dealers can offer a seamless, end-to-end consumer purchase experience across channels, opening the door for eContracting to become the standard practice for automotive retail transactions.
- Enables a single, digital eSigning ceremony using dealers’ existing technology investments, dramatically improving the car buying experience for consumers.
- Eliminates cumbersome integration and toggling between disparate systems.
- Deal speed and accuracy will dramatically improve, reducing held offerings and contracts in transit.
- Lenders, aftermarket and financial technology providers have a new option for fast, accurate transactions
- OEMs can benefit from the efficiencies of the alliance to work with dealers to create branded shopping experiences
AutoAlert, automotive’s leading data and predictive-analytics platform, unveils the industry’s first Consumer Experience Management (CXM) Platform.
Combining its suite of Data Mining, Social Media, Messaging, CRM, and Reputation Management software solutions, AutoAlert has created a proprietary, big data platform, to draw insights about customers’ purchasing habits, and predict their next vehicle purchase. AutoAlert now provides something that was missing — action.
The newly developed Pando communication platform, along with its CRM-like process engine, was the missing link in making big data actionable for dealerships and OEMs looking to appeal to the needs of the modern shopper. It is this addition to the AutoAlert suite of products that creates the industry’s first Consumer Experience Management (CXM) Platform.
Today’s consumers are expecting a personalized experience, both online and in the brick-and-mortar space, and this integration finally provides dealers with the actionable insights found in big data to make this experience possible.
AutoAlert’s CXM Advanced Algorithms aren’t limited to the data insights found within their internal platform. Using a dynamic open API, they already have integrations with major CRMs and DMSs in the space, and all automotive software companies are welcome.
DealerRater Salesperson Connect Update
DealerRater, the world’s leading dealer review website, announced an enhancement to Salesperson Connect that makes it possible for shoppers to review comprehensive profiles of a dealer’s salespeople, such as their biographies and the 25 most recent reviews, as well as email salespersons directly from the Cars.com site before they arrive at the dealership.
According to DealerRater, shoppers who use Salesperson Connect to choose a salesperson based on their reviews have an 89 percent higher closing rate, and their time to close improves by 15 percent.1 In addition, according to a new DealerRater study of customer reviews, the personal performance of a dealership’s employees, including its salespeople, is crucial to a dealer earning a 5-star review from customers.
The research found that car buyers consider the following two factors as most important to inspiring a 5-star review:
- VIP experience from a dealer’s people. More than 41 percent of reviews single out the ability of a dealer’s employees to provide a great customer experience as vital. A superior buying experience is important, but more critical to consumers is great service overall, including an excellent fixed ops department.2
- Personable pros on the show floor. More than 19 percent of reviews prove that an approachable, knowledgeable and professional staff is important. Being “friendly” and and “having a sense of humor” are frequent themes in positive reviews.
The latest enhancement to Salesperson Connect, which features Employee Profile Pages on Cars.com, creates a more personalized shopping experience for consumers and makes it easy for them to connect with dealer personnel who provide a great customer experience. Consumers will be able to read reviews and background information on each employee and select who they wish to work with well before they arrive on the lot. The upgrades also allow consumers to connect with individual employees via email.
Dealer Inspire Voice Search & Metal
Dealer Inspire (DI) is a technology company that has revolutionized the online car shopping experience through digital solutions that future-proof dealerships for changing consumer behaviors. At the 2018 National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) Show Expo will launch two new digital solutions: Website Voice Search, which allows users to use only their voice to navigate search results on a dealer’s website, and Metal, a next generation vehicle inventory management tool.
The new Website Voice Search capability allows users to find what they are looking for instantly, without ever having to enter a single letter of text on their screen.
Metal is DI’s new Inventory Management System (IMS) that enables automotive retailers to modernize their dealerships across multiple services and platforms. Designed mobile- and tablet-first, Metal℠ allows car dealers to quickly and easily manipulate their vehicle inventory so the changes appear on their Dealer Inspire website in real time with API synchronization. From easy-to-implement pricing rules to the ability to upload hi-res inventory pictures, Metal℠ offers a full-suite of features that revolutionize inventory management.
Due to the recent acquisition by Cars.com, Conversations will now be integrated with the leading third party digital automotive marketplace. The move allows dealers to receive chat leads from their Cars.com inventory (at no additional cost for select dealers).
NADA 2018 attendees can visit the Dealer Inspire booth #4492C to demo products, meet the team, and get ready to disrupt their marke
AMT OEM CPO
AutoMobile Technologies, Inc. (AMT) announces it has added multiple OEM Certified Pre-Owned Inspection Checklists to their online forms library. CPO forms for Ford, Lincoln, Mazda, and Honda are available to users of InspectionNotes™, a mobile inspection app developed for inspections and vehicle condition reports to be performed on a tablet or smartphone. Inspectors perform a multi-point inspection, record answers to questions on a mobile device, and transmit responses to a cloud-based dashboard or via API to websites and third-party software systems. An Inspector can add pictures, video, and digital signatures as part of the inspection process, and print inspection forms on-the-spot or emailed as PDF’s. Additionally, users can configure responses within the form to trigger additional steps as needed. InspectionNotes contains common OEM inspection forms plus a custom online forms builder for users to identically match any paper inspection forms they are using. InspectionNotes also enforces a consistent process to ensure all information is collected accurately every time and maintained in history.
Dealers looking for better online search results need to look no further as a result of Manheim’s launch of the automotive industry’s first intelligent search for wholesale inventory on OVE. This capability will reduce search time and deliver more accurate and personalized search results to clients using OVE, a digital channel within the Manheim Marketplace, a first-of-its-kind, omni-channel experience.
With around-the-clock access to the world’s largest digital inventory, OVE is the one place to search more than 100,000 vehicles daily from commercial and dealer inventory, independent auctions and Manheim. In addition to seeing adjusted Manheim Market Report (MMR) pricing, clients can access condition reports, post-sale inspections and other assurance products on OVE to boost buyer and seller trust and confidence in online transactions.
Clearlane, Ally’s online auto financing platform, today announced the development of Clearmatch, a digital service that will allow customers to be approved for financing on vehicles in dealer inventories. With Clearmatch, shoppers will get pre-qualified for financing online and then be able to browse the inventory at dealerships participating in the program to find a vehicle in their price range. Once customers select a vehicle, they will be able to get approved for financing digitally.
Clearlane is launching a pilot of the new service, which will allow dealers to present their inventory and pricing online, and lets customers select vehicles in real-time from dealer inventories and apply for financing online. Clearmatch will be rolled out to dealers on a regional basis starting in late April.