TO THE EDITOR:
Cox Automotive's latest COVID-19 Impact Study indicates that half of dealers are considering going back to old nondigital methods despite overwhelming consumer preference and increasing gross profits associated with a more digital process.
The truth is there is no "normal" to return to. Digital adoption is an imperative for dealers, because consumers now expect a faster, more convenient, digital experience when they buy or service a vehicle. Eighty-nine percent of consumers found service pickup and delivery offerings appealing even before COVID-19. Seventy-one percent want more online purchase steps than the last time they bought a vehicle.
The last few months were painful but instructive. The crisis taught us dealers need more interactions with customers, not just more tools and platforms. Digitally forward dealers have a clear advantage. Over the last eight weeks, dealers using video to present additional service recommendations earned more than $4.4 million in incremental fixed ops revenue. The number of shoppers submitting digital deals increased 108 percent from January to May.
Transforming an industry is hard, but you can do this. You did it in 1999 when you faced the information age, in 2008 when affordability hit a wall and in 2016 when recalls crippled the industry. You've shown great agility to implement new tools and adapt your operation to meet car buyers and service customers wherever and however they want to engage.
Dealers are born and bred entrepreneurs. We love how you look at challenges, even unprecedented ones, and see opportunities. We see them, too.
Let's move forward together.
MANDI FANG,TRACY FRED, WAYNE PASTORE, The writers are vice presidents of operations at Cox Automotive Dealer Software Solutions