The future of automotive retail

The future of automotive retail will affect two key areas; data and digital transformation. We’ve already seen an increase in consumer demand for ecommerce. In fact, online retailers like Cazoo and Cinch are upping their marketing spend and targeting consumers with above-the-line advertising campaigns. 

But many traditional vehicle retailers may be struggling to adapt to this shift towards ecommerce. Outdated systems and manual processes often hold them back, delay speed to market and affect sales performance.

At Autofinity, we’re excited about the future of automotive retail. It’s our goal to equip vehicle retailers with the tools and expertise they need to meet the growing demand for online car sales. In this blog, we’ll discuss how we’re doing this. And we’ll provide tips about how to implement a digital transformation in a manageable and low risk way.

It all starts with data

The old adage says that what you put in, you get out. This principle is particularly apt when it comes to vehicle data. The best way to present your retail stock to consumers is to get the details right behind the scenes first.

This means you should;

  • Use comprehensive data sources to verify and update vehicle descriptions 
  • Reject poor quality images or videos to present your stock in the best light
  • Streamline your systems so your inventory, descriptions, images and advertising insight are in one place
  • Update data quickly so you can push your stock to 3rd party advertising sites that drive enquiries to you

How digital transformation can help

A lot of retailers still rely on traditional data feeds and offline spreadsheets to manage their inventory. This is the way it’s always been done. But, many of the existing processes are set up to support physical car sales.

The digital forecourt requires a different approach – one geared towards speed and efficiency. In fact, this is why many retailers are turning to digital systems to manage their inventory and get their stock to market quickly.

Digital transformation means that many offline processes and systems are migrating online. Once they’ve digitised their processes, retailers enjoy improved efficiency. They can even save costs on resource and overage stock. But, for those who haven’t made the move to digital yet, the thought is pretty daunting.

Where to begin

The good news is that you don’t need to do this alone. For example, many retailers are working with a 3rd party digital transformation partner. They can support retailers to meet the growing demand for ecommerce vehicle sales.

One of the biggest challenges for retailers is how to choose which provider is best for them. Our advice? Don’t get sucked in by shiny sales pitches and dazzling front-end technology. Choose a digital partner with significant automotive experience and a genuine understanding of the challenges you face as a retailer.

From a technology perspective, avoid providers who use digital buzzwords, and instead look for a partner who meets your needs with personalised solutions, not one who tries to sell you a suite of one-size-fits-all products and features. Most importantly, focus on the quality of your vehicle data – there’s no point in launching a dazzling new front-end website if the data that sits behind it is poor. 

How Autofinity can help

With well over twenty years’ experience in the automotive industry, we continue to work closely with retailers to understand their unique challenges. And, as consumer demand for ecommerce continues to grow, we’re developing a new, groundbreaking digital solution called ViHub.

ViHub will incorporate all the tools that retailers need to prep their stock and get it to market quickly, from within a single hub. It will include inventory management tools, 3rd party advertising links and insight into advertising performance.
We’ve already received pre-orders from a large dealer group and manufacturers in the UK. We’re working with them, and other dealers, to ensure our new ViHub meets the needs of retailers.


If you’d like to get involved and have input into ViHub, get in touch

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