Automotive SM Landscape

5 Marketing Tips for Dealerships

  • Website Improvements
  • Online Chat
  • Video Content
  • Ratings and Reviews
  • Social Media Versatility

 

We live in a digital age where consumers are coming to their conclusion about a business before they even step inside the front doors, all because of how they present themselves online. According to a NADA DATA report, US dealerships spent just over $8 billion in advertising back in 2014. That figure rose to a peak of nearly $10B in 2016 and has had a slight decline each year since.  

We’re nearly halfway through 2019, and although a lot has changed, traditional advertising like commercials and radio spots are still valuable to dealerships. However, salespeople at dealerships notice that the majority of car shoppers are on their phones while they’re on the lot to compare with prices and other options. Overall, US dealerships allocated just over half their 2018 advertising spend on digital channels, which is a significant sum and reflects the trends in shopper behavior. How do we adapt to the changes and market ourselves to remain relevant?

Here are 5 marketing tips, just for dealerships:

  1. Give Your Website A Face Lift: When was the last time you updated your website? According to marketing expert Marcus Sheridan, 70% of business is conducted online with a decision already made by the consumer before they even make contact. Your website is the first impression, so is it good enough to have the consumers make the next move and contact you? Is it mobile friendly? Does it have a sleek and professional look to it that is easy to read on any device and is a good representation of your brand? These are all things to keep in mind when revamping the website for your dealership.
  2. Use Live Chat: When a potential customer is exploring your site, they are searching for answers to several different questions. Having someone to communicate with via live chat is similar to holding their hand through a complicated process. Live chat is there to answer any questions they may have about scheduling, inventory, location, and more, and your chance to capture their information and begin the sales cycle.
  3. Create Videos: Videos are a quick and immersive way for a customer to get an inside look at your dealership. Not to mention, they are a representation of your brand. Over 50% of marketing professionals say that video brings in the best ROI. Whether it’s a commercial, filming a test drive with a customer, or just talking about your summer clearance event, videos are a sure way to bring in new customers.
  4. Customer Reviews: Any potential customer is going to want to see what other people have said about your dealership, as they offer a personal experience. Look at social media and review sites to see what people are saying about your dealership and highlight some of these on your website. If you don’t have any reviews, reach out to past customers and ask them to give a testimonial of their experience at your dealership. You’ll also find this is a great way to see how you’re doing and where you can improve in areas that you may have neglected. After all, the customer is the most important aspect of the entire decision-making process, and their decisions will be influenced by independent endorsements.
  5. Social Media: Nowadays, with Facebook Pages and Instagram business tools, social media has become an increasingly popular way to engage with new, potential, and previous customers. People who engage on the social media pages for businesses have the same expectation for responsiveness as they would on a telephone call. They could inquire about any number of things, like asking about a service, inventory, or even sharing their personal experience at your dealership. Additionally, social media is a great platform to advertise promotions and events happening at the dealership. This is the best part of social media, as you’re able to connect with users who are looking for a variety of information. Your job as the dealership is to know your customers, what they are looking for, and provide the answers. The more of a reliable source you are, the more you’ll appear as a knowledgeable, trustworthy dealership and the place they’ll want to take their business.


Marketing is all about connecting with your audience in as many ways possible, in order to be there when they choose to engage. Luckily, there are so many resources available to you to make your content engaging and fun, while also being the best representation of your brand. Focus on who you’re targeting and what makes your dealership the best choice to serve their needs. When you do that, you succeed in marketing your dealership.

Nissan 350Z

Make Your Inventory Pop With These Photography Tips For Dealerships

In the automobile industry, your dealership’s website is just as much a first impression as when a potential customer walks inside the dealership doors. But this isn’t about what you should and shouldn’t have on your website. This article is about the photos you have of your dealership’s inventory. Only having pictures uploaded with the vehicle information just doesn’t cut it anymore.

Your inventory photos need to grab the attention of a potential customer who’s looking to buy a new car. If you have just cellphone quality shots of your inventory, it lessens the quality of your overall dealership. At the same time, if you use stock images of the vehicle but not actual photos of the car on your lot, it’s just as bad as using cellphone quality shots, if not worse.

Here are some ways to make your inventory pop, from actual professional photographers:

Lighting: Every professional photographer will tell you that light is everything. Direct sunlight will create strange shadows, whereas the shade could hide details of the car. The time of day is a good indicator of how harsh the sun will be, which is why shooting early morning or early evening is usually a good time to shoot. Also, overcast days act as a natural “diffuser,” which means it lessens the intensity of the sunlight. It’s optional if you’d want to use any additional lighting. But the same rules for working with sunlight apply to using artificial lights. Even a flash can sometimes be too intense and detract from the overall picture you’re trying to capture.

Background: Your background is just as important as the lighting because you want to make sure the vehicle is the only focus of the picture. Not only is it distracting to see other cars in your inventory in the background, but it will ruin the picture if you have anything else be the focus other than the car you’re capturing.

Take Lots of Photos: The more really is the merrier. The more photos you have of the vehicle, the more a customer can get a real feel of the car ahead of the time. Not to mention, having multiple photos for the customer to look at online makes them even more ready to make a purchase once they come inside the dealership.

Get Inside: When you capture the car’s interior, this shows any future buyers that you really care about the driver. They want to see the condition of the seats, what the car looks like from the driver’s POV, etc. Perhaps they want to see if there are any additional features such as heated seats or a USB cable for their phone. Let alone the fact that they may not want a cream interior or leather seats. All of this plays a vital role when someone is interested in a car. If they don’t get an accurate visual of the vehicle before coming into the dealership, they’ll feel like it was a waste of a trip if the car isn’t exactly as it’s pictured.

Experiment: Sure, you want to make sure that you or your photographer is capturing the images possible for your car. But what about capturing it away from the dealership? Depending on the type of photographer you have, it might be cool actually to capture the car in motion on the streets. Or if you’re near a scenic spot, take the car there to get some really epic and cinematic shots. People are all about the image of what looks best, so why not create some content that adds a unique flair to the typical dealership photos of your inventory?

Another way you can experiment is with the angles. Shoot from below to make the car look more powerful. Or cut off some of the car for a shot if you’re getting a real close-up shot and nothing else is going to detract from the focus being on the vehicle. Shoot vertically as well, since many people will be checking out your dealership’s website while on their smartphone.

Have Fun: It sounds a bit cliché, but having fun with taking photos of your inventory will show to any potential customer. People want to do business where it’s a welcoming environment, full of people who genuinely enjoy what they do. Not to mention, you represent a car dealership. You want the customer to have an enjoyable experience from start to finish because then you earn their customer loyalty (which is something money can’t buy). You might as well give them something they’ll never forget, starting with the photos.

Flow PDR

Recon Vendor Management – Multiple Moving Parts and People

For those who manage multiple vehicles through a reconditioning process, like dealerships, fleet managers, auto auctions, and rental companies, employing multiple vendors and employees on top of the administrative duties of running the business can be difficult to manage. There are a lot of steps to getting a vehicle through the make-ready process. To help ease the pains of so many moving targets, AMT developed ReconMonitor™, smart workflow management software for auto reconditioning.

This software is specifically designed to assist in your execution of auto remarketing at maximum speed and efficiency. ReconMonitor improves the ready-for-sale process by giving the user visibility into each of the many steps in the recon process. It also provides a detailed look at how each of the steps and technicians is doing from an efficiency perspective. Let’s look at an example:

Let’s say your dealership acquires a car at auction. The initial inspection indicates that the vehicle needs some mechanical work, PDR, a bumper replacement, paint touch-ups, and of course, photography. Then the next day you acquire 5 to 10 cars through trade-in (wouldn’t that be great), each with its own list of needed repairs. For the recon director or manager within your operation, it can be dizzying tracking numerous vehicles at different stages of the recon process. If your facility employs its own mechanical repair resources in addition to outside vendors for specialties like PDR and other sublet work, keeping track of everything can be stressful and things can slip through the cracks. You not only have administrative tasks to complete but have to manage multiple workflows and stations to make sure the right employees and vendors are matched to the right jobs for the most efficient turn-around.

Capacity management and knowing where each vehicle is in the process becomes complex and the entire process can become bogged down from a single inefficient step. Vendor management in ReconMonitor means the ability to plan, schedule, and evaluate vendors for improved efficiency. For the example above, it would make no sense for the dealer to have the photographer come on a day when a car wasn’t cosmetically ready for its close-up. Knowing where each vehicle sits in the process, and planned time until it is ready for the next stage is a critical ability that will set your business processes apart from any other dealer without this type of visibility and control.

With ReconMonitor, you can watch your vendors and employees complete the designed order of tasks in real time, contact them if needed, make changes where you see fit, and analyze the quality of work. ReconMonitor will also automatically create and distribute vendor work orders, and generate vendor invoices when the completed work is approved, giving you full control.

Dealerships can lose around $35-$50 every day a car is stuck in the reconditioning process. ReconMonitor increases the visibility and control you have over the end-to-end process of reconditioning any vehicle. It’s a great way to get rid of disorganized paper orders and antiquated whiteboards and keep everything in one centralized management solution. With ReconMonitor, your reconditioning process is transformed with vehicles efficiently made frontline-ready in record time.

Pensive At Laptop

Is Reconditioning Software Still Relevant in 2019?

Too much paperworkIf you’re staring at a desk surrounded by sticky notes and stacks of papers, wake up! It’s 2019! It’s no wonder you’re backlogged when you can’t even find the invoice for yesterday’s customer.

But somehow even with all the hours spent on invoices and paperwork after a long workday, many repair business owners and technicians take more comfort in this chaos rather than adopting a new method. The problem with that comfort zone is it’s virtually impossible nowadays to keep track of the repairs, check-in with your customers, and keep the business coming with increasing revenues. It’s frankly, well, not wise for these SMART repair shops to be using out of date methods for managing a business when even the way a technician approaches a car repair has gone through significant changes over the past few years.

Perhaps the fear of change is because many of these programs have often been designed without the mindset of the typical auto repair shop owner and its technicians. They’re often very complex and require specific training.

This is why AMT created a simple yet powerful software solution that eliminates the paperwork and helps make you more profitable. The software comes with all the features you need to be in command and control of your work, from PDR and hail damage estimating to an invoicing system that seamlessly integrates with your accounting software.

When it comes to reconditioning, the top 4 things that a thriving repair operation needs to keep track of are:

  1. Estimating the cost of the service
  2. Managing the front and back-end operations, including overseeing your technicians and making sure everything is running on schedule
  3. Billing and invoicing
  4. Serving your customers well = generating more profit

SMART Repair is all about doing the most effective job in the least amount of time to keep a steady money flow. Sticky notes and dry-erase boards may have worked before. But why be running your shop with limits when you can be limitless? AMT’s Automotive Repair Software manages over $139 Million in monthly repairs and estimates across over 23,000 repairs daily!

Go ahead and schedule your demo today!

PDR tools

7 Advantages Of Adding PDR To Your In-house Reconditioning Operation

In the reconditioning business, you’re always looking for a way to add another profit center. Luckily for you, adding Paintless Dent Repair (PDR) as an in-house capability is a great way to increase profit with minimal effort. As someone who’s already performing automotive repairs in your service bays or collision center, adding PDR to your processes will actually be pretty easy. With PDR, you can reduce the time you spend on bodywork during the reconditioning process, but you can also save quite a bit of money as well.

Trained PDR technicians can “massage” out any dents or dings found on a vehicle’s body. PDR typically relies on no damage to the paint in order to be as efficient as possible. Even so, technicians can still perform PDR to reshape the dents, and provide paint touch-ups if need be.

Below are 7 advantages of adding PDR to your reconditioning process.

 

It (Mostly) Doesn’t Cost Anything In The Long Run

Outside a few initial specialized tool purchases and training, PDR basically pays for itself. Once you have the training and tools, you won’t be paying any incremental costs to perform PDR since none of the tools or parts will require frequent replacement.

 

It Has a High Potential To Net You Profit

With the right technician, a $100 or $200 job can be done in 10 – 30 minutes with PDR.

 

You Have The Opportunity To Provide Better Deals To Customers

Most of the average drivers out there today have no idea what PDR is. It’s been around for close to 60 years, and there are still shops that don’t have it as a part of their repair processes. So, if a customer comes in with dents that need fixing, imagine their response when you tell them you can repair them all in a fraction of the time and for a fraction of the price of conventional dent repair. You may already use an outsourced PDR technician, but if you find yourself waiting for them to show up to complete the repairs, that vehicle downtime is costing you even more than just their charges.

 

Creates An Avenue For New, Potential, Customers

If you already have a stream of customers for other repairs and maintenance, you can offer dent removal as an up-sell in the service drive. In most cases, the dent work can be done during other repairs or services, adding no additional wait time for the customer. In addition to your walk-ins, you have the potential to bring in work from auto auctions, used car dealerships, car rental agencies, car insurance agencies, detail shops, and body shops.

 

Minimal Effort To Adding It Into Your Shop

PDR isn’t a method that requires a drastic change in your business. As we said above, it only requires a few initial tool purchases. Outside of that, there’s a pretty minimal space required to do the work and can easily be done in the shop or on the road with what you currently have. It only takes a few minutes to do during your detailing or painting phases, and it’ll just take a minute for you to speak with the customer, bring up the dents, and offer to repair them without any impact to the overall repair time.

 

Relatively Low Start-Up Cost

PDR will basically pay for itself once you’ve trained your technician(s) and purchased the proper equipment. It can be self-taught, but professional training and tools can cost anywhere from $5,000 – $15,000 depending on the level of training, certifications, and the quality of the tools. However, after the initial investment, PDR has high profit potential and costs much less than other typical investments for business line extensions.

 

It’s Easy To Sell To Customers

No matter what, offering a dent repair option that costs a fraction of conventional dent repair to a customer is a pretty easy sell. Since it only takes a few minutes to repair, the lower costs are drastically made up by the sheer volume of PDR that can be done throughout each week. What takes many shops days to do, you could do in minutes. So, if you provide a quality option that saves customers money and is convenient for them, you’ll ultimately get more business down the road.

 

AutoMobile Technologies offers Software Solutions That Can Help You Manage Your PDR Process

AMT offers software designed to make your reconditioning business more efficient, provide you with better visibility, and give you peace of mind knowing that your back-office is always up-to-date.

ReconMonitor is a state of the art workflow automation software for auto recon, dealerships, and auto remarketing companies. ReconMonitor dealership software decreases reconditioning cycle time from acquisition to front line and increases your control and profitability.

ReconPro is the industry’s most versatile and powerful software solution purpose-built for auto recon professionals. With essential tools for performing PDR estimates, hail and insurance matrixes, parts management, paint code lookups, integrations with body shop crash systems and accounting systems, too. ReconPro manages the details of running your business so you can focus on growing your business.

Auto Dealerships Will Be Just Fine In 2019

New & Pre-Owned Sales signAccording to NADA News, Senior Economist for NADA, Patrick Manzi, said trends are looking good for both new and used vehicles in 2019.

He continued on and said in a recent speech in San Francisco: “The current posture of the U.S. economy is strong. A tight labor market continues to put upward pressure on wages, which are rising. Consumer spending, a significant contributor to GDP, remains solid. It’s a positive sign that consumers are spending money.”

In 2019, NADA expects there to be roughly 16.8 million sales in light trucks and new cars– a 3% decrease from 2018’s fourth straight year of 17 million units.

However, Manzi warned that the rising interest rates for auto loans will impact the affordability of vehicles for consumers in the coming year. With rates and monthly payments expected to rise, he says younger consumers will shift to the used car market. “This is a great opportunity for dealers to get these customers into nearly new certified-pre-owned vehicles.”

With the used car market’s expected increase, software companies have developed software to make the reconditioning process as efficient as possible to maximize profits. Products like ReconMonitor can help you track each vendor or employee task and identify what order those tasks are being performed. This helps you execute auto remarketing at maximum speed, and ensure you have the stock available to meet consumer demands.

Why Your Dealership Should Prioritize Convenience And Transparency

Why Your Dealership Should Prioritize Convenience And TransparencyAccording to Dealership News, research from a Cox Automotive Service Industry Study showed dealerships are losing out on roughly $266 billion dollars a year in service revenue. Beyond that, the biggest contributing factor to it all is customer trust and inconvenience. Unfortunately, many dealerships aren’t doing enough for customers to feel completely comfortable with their purchasing process.

Released back in January, the study also showed that 70% of all customers who bought or leased a vehicle from a franchised dealership did not return for continued vehicle service. The reason behind this? Well, they’d rather take their chances with established body shops and independent repair shops. In fact, the study showed customer service satisfaction with dealerships was about on par with the small body shop you may see down the street.

With the average age of vehicles out on the road sitting at around 11.5 years old, it isn’t too surprising that dealership services see a reduction in visits as a car ages. However, on the plus side, dealerships still lead the way against third-party businesses for overall customer visits– but lag in customer service, convenience, and transparency.

Dealership News suggests a few simple fixes for this would be:

  • Providing customers a way to pay online.
  • Schedule appointments with customers via their mobile devices.
  • Picking up and delivering serviced vehicles to and from customer locations.
  • Provide simple repairs to their vehicles outside of the shop setting.
  • Providing customers with information, such as trade-in value, services, price ranges, estimates, and competitive ranges.
  • Give customers a way to monitor their vehicle’s service remotely.

Jim Roche, Vice President of Marketing and Managed Services with Xtime told Fixed Ops Journal: “Dealers have to figure out how to get your vehicle to the service, or the service to your vehicle.” Which is in line with the study that also suggests customers are willing to pay more or travel longer distances if the customer service is great.

 

AutoMobile Technologies

AMT offers software solutions designed to make your dealership more efficient, provide your customers with the information they need, offer you better visibility, and give you peace of mind knowing that your back-office is always up-to-date and you’re building a positive relationship with customers.

ReconMonitor is a state of the art workflow automation software for auto recon, dealerships, and auto marketing companies. ReconMonitor dealership software decreases reconditioning cycle time and increases your control and profitability.

Four Tips to Keep Customers Coming Back to Your Dealership

In 2019, dealerships have a lot of competition when it comes to returning buyers, servicing, and simple repairs. However, if you focus on the customer experience first, you’ll keep them coming back for years to come. Nowadays, it’s not just their time at your dealership that counts, but also their convenience when visiting your website or waiting for their vehicle to be serviced.

The auto industry is evolving every day, and the way your customers experience your business is changing, too. Below, we have four tips that will keep customers coming back to your dealership.

 

Prioritize A Simple, Effective, & Informative Online Experience

Obviously, smartphones are everywhere. We all know it, and because of this fact, the way customers experience your business begins with a Google search. Typically, they’ll see a list of businesses (on Google My Business)  in their area that match what they typed in. They’ll go through, read reviews, look at pictures you upload, and then they’ll go to your website.

Customer service begins at first touch– your website. If it’s easy to navigate, provides useful information, and puts simplifying the customer experience first, then you’re much more likely to gain their business– and keep it.

 

Be Transparent With Customers

First and foremost, this will gain your customer trust. People know when salesmen are just trying to close a deal. It’s also safe to say many dealerships believe front end sales are where all of their money is made. However, in today’s market, it’s not so simple.

If you treat a customer well and prioritize their comfort, they’ll be more likely to come back for business and refer you. Beyond that, when you set expectations,  provide exact costs, estimates, rebates, and work with them through every step of the process, you’ll develop a positive relationship.

However, as you’ll probably guess, this transparency doesn’t end with the in-person meetings. The best dealerships have software in place that will calculate everything a customer needs to know, instantly, for their purchase– including all of the things (and more) that we listed above. Whether it’s for service, or simply offering information, you can send out automated text alerts for customers to stay updated, giving them another easy way to connect with you.

 

Keep In Touch With Customers

Whether it’s through emails, texts, or phone calls, it’s important to check in with customers every now and then. This isn’t to suggest you should pester them on a regular basis (don’t do that), but sending out promotions every now and then is never a bad idea. Beyond that, if you have a social media page, that can be a great way to stay in contact with customers and provide updates on anything you’re doing that they may be interested in.

 

Have A Management Software System In Place

We touched on it a little bit above, but it’s crucial to have a system in place that helps make the customer experience as easy and informative as possible. In 2019, the majority of the most successful dealerships have a software system in place that not only increases operational efficiency, but also can create custom forms, email templates for promotions, provide customers with text message updates on services, and inform them of pricing and estimates on the fly.

 

AutoMobile Technologies

AMT offers software solutions designed to make your dealership more efficient, provide your customers with the information they need, offer you better visibility, and give you peace of mind knowing that your back-office is always up-to-date and you’re building a positive relationship with customers.

ReconMonitor is a state of the art workflow automation software for auto recon, dealerships, and auto marketing companies. ReconMonitor dealership software decreases reconditioning cycle time and increases your control and profitability.

Best Auto Dealer Management Software Picks For 2019

If you’re reading this, you’re likely aware of all of the moving parts involved when running an auto dealership. Complications can arise from a poor workflow system, technicians making mistakes, and even simply going through paperwork. There are many things to consider, and inevitably, even the most successful auto dealerships run into productivity shortfalls.

We know that many of the problems tend to involve employee mistakes and miscommunication. If you’re like most auto dealerships, you’ve seen the shortcomings and have already implemented management software, such as ADP or Reynolds & Reynolds. It’s a step in the right direction; however, systems like the two we just named often have gaps in sales efficiency, inventory, and F&I information.

In auto dealerships, employee mistakes happen. Beyond that, you know there is always room for improvement– whether it’s updating your layout, installing a management software system, or simply eliminating inefficient and unnecessary steps. But management software, such as ADP or Reynolds & Reynolds have their limitations as well. Luckily for you, in 2019, there are plenty of software solutions out there that can help you fully digitize your inventory acquisition, marketing, inventory management, and reconditioning statuses. There are software solutions out there that can fill in those missing gaps.

Finding the right management software can be a long, headache-inducing, process. To help you out, we’ve created a list of our top 4 management tool picks that can make your auto dealership more efficient.

 

For Your Sales And Marketing

Hubspot

Each year, more and more auto dealerships (and companies in general) are seeing the benefits of Hubspot for their businesses. Hubspot is a software solution that helps your auto dealership with online marketing, tracking sales, and managing customer relationships. There are plenty of options within the software suite that you can choose from. While they’re all really helpful and beneficial for your auto dealership, they’re even better together.

In 2019, almost every search for a new vehicle begins with an internet search engine, such as Google or Bing. When people start that search, they’re looking for a business near them that provides the right answers to some of the most common questions buyers have. We call this inbound marketing, and it is one of the best ways to garner new customers and sales. You draw in customers through websites, blogging, social media, brand, and optimizing your content to draw in customers and rank high in search engine results.

Hubspot lets you create and publish content that you can track, measure, and target to generate leads.

 

For Your Social Media

Hubspot Marketing

While Sprout Social was our top social media management software pick just a year ago, Hubspot Marketing has begun to dominate even the social media market.

For any auto dealership’s marketing team, the number one goal has always been to advertise their business across the best and most efficient channels possible. In 2019, the internet (especially social media) is one of the best avenues that currently exist. Almost everyone has a smartphone in their pocket. Beyond that, whether it’s Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, nearly everyone from your grandparents (or parents) to elementary school students use social media platforms.

Hubspot Marketing allows you to to create social media marketing campaigns, has end-to-end marketing automation (publish content in a specific format in timed intervals), let’s you personalize your lead management, has an extremely user-friendly interface, customizable HTML and text messages, and SEO (search engine optimization).

 

For Your Accounting

Intuit Quickbooks

Intuit Quickbooks is probably the most fully fleshed-out accounting software there is. You can purchase Quickbooks for either Windows or Mac. However, as of 2019, Quickbooks is focusing more and more on a cloud-based subscription service where you pay a monthly fee for their software.

While the software is offered for both Mac and Windows, the Mac version doesn’t have nearly as many features as the Windows or cloud-based versions.

Whether your dealership is large or small, Quickbooks is very widely used by almost everyone in the market. It’s very easy to go online and look up information, guides, tutorials, and videos explaining exactly how all of the features work. Quickbooks works well for just about any business and offers quite a few monthly packages that can range from $5 to $25 a month; however, payroll, payment services, and enterprise installations do cost a bit more.

 

For Your Reconditioning Workflow Automation

AutoMobile Technologies ReconMonitor

ReconMonitor is one of the best software solutions out there for auto dealerships. You can monitor and manage any vehicles that are in the reconditioning process. The software allows you to track inventory and auction purchases from the time you acquire the vehicles, all the way to through the process to when they’re front-line ready. It enables tracking of each individual vehicle, the reconditioning stage it is in, the teams responsible, and alerts you to any workflow bottlenecks in real-time.

ReconMonitor is software that allows dealerships to track back-office operations, reconditioning processes, and front-end sales from anywhere on their desktop or mobile device.

Beyond that, it can alert you of potential problems in resource planning or process in order to maintain proper workflow momentum. Unlike common spreadsheets or whiteboards, this software solution is always available, in the office, on the lot, or in the field, at the push of a button.

Top Auto Dealer Management Software Picks for 2018

Automobile Dealership Management Software

Automobile Dealership Management Software in 2018

Running a successful car dealership involves countless moving parts, and within all these revolving pieces, productivity shortfalls are inevitable. Successful dealerships know it’s due to human error– because constant communication between individuals eventually leads to confusion and potential misinformation. So while most dealerships acknowledge these shortcomings and use management software such as ADP or Reynolds & Reynolds and other DMS software, these systems can leave gaps in efficiency when maintaining sales, inventory, and F&I information.

Despite our limitations as individuals and the shortcomings of the automotive management software above, we’re fortunate enough to live in an era where we have several software solutions to fully digitize inventory acquisition, marketing, and even inventory management– filling the gaps along the way.

To help reduce your time researching possible software solutions, we have compiled a top-5 list of management tools every dealership should consider adding.

Sales & Marketing

Hubspot

HubSpot offers various marketing, sales, and customer relationship management software to fit whatever business needs you may have– and while the individual options are powerful, they’re even better when used together.

Obtaining prospects and making sales on new or used vehicles relies on you meeting a customer’s needs and working with their budget.

In today’s world, almost every single car purchase begins with an “internet search.” These searches could yield potential new customers if your dealership provides the “right answers.” This inbound marketing, where you draw in customers through social media, branding, and search engine optimization, revolves around creating and publishing content which attracts visitors and converts them into leads as they travel the sales funnel from awareness to consideration.

HubSpot assists in creating and publishing lead generation content– allowing you to track, measure and target your leads.

Reconditioning & Supply Chain Management

AutoMobile Technologies – ReconMonitor

ReconMonitor software helps dealerships monitor and manage the process of reconditioning pre-owned inventory and auction purchases from Acquisition to Front Line Ready. It can track each individual vehicle, the progress made during all reconditioning phases, help get vehicles ready in a quick and efficient manner, and save dealerships both time and money.

ReconMonitor is web-based dealership supply chain management software that picks up where your DMS leaves off, and gives any dealership stakeholder access to all in-process vehicles, the current repair stages, and deadlines from any device, at any time.

It establishes an early warning system in order to keep repair momentum from the initial acquisition to frontline readiness– tracking each vendor, employee, and repair phase to manage performance while identifying bottlenecks in the reconditioning process.

Social Media

Sprout Social

For dealership marketing teams, the primary goal is to advertise the business in the best and most efficient channels– and social media is the largest avenue to get the word out. Sprout Social allows you to track likes, shares, conversations, new contacts, and more with an incredibly clean and easy design.

Data is the driving force when it comes to marketing and understanding which posts drive the most engagement, and Sprout Social offers various monthly subscriptions to monitor your social media marketing campaign.

Sprout Social’s management screen has tabs for messages, tasks, feeds, publishing, and reports. Messages allow you to read and respond to comments left on various social media platforms all in one inbox. While publishing and feeds allow you to analyze the most viewed content and make postings on a timed schedule.

Reports are manageable both on a macro and micro scale– meaning you can view the analytics for all social media in one location or view them all individually.

If your dealership has a team using social media for customer communication, Sprout Social allows you to track tasks and measure post-performance.

Sprout Social offers in-depth data analysis for all your social media marketing on a simple and sleek platform ready to improve your business’ content.

Dealership Accounting & Sales

NetSuite ERP

NetSuite ERP sells itself as a tool to assist any size business to expand. Its Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software provides planning and management tools to help automate and simplify business processes in real time.

Netsuite lets individuals at the dealership automate various tasks, enabling data collection, viewing, and sharing without interrupting other functions.

Since NetSuite is cloud-based (meaning all information is saved online in a cloud server), updates, maintenance, support, and customization are all available and automatic across all devices using the software. To elaborate on customization, the package offers the ability to fully edit processes to work as efficiently as possible for your dealership.

NetSuite provides financial reporting, financial planning, revenue recognition (for compliance with accounting standards), global accounting and consolidation (for transparency), billing (to improve accuracy and remove errors), and real-time financial monitoring to drive success.

For Smaller Dealerships: Dealer DMS alternative

Everlogic

Everlogic is a Gold Certified Partner for Quickbooks with a complete management system designed with small dealerships and businesses in mind. Everlogic has several integrated modules which show sales, F&I, parts, services, and administration departments all under one roof. It’s known for its excellence in customer service, and much like the other options above, it’s easy to use, understand, and update all current business processes.

Summary

If recent reports are correct, the two or three-year new car sales tidal wave has begun to slow down. Dealerships will scramble in order to find solutions to boost sales and bolster profitability. The competent and savvy dealer will stay one step ahead, see the trends, and use the best and latest software available. These are our top picks for 2018, and we hope they assist your dealership to increase productivity and profitability this year and beyond.