J.D. Power Auto Summit: Tech can help put people first

Modern retailers must put people first and keep customer needs first, and technology tools help store managers achieve that goal.

The panelists speaking at the JD Power Auto Summit in Dallas on Thursday concluded: A group of industry experts and insiders said dealers, automakers and vendors need to think about what the term “modern retail” really means.

“Many people will say [modern retailing is] said Brian Reed, CEO of Digital Auto Advisors and partner at Georgia-based venture capital firm Automotive Ventures.

But it goes beyond that.

“We are thinking of modern retail [to be] It’s not just what’s happening online, it’s the whole process,” says Reid.

Ron Frey, an Oregon consultant and former executive at CDK Global and AutoNation, said digital retail platforms are useful tools, but retailers often feel they’ve completed modernization once the technology is operational. says.

“Our industry often does it with checkboxes. [situation]They say, ‘Now I’m a digital retailer,'” Frey said. “Modern retail is more macro-environmental. Where are the consumers today? How have consumer perceptions and patterns and how they approach purchasing changed?”

When “modern” was simple

Kirk Preiser, director of retail buying experience at Audi of America, says modern retail is a constantly evolving concept.

“I’ve been in modern retail for 30 years,” says Preiser. “In the 90s, modern retail for me was working with dealers to launch websites.”

It evolved in the early 2000s to focus on price innovation, followed by the age of digitalization and the pursuit of omnichannel strategies, he said.

Omnichannel refers to technologies and processes aimed at providing a seamless buying experience, whether consumers shop online, in-store, or both.

Instead of imposing mandates, automakers should work with dealers to listen to what their particular customer base needs, Preiser said.

“Most of my team has retail experience, but that’s intentional,” says Preiser. “It’s important to have people sitting in those chairs so that we can actually see [things] through the eyes of the dealer. We have a working group to build that collaboration. ”

Can you solve it?

Phil Battista, president of dealer technology and head of modern retail at JD Power, said automakers and retailers have differing opinions on what modern retail is, and they want consumers to have a seamless experience. I suggested that the concept of providing a is not yet fully resolved. how and where the technology is most used;

“What we want to do is not push consumers down a particular path,” said Batista, who moderated the panel. “We want to give consumers choice.”

But what do consumers really want and need?

Justin Oesterle, CEO of Michigan-based credit application management software company RouteOne, says it’s an ever-changing phenomenon.

“Meeting customer expectations where they are sitting right now is how I define it,” says Oesterle. “When you look at the state of the art technology in 2010, it looks dated now, but it wasn’t that long ago.”

Ultimately, it comes down to creating a truly collaborative omnichannel approach across all parts of the dealer ecosystem, says Andy Park, CEO of Georgia digital retailer CarNow.

“It’s absolutely critical to work on an omnichannel experience and make it successful,” Park said.

And to build something that works, he said, the input of all parties is important.

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