In our personal lives, we are comfortable with finding the technology that works for us and the way we live. We can try new apps, keep or discard them dependent upon the value they add. Technology is increasingly disposable; if it does the job well we keep it and if not, well we find a better alternative. Software vendors know this and know that to be retained they must keep earning our loyalty. So why is our personal software ethos so often different in our business lives?
In a play on the phrase ‘less is more’, technology costs less and does more; it also comes with a whole lot less in terms or restrictions of use. I can add and remove apps from interesting vendors in a few clicks, link to services and data through secure API gateways and increasingly I’m less likely to be tied into long-terms service contracts. Flexibility is king and this is what motor retailers need in a challenging market.
For motor retailers, a one size fits all approach is not enough. In promotional activity, the approach must be fresh, exciting and often targeted delivering bespoke segmented offers to a customer who wants to engage with their car buying process online.
By way of an example, historically, finance on a motor dealer website was just a mention of ‘finance available’, then product information was added, next up came explanatory product videos and then onto finance calculators. Now, we can help dealers by providing used car offer technology that enables dealers to provide bespoke finance offers at individual car level. It’s proving to be a great tool for moving over-age stock, or simply creating customer interest; it’s the old ‘Car of the Week’ on a raised gantry special offer for the digital age!
So, as the next era of finance technology becomes available, being stuck in a long-term contract that means you can’t use it, is not what any progressive dealer wants. This is just one example, legacy systems remain in many showrooms when something better is available – and like my first PC, the latest options are more powerful, effective and affordable.
We see the confidence of companies such as Netflix, which offers a simple monthly billing period that can be ended at any time, with charges only up to the end of the month, as a guiding pioneer. Customers know they are never ‘locked-in’; instead, they stay loyal because they have access to quality and innovative products combined with great customer service. This is the recipe for success that in the dealer technology market, we need to learn from.
As a software provider, we see the speed and pace of change as an opportunity, not a threat. We want to be on our toes and innovating continuously. If a business has a long-term contract in place, this energy and creativity can all too easily be replaced by inertia and procrastination. In an ever faster operating environment, this simply is not the way ahead. After all, in a B2C market, it would no longer be considered acceptable because an alternative is just an App Store click away. We must think the same way.