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Entries in Customers (4)


Retailing and Servicing Autos

The entire retail experience is fascinating, especially that we hear more and more about customer experience (CX) as being a key factor of having loyal customers.

Think about this for a moment.

A while back when vehicles were not as reliable as today, and everyone knew that all vehicles at one time or another would have some sort of a failure. Lets also factor in that all vehicles were dramatically easier to repair. 

It was the humans in the business interacting with human customers that made all the difference, generated the CX, and upheld loyalty.

Fast forward to today...

Vehicles are extremely reliable, and more complex to repair. There is all sorts of technology to make it easier while dealing with a bunch of routine tasks.

Is the customer experience better? Is the ownership experience enduring?

Reflect on this for a few seconds.

Or is it all deal, incentive, process driven with the customer some sort of afterthought?

In the meantime the customer not to be embroyled with product issues is/has adopted a mobility model with a warranty as the interface between the dealer/manufacturer.

Where is the loyalty? Is it deal driven?

You constantly read/hear that CMS (Citizen Main Street) does countless hours of due diligence prior to acquiring a new vehicle. Simple question..."if you have to work too hard to spend money is it worth the effort?"

Does the dealer make it easier or compounds the "work too hard" for CMS to acquire a vehicle. all seems to work we have record auto sales in Canada.

What happens if the current model starts disrupting with an increased emphasis on human interactions?




Windows of Opportunity

In the auto business there have always been "windows of opportunity" in one fashion or another. Obvious that by the time a window of opportunity becomes "pedestrian knowledge" its already on the wrong side of the curve.

What is a window of opportunity? A window of opportunity is a short time period during which an otherwise unattainable opportunity exists. After the window of opportunity closes, the opportunity ceases to exist.

As you can appreciate empowered by technology, "windows" open and close with increased rapidity. Yes...some folks "get hung up to dry".

The value of the Canadian dollar has presented several windows of opporunity during the past decade. Let's consider 2016 and looking ahead for the short term.

Yes...we all know that the CDN dollar has tanked, visited the bottom of the dumpster for the past several months.

The tanking has created a unique window of opportunity for the auto business in Canada.


For CMS (Citizen Main street) the lower value is unique in generating robust used vehicle (trade in) values for numerous makes, and models. Stronger values have a direct impact on the level of negative equity. Need we say much more?


Its presented a unique opportunity to pay aggressive amounts for trade ins, to close deals. As well as managing used vehicle inventories. Could it be that its a factor in record Canadian new vehicle sales this year?


Have ramped up the inventories of new vehicles, applying pressure on dealers to move iron. While deploying selective "dynamic pricing".


Are enjoying a golden time selling a myriad of vehicles to "American" buyers.

Its all good for everybody...

But...and there is always a now its coming to an end.

If an additional 100,000+ used vehicle were exported from Canada to the US in the grand scheme of things it might be a drop in the bucket, especially for the US market. But it also made it easier to close deals in Canada, and manage inventories.

The bigger BUT...

The scarcity of used vehicles in the US is a thing of the past, they are not so scarce anymore. While its anticipated that values will continue on a downward slope from now till the end of the year.

From our perspective this "window of opportunity" is closing.

Is there a lesson...absolutely...don't get caught too far on the wrong side of a closing "window of opportunity".



Digital Transformation in Auto Retail

Thought provoking presentation from Capgemini ...especially for auto dealers.




Closing Deals in the Showroom

You would think that with all the technology, and information that is available closing a deal in a showroom would be simpler, easier, faster.

With the onset of the Internet, product information freely disseminated, 20 years ago you would have concluded that with time closing a deal would be easier, and faster. In 2015 its not the case...

As well with all the talk of social media, conventions, seminars, and a myriad of different offerings by a myriad of different folks closing a deal should be simpler, and easier. Everyone has a perspective, a theory, and an infallible way to close deals.

In Canada, in 2015 its not the case...go figure.

You have to conclude that "something" is not aligned between the individuals in the showroom. While looking ahead you almost have to conclude that with everyone well informed actually closing a deal will get increasingly challenging.

Which reinforces that dealers remain "horse traders" with the dealer trying to sell, and the customer also trying to sell (his trade in). While both are enabled by expedite the selling and buying interaction.

The one constant is "human nature" which has not really changed in a couple of Millenniums...we are all empowered by technology, while still remaining humans.

If customers presumably visit less than 2 dealers, the current close ratios indicate that they visit more than 2 dealers, accompanied by increased churning / spinning / near misses.

Lets not forget clarity, transparency...if its so clear and transparent "How come deals are not closing?"

Looking ahead to 2020, you have to conclude that in 2015 "something" is misaligned, folks are using the inappropriate levers, it might get worse before it gets better.

Its clear that "something" is not aligned in the showroom interface / interaction.

Its clear that showroom craftsmanship is increasingly a lost art.

How will deals be closed next year, and in 2020?

What do you think?