In this digital age don’t forget the offline threat

  30 August 2016

It’s fair to say that the current auto retailing landscape is changing. Some might still be grappling with the need for even the most basic of an online presence, but for the rest it must seem like the threats often outweigh the opportunities. Sure, the seasonal registration plate change is around the corner. If you and your team are good, the logistics of this will have been dealt with some time ago. What’s increasingly difficult to predict are the various retail trends that could harm your future profitability.

Everyone’s focus is, rightly, on the future of online retailing. From the now familiar aggregator model to new players from outside the traditional auto retailing community, constantly assessing these threats is hard but necessary to avoid being a footnote in retailing history. 

However, for all the hype surrounding the likes of Amazon, JP Morgan and a plethora of well-funded start-ups attempting to eat your lunch, it remains important to keep tabs on traditional independent rivals as they too become more sophisticated in their desire to attract customers. 

A case in point is the Independent Garage Association’s move to provide consumers with financial protection if there is a dispute over work done to a customer’s vehicle. Its a great way to boost consumer confidence and goes a long way to challenging any negative views people may have regarding independents. The flip side is the narrowing of the perception gap between franchised and independent operators and, crucially, the potential reduction of your competitive advantage. Forget the Internet for a second; this is happening in your local area. And another reason to look up from the keyboard once in a while.

Iain Dooley

Editor, Agenda

Auto Retail Network

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