Being bigger doesn't make things easier.
That's the sentiment from three public auto retailer marketing executives as they look to meet automakers' customer experience expectations and provide end-to-end digital retailing solutions to customers across multiple brands and store websites in their large dealership groups. And meeting those directives amid an explosion of digital retailing tools while also delivering their own customer service strategies and online shopping platforms is tough, they contend.
The executives from Sonic Automotive Inc., Asbury Automotive Group Inc. and Penske Automotive Group Inc. shared their wishes and gripes, during a J.D. Power event last month, about the lack of workable off-the-shelf digital retailing tools and tricky-to-implement automaker customer experience requirements.
"We're a large group," said Tracy Cassady, executive vice president of marketing for Penske, the nation's second-largest new-vehicle retailer. "We have many brands, and we're trying to create this consistent process. ... And it really becomes a challenge to manage as more OEMs are adding these tools in the mix."
If Penske is forced to add tools, "our process just becomes fractured," Cassady said. "So I think we need to work a little bit better together because we can't really implement 20 different tools on our site."