Covid-19 has brought the global economy to its knees. During these unprecedented times, it’s normal to feel angst fearing the unknown. For most businesses, it’s top of mind. One of the hardest affected is the Automotive Industry. An industry that has been one of the pillars and foundations for most countries’ economies. When we emerge from this crisis with a new outlook on social distancing, there will be a greater need for more e-commerce digital solutions. The industry will reach a crossroads to either adapt with desired consumer platforms or continue to rely on proven historical templates
The retail industry has already experienced paradigm shifts with companies like Amazon and eBay. These companies have tailored their business ideology towards generations X, Y, and Z. Creating the simplicity of a retail purchase transaction and recognizing the importance of their consumers' time and expectations. The Automotive Industry has already tapped into this mindset with companies like Carvana and Car Gurus. What about the OEM's and their franchised retailers? Can your neighborhood retailer provide you with the complete A-Z experience for lease, finance, or cash purchase of its products without physically stepping into their brick and mortar facility?
This change will involve investing in enhanced digital platform solutions. Consumers will want to have the ability to complete the full purchasing transaction online. This includes accessibility for vehicle selection, price and payment calculations, disclosure of additional options, available services, completion of purchase documentation, and delivery options. Notably, this too will involve and acknowledge the confidentiality of credit applications. This concept seems very straightforward, however, it will require retailers to establish new business partnerships that will aid in the transition for a cultural dealership shift.
Unfortunately, the need for a greater digital footprint also elevates the risks. Threats of privacy breaches and ransomware. Having to publicly acknowledge that your clientele's personal information was breached will put your own unique brands’ reputation into question. This could also affect your specific OEM. Ransomware could lead to additional financial stress and disruption to daily business operations.
Due to the increase in potential cyber threats, the requirement to partner with an Automotive Cybersecurity provider will become a fundamental part of your dealership's operational business plan. Your Automotive Cybersecurity business partner will be an addition to your facility's existing IT infrastructure, not a replacement. They should come with the knowledge of the Automotive industry regardless of facility size, sales volume, or OEM. They should also be able to create a dealership culture for cyber protection and provide on-going support and inspections. Lastly, deliver a proven solution for success in other established industries. These are just a few key components that Dealer Principals and General Managers will need to look for while searching for this partnership.
The landscape of the Automotive retail sector is rapidly evolving. Those ready for change and demonstrate innovative thinking will become premier leaders for the dealerships of the future. The Automotive business model of tomorrow will become more consumer-centric and digital-friendly. Today, the Covid-19 crisis has almost placed a full halt on the industry. The time to take measures is now.