In Automotive News' NADA Preview section a year ago, we kicked off a four-part series on hiring. We wanted to help dealers and dealership personnel do a better job at the difficult task of recruiting, training and retaining the best people possible.
In the 2018 NADA Show Preview section in this issue, we examine efforts by dealerships and software providers to enable consumers to do as much or as little of the vehicle-purchase process online as they wish. The goal is to meet or exceed the expectations of customers accustomed to Amazon's shopping experience.
On April 2, Automotive News will kick off a three-part series on subscription services as an alternative to the traditional vehicle ownership model. We will examine how those services work and the possible roles of both the automakers and auto retailers in this still-evolving world of mobility.
Online sales. Subscription services. While each may seem to be a threat to the traditional role of the dealership, each also offers significant opportunities for retailers.
But whether the future of auto retailing includes online sales or subscription services or both, or something completely different, the overwhelming importance of last year's NADA Preview theme remains. A dealership cannot succeed without hiring and retaining the right people.
Other stores sell and service the same cars and trucks that yours does. They offer the same factory incentives and are backed by the same brand marketing. They — and their websites — even look the same as yours.
The only real difference one dealership has vs. another is its people and the culture in which they are imbued. Because every dealership's culture is different, a star at one store could drag down results at another. That's part of why hiring requires the attention of top management.
Whether your customers shop online or subscribe to have access to a fleet of vehicles, at some point, they are going to come into contact with your personnel. The experience they have then will spark the most potent — for good or ill — advertising there is: word-of-mouth. Even if it's on Facebook.
Digital tools and new possibilities in mobility are great, but only when backed by people.