What We Can Learn From 2015
2015 was a year of tremendous growth in the automotive industry with strong global sales and record U.S sales. At Motive Retail, we are extremely pleased to have shared in that growth and have had a truly amazing past year. But before any of that, let’s look at what you might have missed in 2015. It just might make for a smoother take-off in 2016.
In 2015 many great articles were released that gave terrific insights into the future of the automotive industry. While we hate to leave anyone out, here’s two that we particularly liked due to their scope and relevancy.
From E&Y, we have: “The Future of Automotive Retail”, a comprehensive look at emerging models of retailing.
TechCrunch provides an excellent overview of the disruptive forces shaping the automotive industry. Its called: “Automotive Disruption From The Bay Area to Atlanta”, and is full of great info as well as some links if you want to “deep dive” into the subject.
The E&Y white paper delivers great insights into consumer expectations and how our industry must rapidly adapt to meet these expectations. The TechCrunch article covers the massive influx of venture capital that is funding retail consolidations as well as giving birth to new software companies who are providing dealerships with better ways to connect with consumers and enhance those relationships. Together, these articles highlight the seismic shifts taking place in automotive retailing.
Some trends that we noticed in 2015 included the increase in capital flowing into the digital automotive space and a greater emphasis on satisfying increasingly sophisticated consumers.
In reality, these two trends are intertwined as much of the capital investment is geared towards providing new and better software for dealers. Many of these new software systems will increase the dealer’s ability to market and connect to consumers. Expect the connected car and the IoT to accelerate these trends.
Private equity and venture capital, besides funding software development, will also be involved in the increasing occurrence of consolidation of dealerships and dealer groups. Investors are combining dealers and dealer groups with the intent of improving efficiency and increasing economies of scale. Combining multiple dealerships, often involving multi-brand dealer groups, requires the ability to integrate a vast array of dealer systems. This is another force behind new software development and improved integration strategies. Stay tuned for more on that one!
The Connected Car: The connected car phenomenon will accelerate, and become the prime mover that propels the need for more integration to the forefront of business and IT decision making. This will impact not only the data features of vehicles, but every data touchpoint involved in the manufacturing, marketing, retailing and customer relationship ecosystem. Cars that can talk to each other, supported by dealer systems that cannot communicate efficiently, is going to be a major stumbling block for brands that have not embraced retail integration. Look for some major scrambling in the automotive sector as the IoT accelerates.
The Consumer Experience: Improving the retail experience will become a significant driver of business objectives in 2016. While the industry has made some recent progress regarding the buying experience, consumers are still frustrated by the complexity and time investment required to purchase or service a vehicle. Easier, faster and more transparent transactions will rule the day. Also, look for the consumer digital experience to become a significant brand differentiator. With many companies offering similar levels of quality, fuel economy and safety, the digital experience within the showroom will become the next battleground.
As the only provider of automated retail integration solutions, and due to the above trends, we have experienced greatly increased demand for our products and services. In fact, we have grown so quickly that we outgrew our original space and needed to look for a larger facility. So, in November of 2015, we relocated our operation and christened a larger, modernized, and completely new complex. We are now poised to be better able to serve our growing list of global clients.
In 2015 we gave our integration automation platform, Motive Integrator™ a brand new look and feel. Feedback from users has been extremely positive and you can look for future enhancements like improved reporting and analytics in 2016.
Our software developers, while busy continually improving Motive Integrator™, also added an extremely powerful new tool known as XDesign™ to our platform. XDesign™ addresses the challenges of working with large, standardized XML documents that are frequently used by manufacturers and dealer service providers. Now, the unique requirements of a member’s specific implementation for even the largest and most complex BODs can be rapidly defined. What used to take many hours can now be done in minutes.
On a related note, STAR has partnered with Motive Retail to give STAR members access to XDesign as a free additional benefit for being a STAR member. Look for more information on both of these developments in the next few weeks.
Our 2016 Goals
Overall, 2015 has been a great year, and we are very grateful for the special relationships that we have with our growing list of clients. In 2016, Motive Retail will be using the momentum gained in the past year to make retail integration faster, less expensive and more efficient for our current users while welcoming new manufacturers and dealer system providers. The automotive industry is recognizing that 2016 will be the year of the consumer and the connected car and this will require placing system integration as the cornerstone for future growth and success. We are glad to be leading the charge and we wish a prosperous New Year to all!