“The Convenience Revolution” Has Arrived. Are You Ready?
By Ted Ings, Executive Director
These days, when people need a ride, they pull out their smartphone and request a Lyft.
And, as if that wasn’t easy enough, they expect the driver to be there in mere minutes. There’s no waiting around for a cab or friend at the airport – Lyft is there to pick you up immediately. Ride-sharing services are just one example of the convenience revolution that’s taking place all around us. Consumers are spoiled by instant gratification, and it’s changing the way companies around the world – including those in the automotive industry – do business.
Automotive Pioneers of the Convenience Revolution
Let’s face it – all humans appreciate convenience. If they didn’t, all cars would still have manual windows and (heaven forbid) manual seat adjustments. People crave quick and accessible, and if you provide it, they will come.
Take a look at these industry innovators for convenience ideas to implement at your dealership.
Brooklyn Mitsubishi will deliver the vehicle to your door, up to 20 miles, for free. Customers can purchase their car online with free shipping. The company is becoming a successful player in online retailing, led by it's General Manager EL PATRONN, who himself is a "brand within the brand." Anyone traveling through Brooklyn, NY would be hard pressed not to feel his presence, which is visible on more than 30 billboards in the area, as well as on traditional and social media channels.
Just across the river, if you live in Manhattan and own a Honda, you’re in luck. In the city that never sleeps, Paragon Honda is offering its innovative service, Paragon Direct. The app-based program provides free pickup and delivery (much like Lincoln Pickup & Delivery). It also allows customers to buy a car without ever setting foot in a dealership – they just click and buy through the app.
It may seem like keeping customers out of the showroom would limit sales, but that’s not the case. Just think of how easy it is to browse and buy something through eBay or Amazon. Apply that concept to the auto buying process and you’ve got a convenient and modern way to reel in buyers
Bringing a vehicle in for service is about as enjoyable as a trip to the dentist. And the ordeal is made worse when you have to schedule a ride. Should you have a friend drop you off? Call Lyft? The options can be both annoying and costly.
That’s why Lincoln treats its customers to Lincoln Pickup & Delivery, a complimentary ride service. A request is scheduled through the Lincoln Way smartphone app, and a valet is dispatched to the customer’s location. While the vehicle is in service, updates can be received via the app, text or email.
Finally, when the car is finished, Lincoln drops it off at the owner’s doorstep.
You would think a service like this would be limited to Lincoln’s high-end “Black Label” models, but it’s not. It’s available on the entire lineup of new cars and SUVs.
Hyundai is jumping into the convenience revolution with both feet. To start, the Korean automaker is offering at home test drives. Instead of visiting the dealership, potential buyers open the Hyundai Drive Now app, and select a vehicle they’d like to test drive. The car is then delivered to their location of choice. But that’s not the only thing Hyundai has been up to. Perhaps even more impressive, is the company’s digital showroom, launched on the Amazon Vehicles Research Hub. The virtual sales floor provides inventory listings, a link to schedule a test drive, a pricing calculator and dealership locator. Plus, there are videos on Hyundai’s Shopper Assurance Program and the Hyundai Blue Link connected car services.
All these conveniences make it much easier for consumers to buy and own a Hyundai. The services are particularly appealing to younger buyers accustomed to doing everything online.
You would buy a soda or bag of chips out of a vending machine, sure. But a vehicle? The idea sounds crazy to most, but not to startup, Carvana.
The company offers an array of cars that can be dispensed from a vending machine-style building. From there, rides are delivered by flatbed to the buyer’s house.
There’s no need ever to set foot in a dealership – shoppers simply open a Carvana account, and scroll through inventory (complete with 360-degree photos). Financing can be done directly through the company, and there’s a 7-day test to own program, so you can see if the car fits your needs.
How to Welcome The Convenience Revolution at your Dealership
Change is upon us, and it’s time you got onboard. Even if you don’t sell cars that pop out of a vending machine, you can start to embrace the convenience revolution at your dealership.
Start small – maybe offer a pickup and delivery service, like Lincoln and Paragon Honda. Or, perhaps, update your website to include a digital showroom, complete with 360-degree images, like Hyundai.
No matter which route you choose, five years down the road (maybe less), you’ll be happy to be at the forefront of the convenience revolution.
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