The new focus for the automotive retail industry in 2017

Where we’ve previously seen the automotive retail industry as a predominately product-driven sector, 2017 has shown a shift in the direction of customer-driven KPIs. So what does this mean for automotive retail outlets?

The key focus for 2017: customer loyalty.

Automotive retailers are now building customer loyalty by focusing on changing customer behaviour and expectations. With the rise of mobility, customers are able to easily access the information they need at any time in any location. Therefore, businesses need to adapt their current business model, and quickly. 

Which leads us to consider the five pillars of customer-driven marketing.

1. Improving the quality of the customer life cycle
By building trust and simplifying complex issues, businesses are able to improve the quality of a customer’s lifecycle and expand on its longevity. 

2. Customising customer communications
In the world of digitisation, it isn’t only mobile usage that has increased for the consumer but personalisation also. Businesses must tailor the experience by understanding who their customer truly is through value propositions. 

3. Creating an engaging digital experience
When we consider the automotive retail industry, we assume that not everything shifts to a digital experience. However, market indicators show us that 46% of buyers are willing to finance a car purchase online. There is also an average of 10 hours spent by automotive customers searching the web for information on when and where to buy.

4. Redesigning distribution networks
With the former point in mind, businesses will need to design their customer model to improve flexibility and accessibility. Although dealerships will continue to play a significant role, it is time to explore other avenues as the customer-driven focus comes into full effect.

5. Creating a multi-channel brand experience
We all know how customer loyalty and brand image can work together to create a powerful force that drives customers to extend lifecycles, invest more and willingly offer referrals. The key is in getting the brand on point across digital and physical channels.

In saying this, the transformation from product-driven to customer-driven in auto retail requires considerable investment. Whether you are replacing outdated equipment or purchasing new, cutting-edge technologies, we know that the acquisition of assets is a fundamental and cyclical reality. 

Challenged with variable expenses, cash resources and budgets have hindered auto retailers into looking at ways to move their business model into 2017. However, with a greater range of finance options, dealer groups are able to consider moving forward sooner rather than later.

If you’re interested in more information, download our Asset & Structured Finance for the Automotive Sector guide.