The Industry's Leading Source For F&I, Sales And Technology

Article

Dealers and the On-Demand Economy

What will your store do when softening demand turns into a showroom crisis? Mobility expert says the on-demand revolution offers plenty of opportunity for resourceful dealers.

January 2018, F&I and Showroom - Feature

by Mark Thomas

Gettyimages.com/NicolasMcComber
Gettyimages.com/NicolasMcComber

There seems to be an app for everything these days, with consumers looking to their personally curated collection of mobile applications to gain power and convenience, or to just navigate their busy lives. And who hasn’t experienced the benefits of requesting a ride with a single tap, or reserving and paying for a car by the minute? But what does this on-demand revolution have to do with auto dealerships? It turns out, a lot.

Dealers can deliver new benefits to convenience-driven customers who expect to use an app for every interaction. At the same time, dealers can future-proof their businesses by adding revenue streams and making more efficient use of service departments and available assets. The following are a few ideas that connect apps to new dealership opportunities:

Opportunity No. 1: On-Demand Service Vehicles

In much the same way that carsharing firm Zipcar operates, dealers can set up a small fleet of vehicles and make them available to their service customers. Customers will appreciate the streamlined experience and the ability to get going right away — without having to wait for keys to be exchanged or for a third-party rental representative to show up.

All that’s required is the installation of an inexpensive telematics box in each vehicle and creating a branded app on top of a mobility software platform. Service customers can download the app and reserve a vehicle along with their service appointment. The right carsharing platform takes care of customer onboarding by verifying their driver’s license, driving history and credit information. Service customers don’t even need to set foot inside the dealership.

2. On-Demand Test Drives

Today’s consumers, especially millennials, rely on the internet to compare products and prices. When it’s time to purchase a car, they rarely come into the dealership uninformed. Yet the last leg of the purchase decision, the test drive, can’t happen over the internet.

App-savvy dealers can make this crucial step an easy one — by offering a test-drive program that allows customers to reserve and test a vehicle without needing to interact with a human being. While this hands-off approach may seem counter to the traditional dealer sales process, it’s actually a perfect continuation of the modern customer journey. And by offering this convenient self-education alternative, you can set your dealership apart from others.

The right carsharing software can support such an on-demand program with multiple safeguards: ensuring that drivers are properly licensed, setting limits on the duration of a free test drive, and even switching to a pay-per-minute mode after the limit has been exceeded.

3. Car Rentals to Uber and Lyft Drivers

Twenty percent of would-be Uber and Lyft drivers don’t own vehicles that pass service guidelines. These drivers — as well as those who don’t want to use their own cars — are looking to rent vehicles for their ride-hailing shifts. Their business need is your business opportunity: Your idle inventory of pre-owned cars can now generate income as on-demand vehicles for ridesharing drivers.

You’ll use mobility software and hardware to set up the program, create a branded app, onboard drivers, and rent out vehicles for fixed shifts. Uber and Lyft drivers can then use the app to reserve a vehicle from your lot, unlock it, and drive off — without needing to interact with any of your employees.

These are just a few ideas for how today’s auto dealers can embrace the new on-demand economy. As the prospect of autonomous looms — and with it, the slowdown in personal car purchases — ridesharing and carsharing services will be the way of the future. Yes, that future is far off, but dealers can get started today by gaining experience with carsharing services and technologies. At the very least, you’ll be selling and servicing more cars on your lot — which is always a step in the right direction.

About the Author

Mark Thomas serves as the vice president of marketing for Ridecell, a global carsharing and ridesharing platform provider. Email him at mark.thomas@bobit.com.

Your Comment

Please note that comments may be moderated. 
Leave this field empty:
Your Name:  
Your Email:  

Blog

So Here's the Deal

Ronald J. Reahard
Selling High-Mileage VSC Plans

By Ronald J. Reahard
How do you sell a $3,000 VSC on an $8,000 car? Top trainer offers a four-step process to ensure every customer gets the protection they need.

Selling Warranty Compliance Plans

By Ronald J. Reahard
Do-it-yourself customers will tell you they prefer to save a few bucks by performing their own maintenance. F&I trainer has the perfect response for this common objection.

Handling the ‘Last Car’ Objection

By Ronald J. Reahard

Sold But Not Closed

By Ronald J. Reahard

Done Deal

Gregory Arroyo
Rescinding the CFPB’s Auto Finance Guidance

By Gregory Arroyo
The editor debunks a few myths about the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, then explains why the industry is on the brink of repealing the bureau’s auto finance guidance.

Still a Work in Progress

By Gregory Arroyo
The editor explains why he put another digital retailing startup on the cover and looks at two studies that point to online car buying and financing still being a work in progress.

It Is Unwise to Lower Your Defenses

By Gregory Arroyo

What's Really Behind the Subprime Pullback?

By Gregory Arroyo

Mad Marv

Marv Eleazer
Your F&I Backup Plan

By Marv Eleazer
Equipment failures can’t stop an F&I manager who is prepared for any contingency. His Madness lists four backup plans you can implement today.

Love It or Leave It

By Marv Eleazer
His Madness is reminded that excelling at F&I requires true passion for the craft. He offers a few suggestions for staying focused and mentally sharp.

G.O.Y.A.

By Marv Eleazer

The Little Things

By Marv Eleazer

On the Point

Jim Ziegler
Sharpen Your Survival Skills

By Jim Ziegler
‘Da Man’ has a plan you can use to survive the collapse of the car business and remain profitable through the dealer apocalypse.

Sales Rock Stars Still Exist

By Jim Ziegler
Da Man says $40,000-a-month sales rock stars still exist. He says you’ll find them on YouTube and Facebook Live.

The New Stooges

By Jim Ziegler

Is Your Quick Lube Driving Away Business?

By Jim Ziegler