Challenges of future retailing

12 June 2012 #SMMT News

Ensuring that your staff are product experts and you’re not restricting your business activity to the showroom will be central to the success of the successful dealership model of the future.

This was the conclusion of a panel of industry experts at the SMMT International Automotive Summit, chaired by Darren Ponsford of Magma Group. He was joined by Joe Doyle, CEO of HR Owen, Kal Gyimesi of IBM’s Institute for Business Value and Charles Peugeot, Sales Director at Citroën UK.

Discussion focused on how the retail journey has evolved across all industries, how consumers are far more demanding and that, with consumers of all demographics researching product online before visiting a dealership to make a purchase, how it can be increasingly difficult to differentiate yourself from competitors.

The conclusion of the panel, however, was that it is important to concentrate on doing the basics well – delivering a sophisticated, personalised service from dealership staff who are as informed on product as the customer. After all, it’s no good if the person walking through the showroom door knows more about a car than your sales staff from having discussed models extensively with other motorists on online forums.

As both Joe Doyle and Kal Gyimesi stressed, the opinion of potential customers is, more than ever, being formed by third parties and it is crucial to get out of the showroom to reach customers; not just by taking product to where your customer-base works and plays but by putting in place a structured online engagement and monitoring system, using cloud-based CRM tools, for example, to consolidate customer databases and back up your social media efforts to ensure maximum return.

Click through for more news from the 2012 SMMT International Automotive Summit.


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