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Time has proven right those sectors of the economy that thought they could be left out of the digital revolution. The automotive sector is in the midst of a digital transformation, a fact that has affected dealers very closely. Today, the distribution network faces the challenge of completely transforming its business model.

Since the Internet came into our lives, the way we buy a car has changed radically. The problem is that the customer profile has changed faster than the sales network. Digitalisation is related to technology, but even more to the consumer.

It is the consumer who uses it and to whom commercial efforts should be directed. The automotive sector is aware of the need to face the transition to the digital world. However, this transformation should not be done as a revolution, but as a gradual, solid and strategic process.

Future Dealer Scenario

The dealer industry is moving towards becoming an integrated link in the brand-customer relationship. A digital relationship whose main function will not be to sell a vehicle, but to provide the customer with a brand experience. As stated in the report The dealer towards digitalisation. Analysis of the digital challenge for dealer networks in Spain, the customer is looking for basic standards in their relationship with dealers that are already in place in other sectors.

However, these standards hardly exist in vehicle sales networks. The challenge is to define the added value to be provided to the customer. In other words, how the customer benefits from going to the dealership rather than buying his new car at the click of a button on the computer. This is a profound transformation, not just a change of commercial mindset.

Manufacturers will sell their vehicles directly, shifting the business model from dealers to an agency model. Thanks to these new contracts, dealers will have the opportunity to better meet the needs and attention of customers while maintaining their level of profitability. They will not manage prices, stocks or vehicle ownership; they will derive their profits from other services, such as after-sales.

Implications of the change of business model

The change in the business model is one of the main concerns of dealers. There are constraints and large investments that do not allow for drastic transformations. For this reason, dealers will have to gradually adapt to the new rules of the game to ensure their continuity as a fundamental link in the chain. Fortunately, brands are aware that dealers are their best ally and their main customer.

Gradually, the dealer network will evolve and this change will be faster and more pronounced in urban areas. The number and size of dealerships will decrease and they will be closer to the customer, becoming technology-rich experience centres. The key will be to square an equation that includes investment and profitability.

Facilities will be smaller and divided according to location. They will also be designed more specifically for their intended purpose (workshops, after-sales customer service, sales of mobility services, second-hand vehicle sales, etc.).

How the sector should prepare

The technological, economic and cultural changes that the automotive sector is undergoing are challenging dealerships. Facilities and sales staff must focus on providing the best customer experience.

  • With the agency model, information and product knowledge must be provided, an environment free of high-pressure sales techniques must be created and the test drive must be taken care of. The different elements on which the dealer will have to act and make decisions can be grouped into four blocks:
  • Technology and tools, relying on technological solutions that make it possible, on the one hand, to provide the customer with a differential and coherent experience throughout the entire relationship with the brand; and on the other, to make decisions based on correct, quality information at the right time.
  • Human capabilities, incorporating new digital skills in human teams. These can be grouped into four blocks: NET, TECH, DATA and PEOPLE.

The facilities and distribution of the network will change. Dealerships will no longer be designed to close a sales process. They will promote the customer’s experience with the brand and the product, requiring a large investment in technology.
The relationship between dealers and the brand will change. It will be much more open, collaborative and based on shared, quality information management. Pricing and incentive policies will also be revised and will be related to parameters other than the number of vehicles sold.

iDocCar is the best ally for dealer digitisation

As we have seen, the digitisation of dealerships will require large investments in technology, as well as the unification of all processes in a single platform. In this sense, iDocCar’s digital process management allows you to control the entire process with maximum security and effectiveness, allowing brands to adapt to changes in an agile way.

The iDocCar tool is a SaaS (Software as a Service) solution, so it is marketed on a pay-per-use basis. You don’t need to make large investments, you pay per managed file. In addition, it includes information storage in the cloud. You can optimise, standardise, digitise and store all the processes associated with the vehicle’s service life to increase efficiency, eliminate manual errors and avoid document loss.

iDocCar also includes unlimited users and is compatible with the main document managers on the market. In this way, all teams and members involved in the process have access to the cloud, with connection from any device. In short, it allows you to streamline all processes and represents a significant saving in time and direct and indirect costs.

The future is digital. Digitalisation is going to impact all areas of our lives and our relationship with others. The automotive sector and dealerships will be no exception, so what better way to deal with it than with software adapted to your needs?