Situation ONE: The Los Angeles Venture Association and the LAVA Mobile Strategic Interest Group recently asked to be “briefed” on what changes mobility has, will have and could have in the next 3 years on the automotive channel. A LAVA panel session included three developers that have or are in the process of creating major changes and movement in automotive sales and marketing: Gumiyo, Intellacar and CarVoyance.
Situation TWO: 90 percent of people in the U.S now have a cell phone; 70 percent of the American people are beginning to use their mobile phone to access buying sites, search for merchandise, meals and money — and cars. Mobile apps, websites and texting are not just disrupting the traditional dealer sales process but mobility is a change agent, a catalyst, a trafficking platform, connecting the customer, the dealer and the vehicle.
Here Is a listing of fifteen major changes in the automotive marketplace in five market categories that are being driven by the use of mobile phones to communicate, exchange information and do commerce.
The OEMs (Original Equipment Manufacturers)
- Sales funnel goes down a tube: The chase to track the shopping consumer in the monitored confines of a sales funnel is now the pursuit of new “open tube.” With the movement, the customer vehicle selection process is being accelerated by a faster, more efficient start to finish vehicle purchase cycle — propelled by a mobile prospect with anywhere access. . .
- Cars have cockpits: The design and display of information in the “cockpit” or cabin of the vehicle has made its interior an occupant compartment with an ergonomic cockpit housing a massive instrument panel.
- Advertising turned on its media head: Access to marketing , advertising and vehicle information by a cell phone is dramatically turning the banner advertising model upside down — and featuring video and advertorial content about the vehicle. Content then becomes “king” of the media and bannering becomes a branding tool.
The Channel Providers and Suppliers
- Six surviving channel suppliers by 2017: AutoTrader, ADP, Dealer.com, DealerTrack, Dominion Dealer Services, Reynolds & Reynolds and maybe Cars.com will either buy or merge or partner with all other, smaller developer-providers in next 5 years
- Integration of vehicle information supply chain : Mobile phone platforms, social media, three dimensional and response design dealer websites, TV image ads, texting, chatting, search, video emails, print ads in buff books, snail mail and the telephone all being orchestrated by the “factory marketing teams.”
- Partner or sell or die: Every channel systems developer-provider will now either need to “control” the design, development and application of sales and marketing systems — or partner with small vendors with new innovative technology or buy the company and its technology — or set about to take away their business and ultimate survival.
The Dealership Experience
- Dealerships becoming anywhere and everywhere: Access to mobile phones and thousands of apps and programs makes it possible for a dealer to sell anywhere in the country to customers coming from and located everywhere.
- No more ups and t/os: The Death of the Traditional Car Salesman, killed by a cell phone blow to the back of the head. The day of the aging car sales person standing in the doorway of the showroom or out front of the lot is gone. No turnovers to a the Sales manager in the back room. Mobile phones and changing customer mentality make it mandatory for sales people to be consulting experts who coach and monitor the sales process, mostly by phone, rendering Taj Mahal dealer stores to become potential community centers and social support centers.
- Car dealerships are or will become transportation centers: The new car and truck buyer needs and want a “transportation consultant” relationship, rather like a financial adviser. Dealerships that train and head their sales teams in this direction sell more cars to people before they get to the dealership and customers will be using their cell phones to interact with the dealer team and then will come back to the dealership for advice, consulting and referrals not to be sold or even have their vehicle services.
Consumers as Users and Riders
- Less car shopping if any at home: Consumers are migrating from home computers to iPads and 4G mobility platforms. What was once only done from the desktop or the kitchen table is now being done standing in line waiting for Starbucks or the kids to come out of their classrooms.
- Personal vehicle management required: Consumers are seeing their vehicle(s) as a mobile computing centers, entertainment walls and as depreciating assets that need professional management to find, finance, underwrite, maintain and fuel and replace and gain counsel and resources. The buff books do not get this — they still see the vehicle as Freudian symbol and not as a utility tool to move about as easily and inexpensively as possible
- Consumers want to know all and right now: Mobile phones tethered to the Internet and systems have given the individual who seeks to gain the use of a new or pre-owned car or truck the access to all he or she needs to find, fund and acquire the use of a specific vehicle anywhere in the country.
The Vehicle Within Itself and Free of the Driver
- Not just a smart car but an intelligent vehicle: The connectivity of the vehicle with its own systems, its owner-operator, and its maker source and its in-service support center have now arrived with the integration of mobility and mobility-related technology in and around the car itself. In fact, the vehicle will make its own service appointments.
- No more designated drivers at all: The day is here where you can be talking on the phone while the car drives itself. Give it up — the driver is the problem and so will be replaced by a robotic system in your lifetime
- Being stuck in traffic No longer an excuse: Yes, you can use your cell phone to call and say you are stuck in traffic and will be late, but soon you will not be stuck in traffic because the traffic will NOT be stuck and your cell phone will tell you how long to where and when and then you will guiltless and excuseless.