advertising feature of key loop
Attributed To: Jacqui Barker, OEM Director, Global (Partnerships Team)
The latest buzzword sweep (as buzzwords often do) in the auto industry is the “agency model.” As is the wish with trends, it portends significant changes, but it’s harder to pin down exactly what those changes are and how retailers need to flex and adapt. While there are many types of agency models, the consistent theme across all is that distributors will need to move into a more experiential and “agent” role to help facilitate sales. While the agency model has been the subject of much discussion and debate, there are certainly advantages to the distributor, whether it be the potential reduction of distribution costs, allowing distributors to focus on what they do best : providing exceptional customer service, or enabling more effective omnichannel operations.
However, before dealerships switch to this new model, there are some important factors to consider.
1. Beware of customer expectations when transitioning
Other retail experiences have conditioned the customer to believe that any shopping trip will be an ongoing process, whether buying groceries or buying a car.
When buying a car, customers want to have fun and enjoy the process. They want to spend as much or as little time at the dealership as is convenient for them, they don’t want to negotiate the price or participate in complex transactional processes. Distributors must listen to their customers to understand what works best for them and meet those expectations in the most personalized and transparent way possible. The agency model, and its move to turn dealerships into centers of expertise, will allow retailers to redouble their efforts in those areas where they best add value to the car buying journey: customer service and delivery.
2. Create an optimized customer journey
Dealers need to remember that most customers only see one ‘brand’ when buying a car or requesting service, even if it involves multiple vendors or moves between online and offline interactions. So it’s important to make sure the journey is streamlined to meet customer expectations at every touch point. Brands and retailers need to connect their individual customer data points to create a customer-centric journey.
key loop is especially well positioned to flex its technology and connect the dots, delivering a truly comprehensive omnichannel approach throughout the car buying journey, from the point of discovery to the moment of delivery and beyond.
3. Identify where and how you can maximize revenue
Car dealerships make less money on new cars, and the aftermarket value of an electric vehicle is half the value of other vehicles, so retailers will need to be strategic to maximize all areas of their sales experience.
The key to turning these challenges into opportunities lies in how manufacturers and retailers seek to approach change. Those who take a holistic approach and focus on consistent customer service across all brand touch points should achieve greater efficiency and more streamlined processes. Not only does it improve the customer experience, but it creates greater loyalty, leading customers to return to take advantage of post-sale opportunities.
The agency model presents an incredible opportunity to transform the way the automotive industry interacts with its customers. By providing buyers with a smoother and more consistent buying and post-sale process, dealers will reduce their business risk and OEMs will benefit from greater awareness of customer needs.
Company contact details: