Posts Tagged Dealership Management

ADM Community Ranked 10 of 100 Top Auto Blogs by Independent Source

The dramatically tall Infographic that appears below showcases an independently produced and ranked directory of the Top 100 Automotive Blogs selected for recommendation to visit, subscribe, join and follow in 2013…

When the author (Ron Mays) who assembled and created the infographic that shows this ranking of the “Top 100 Automotive Blogs and Networks for 2013” first contacted Ralph Paglia, we did not know what to expect. Ralph provided Ron Mays with the information he requested. When the list was announced by CouponAudit and the below Infographic published, all of us associated with the Automotive Digital Marketing Professional Community were pleasantly surprised to see that the ADM Professional Community came in at number 10 out of 100 sites that were selected and ranked.

The infographic that Ron Mays and the CouponAudit team created to display this ranking of auto industry and car business networking UGC sites is available below:

Top 100 Fashion blogs to follow

An infographic by the team at CouponAudit

In above infographic, you can view top 100 Auto Blogs to follow in 2013, which CouponAudit ranked according to quality of posts.

Visit and join the Automotive Digital Marketing Professional Community at www.automotivedigitalmarketing.com

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Sometimes It’s Better To Cut Your Losses – Automotive Digital Marketing ProCom

Sometimes It’s Better To Cut Your Losses – Automotive Digital Marketing

Richard Holland writes: “Through the actions of this call center rep, and a customer with a recorder at hand, over 5 million people have now listened to this call.”

While it’s hard to believe that this is a typical experience, it only takes one extraordinary experience to make a huge difference. If that experience is good, wonderful things happen. If that experience is poor, there is always the chance that our always-connected world makes your business a celebrity – but not in the way you want to be known.

Great companies realize that great experiences can create more business for them.

They also know when it’s time to say goodbye to a customer who wants to leave. Providing a great customer experience is absolutely important to customer retention and loyalty. Smart business people also realize that providing a great customer experience for someone who doesn’t want to do business with you anymore can be just as important. That last impression can be vital.

How you say goodbye is just as important as how you say hello.

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Automotive Website Awards (AWA) Book is a Must Have for Car Dealers

The Automotive Website Awards (AWA) reception and celebratory event was held in conjunction with the 2014 NADA Convention in New Orleans.

Regardless of what anyone’s opinion is about the merits of the companies selected by Brian Pasch to receive the awards presented at this event, there is no other reference document, book, guide, website, Top Ten List or any other compilation of information regarding the companies that supply car dealers with eCommerce websites and associated peripherals that comes close to this book… As a reference tool used to see “Who’s Who” as an automotive supplier, the AWA Research Report for Car Dealers is without any competition… Neither is there anything out there that could serve as a reasonable substitute.

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So… With all that said, is this book worth the $50 cost to buy it from PCG Consulting? I have heard it said that actions speak louder than words. I purchased two of these books at the event in New Orleans and I paid full retail of $100. Every car dealer in America who considers Digital Marketing to be a core competency requirement for their business should order and retain this book… Every year.

If you are a Car Dealer then you need to invest the 50 bucks that this book sells for… The Automotive Website Awards #AWA2014 may not always pick the suppliers that I would have chosen, but the research done, which is published in this book, is the most comprehensive review of dealer website suppliers available from any source. Buy this book and review over 50 digital marketing suppliers who have their information listed, dealer customers cited and an assessment of their products and services shown. Learn more at http://ADMPC.com (photo taken at Automotive Media Partners, LLC)

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Yes, QR Codes Do Work – Automotive Digital Marketing Professional Community


See our QR Code in action. Scan the above QR Code to visit our Digital Dealer 13 site.

QR codes are all the rage, but do they work?

According to my Cobalt client, Lezley Pumphrey, BDC Manager of Motor City Buick GMC, the answer is yes. Her dealership started using QR codes in November 2011, directed at the Motor City Buick GMC Gateway page for GMC.

To date, they have seen a total of over 500 visitors from this new marketing method, a nice bump in traffic.

Pumphrey states, “At Motor City Buick GMC, we strongly believe in mobile traffic. Consumers no longer wait for an email response from dealerships. They grab their mobile device, research the dealership, and walk-in. The more mobile presence we can get, the better. We are always looking for ways to increase our QR code and Mobile website traffic.”

Lezley is not the only one seeing more traffic thanks to QR codes. In general, I would say dealers have gotten an average of 50-100 extra visitors per month through QR codes if they actively use them. These numbers aren’t huge, but the traffic is relevant and over time makes an impact. In addition these numbers are only expected to grow as the rise of QR codes continues.

In fact, a June 2012 Econsultancy Survey reports that 1 in 2 auto industry marketers are using QR codes to encourage customers to interact with their brand.

As with any emerging media, the big challenge is how to educate your clients and successfully incorporate QR codes into your in-store processes. Here are a few ideas:

  • Incorporate QR code giveaways at dealership events
  • Add a QR code to the last picture of vehicles details page
  • Incorporate QR codes on newspaper ads, monthly newsletters, direct mailers, etc
  • Add QR codes on vehicle stickers
  • Incorporate a QR code on signage in your service department so that people can scan while they wait
  • Place QR codes on the back of business cards for the sales staff – this way they can see a live view of inventory right away if they need it

Making QR codes a natural part of all your marketing can pay off in unprecedented ways when it comes to closing individual car sales, but you have to put in the time and effort to educate your sales staff and your clients.

Just think: a man may be interested in purchasing a car, but he needs to go home and talk to his wife first. The salesperson should have him scan the QR code for that vehicle in inventory so he can quickly and easily show his wife the car when he gets home. In essence, the dealership controls exactly what this man sees when he scans. This can have compelling aftereffects if the consumer is educated on its purpose. The key is to ensure the sales associate informs the consumer on how to later use the QR code.

Remember, innovation and education go hand in hand. In order to be successful, you need to educate both your staff and your shoppers about how to use these new codes. Start internally at the dealership. Train your staff on how to use QR codes and make sure they are comfortable using them. The same goes for your customers; since QR codes are new to many, it helps to incorporate clear instructions like “Scan this code on your phone to see 327 fresh-on-the-lot vehicles!” You may even want to have a link with a guide on how to scan a QR code. The clearer and easier you make it, the easier it will be to integrate.

Note: Motor City Buick GMC’s QR Codes come from their Cobalt Digital Advertising Packages. They get one QR code per month per package that integrates with their current incentives. They have used these QR codes on mailers, websites, and in the dealership. Learn more about our QR code offering today.

Do you have a great QR story? Share your story below.

By Jessica Terpstra

Cobalt Digital Advertising Analyst II

Original article can be found here.

via Yes, QR Codes Do Work – Automotive Digital Marketing Professional Community.

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Should Managed Chat Be Part of a Lead Acquisition Budget?

Should Managed Chat Be Part of a Lead Acquisition Budget?

 

Lead Acquisition Budget: Are Managed Chat Service Providers A Lead Source?

I was speaking with an Internet Sales Manager a few days ago and we were discussing the budget she managed for purchasing leads from the traditional 3rd party lead providers such as Dealix, Autobytel, Automotive.com, CarsDirect, etc. The question arose as to which lead providers should be considered reasonably eligible for allocation from a budget category earmarked for acquiring sales leads. It was interesting to me that she seemed to consider AutoTrader.com to be a lead provider, when in fact, AutoTrader has never sold leads, nor will they acknowledge being in the lead selling business… AutoTrader has staked their business model around being an advertising channel whose media is focused on showcasing a dealer’s inventory. So, why do some people incorrectly list AutoTrader as a lead source?

 

The simple answer is that most of us will evaluate our results from AutoTrader based on the number of sales opportunities generated (Leads). Just because that is not what AutoTrader is selling, does not mean that leads are not what we endeavor to buy when we cut a big check each month to ATC.  This raises a few questions about Lead Acquisition budgets for car dealerships… When is a supplier considered eligible to being allocated budget from an Internet Manager, or Marketing Director managed lead acquisition budget? Which types of suppliers should be considered?

  

If there is one category of supplier that has created a whole new source of leads that did not exist ten years ago, it is the services offered by managed chat application providers.  These “Chat” apps can be placed on a dealer’s website, as an email link, on a dealer’s various blog sites and microsites, even in some cases on a dealer’s Facebook Page as well as other social media channels.  In almost every case, suppliers such as Contact At Once, ActiveEngage and CarChat24 will be evaluated based on the number of leads they generate for the dealership as a percentage of total chat sessions and unique visitors to the dealer’s websites, microsites, social media channels and emails opened.  The big difference between advertising channels such as AutoTrader.com and Cars.com, and the major Managed Chat Service providers is that AutoTrader/Cars.com et al has never embraced the leads generated model as their value proposition, yet the Managed Chat Service providers have… So, why would we consider AutoTrader/Cars.com a lead source, and not put the Chat providers in that category of expense?

  

While preparing this article I contacted Shereef Moawad [shereef@carchat24.com] at CarChat24 and asked him for some aggregated performance metrics around Managed Chat Service as a lead generation model. There are two reasons I reached out to CarChat24; the first is that they are the only Managed Chat Service provider that I know of which has worked for dealers on a performance based fee structure that used quantity of leads generated to determine the dealer’s cost for their software and services. The second reason is that CarChat24 has been a sponsor of the ADM Professional Community for longer than any other company, and I am very comfortable with their professional competence, business integrity and the objective validity of their data. Besides that, the company is run by a couple of US Marines (retired) with a remarkably clear focus on exactly what their mission is and the execution of tasks required to deliver measurable results.  

  

Shereef provided me with the following aggregated performance metrics and ratio analysis based on a randomly generated sample of 100 dealers and data collected over a six month time period:

100 CarChat24 Performance Plan Dealers – 6 months of aggregated data

Monthly Dealer Cost Range:

  • Highest Average Monthly Payment for Leads = $2,840.00
  • Lowest Average Monthly Payment for Leads = $85.00

Monthly Average Total Cost for Chat Generated Sales Leads = $489.92

Monthly Average Quantity of Chat Generated Sales Leads per Dealer = 32    
(Note: doesn’t include free service, parts, and query leads)

Monthly Average Cost per Lead = $15.31

 

Taking a look at the above numbers, it is easy to extrapolate comparisons with traditional third party lead providers from a cost/benefit perspective… Since the leads a Managed Chat Service Provider generates are not only exclusive, they are also coming from visitors to the dealer’s various websites and online assets. This means it is reasonable to say they should provide the dealership’s sales team with a higher closing rate than 3rd party leads which are usually being sold to multiple dealerships, and being churned to generate additional leads from the same customers. If the dealer is able to close these exclusive first party Managed Chat generated leads at a 10% average rate, then the resulting cost per sale, based on a $15.31 average cost per lead  is $153.10 Per Vehicle Retailed (PVR).  This is considerably less than the NADA average advertising cost per vehicle retailed (PVR of more that $600.00

 

Of course, we also had to invest advertising in getting traffic to the sites where the managed chat services are provided, but from a pure cost per lead perspective, the use of Managed Chat Services as a lead source looks very viable and fiscally prudent.  

  

It is worth noting how the average cost per lead came in at $15.31 for a performance based model that uses leads generated to invoice the dealership. Here is how that works… CarChat24 uses a variable cost per lead depending on the characteristics of the lead. This is based on the concept that certain lead types have more value to a car dealer.  In the case of CarChat24, the lead types and costs are:

  • Email Leads @ $10.00 each
  • Phone Leads @ $20.00 each (they usually get an email address as well)
  • VIP Appointment Leads @ $25.00 each (they usually get email and phone number, requires a set date and time to be at the dealership)

 

The average cost of $15.31 for the 100 dealers in our aggregate is the result of the following lead type averages:

  • 62% of Leads generated were phone leads
  • 31% of Leads generated were email leads
  • 7% of Leads generated were VIP Appointments.

 

When analyzing lead generation, there are always questions about whether or not these leads are “incremental” and do they come at the expense of other forms these very same customers would have used to contact a dealership if the chat service was not provided.  In almost every case, research and marketing studies have found that leads generated via Managed Chat Applications on websites are indeed incrementally additional leads.  In other words, the leads provided by Managed Chat Services do not come at the expense of the original website’s form fill conversion… They are a net gain in overall volume of leads the site is generating… It is safe to say that Managed Chat increases every web site’s overall visitor-to-lead conversion rate.

 

When the facts are considered and a performance based model is available, it is difficult NOT to justify allocating lead acquisition budget for Managed Chat Service Providers as a valid lead source. If you examine the logic in a little deeper detail, there is a strong case to be made that Managed Chat Services are NOT advertising and are in fact a lead generation source. You could even say that one of the outcomes from a dealership’s advertising should be increased chat sessions handled by your chat service provider, along with an uptick in leads generated.  So, consider allocating a portion of your lead generation budget to a Managed Chat Service provider… It makes sense and will help you generate more dollars of profit for your dealership by providing additional lead volume from the most valuable type of leads you can get… Exclusive First Party Leads!  

 

 

via Automotive Digital Marketing Professional Community.

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CRM Triggered Personalized Customer Emails Outperform Bulk Email Campaigns for Car Dealers

CRM Triggered Personalized Customer Emails Outperform Bulk Email Campaigns for Car Dealers

 

Personalized Promotional Offers and Event/Time CRM Triggered Emails Seen Delivering Stronger Results than Mass Email Campaigns for Car Dealers and Automotive Marketers

The results stand in apparent contrast to study findings from MailerMailer last year. That study found that emails with the subject line personalized had lower open and click rates than those without personalization. The difference could be attributable to the sample set analyzed. The MailerMailer study took a broad view, looking at opt-in emails as a whole, while the Experian study analyzed promotional and triggered emails only.

I have seen where time spent detailing out the email templates that are triggered by lead status changes in a dealership CRM system creates a highly effective sales and marketing automation strategy. In my own personal experience, the many hours invested in creating custom email templates that are specific for such CRM activities as leaving a voice mail, trade-in estimate, payment quotes, changes in program interest rates for the specific vehicle the customer is interested in, or sending a price quote will pay off with a robust ROI. Customers receive a steady stream of personalized messages that are triggered by an event or timing that is predetermined and logically expected by the customer… When done properly, these automated highly personalized CRM triggered emails will elicit a thank you from customers for the diligence a salesperson has exercised in staying in contact with them. Quite simply, there are few other sales automation systems appropriate for car dealerships with as positive a result as robustly customized CRM implementations.

   

For CRM system triggered emails, those with the subject line personalized had an average open rate of 29.2%, about 25% higher than the rate for those broadcast email campaigns without personalization (23.3%).

  

As for unique click rates, personalized emails outperformed their counterparts for both promotional emails (3.2% vs. 2.3%) and triggered emails (6.7% vs. 4.4%).

   

The Experian study also finds personalization providing a significant lift in transaction rates and revenue per email:

  • For broadcast type promotional mailings, transaction rates were 7 times higher (0.35% vs. 0.05%), while for CRM triggered mailings, they were more than twice as large (0.62% vs. 0.25%)
  • For promotional mailings, revenue per email was more than 6 times higher ($0.26 vs. $0.04), and for triggered messages, they were 63% higher ($0.31 vs. $0.19).

Source 1: MarketingCharts.com/personalized-promotional-and-triggered-emails-s…

Dealer-to-Customer Emails:
Data Shows Longer Subject Lines Get More Clicks

These emails have a CTOR 94.7% above the average (and click and open rates 276.4% and 93.2% above-average, respectively). B2B emails show a similar trend, though not quite as clear cut. Emails with subject line length of 20 characters performed above-average for all 3 metrics, though the rates generally dipped after that until recovering from 90 characters in length and up. The peak for open rate was 20 characters (24.6% above-average), while the peak for click rate was for 140 characters (82.7% above-average) and for CTOR was also 140 characters (72% above-average).

E-commerce Emails Show Mixed Trends

Data from Adestra’s subject line study indicates that when it comes to the e-commerce sector, the results are fairly mixed. Subject lines 110 characters in length performed best for open rates (122.4% above-average), but those 70-characters-long did best for click rates (91.1% above-average), while those with 30 characters achieved the best CTOR (17.4% above-average), despite the latter having below-average open and click rates. Overall, subject lines with 70 characters appeared to do the best, with above-average performance in each metric.
  

For the events sector, short subject lines (20-30 characters) got the highest open rates, while longer subject lines (120-150 characters) got the best click rates and CTOR. Publishing emails displayed the same pattern as events emails, though for charity emails, short subject lines had the highest open, click, and click-to-open rates.
  

Overall, across the 6 sectors studied, despite an open rate peak for emails with 20 characters, longer subject lines (100+ characters) appeared to deliver better open, click, and click-to-open rates. This compares with recent studies from MailerMailer and Informz, which found shorter subject lines to clearly have the best open rates, though with mixed results for click rates.
  

Word Count Results Similar

Further results from the Adestra show that word count length has a similar effect to that of character count, but is amplified. Email subject lines that are a single word have a spike in open, click, and click-to-open rates relative to the average, though all metrics dip in response rates alongside increasing word length, until 15 words and longer, when they begin to rise and hit new peaks.
  

Looking at the results by sector, some interesting patterns emerge. For e-commerce emails, 1-word subject lines had the highest open rate, but 4-word lines had the best highest CTOR relative to the average. For events emails, shorter word counts (2-5) delivered the best open rates relative to the average, but longer word counts (19 and up) delivered both the best click and click-to-open rates relative to the average.
   

For the publishing sector, the results were clearer: longer subject lines delivered generally higher-than-average open, click, and click-to-open rates, aside from a spike at 2 words. For the charity sector, short subject lines did well for open and click rates, and longer counts (14 words and up) performed worst for click-to-open rates.
  

In the B2B and B2C sectors, open, click, and click-to-open rates were generally better for longer word counts, though 2-word subject lines performed best overall in the B2B sector.

“Coupon” Fares Worst Among Offer Terms

Notably, the study finds that for the e-commerce sector, the word “coupon” has open rates that are 55.6% below the average for offers emails, with click rates also 85.8% below-average and CTOR 68.1% below-average. This appears to be in direct contradiction to results from an Epsilon study also released in July, which found that the keyword “coupon” was tops for email opens. However, that study only measured the 2011 holiday season, which may explain the discrepancy in results.

  

According to Adestra, the words “sale” and “% off” performed best in click rates and CTOR relative to the average for offer emails, and also perform among the best for open rates.

   

Other Findings:

  • For the events sector, using currency (particularly $ signs), first names, “thousands,” or “millions” can have an uplift for all 3 metrics.
       
  • For the publishing sector, “video” and “exclusive” perform very well relative to the average, while the terms “newsletter,” “research”, “report,” “forecast,” and “intelligence,” all perform significantly below-average.
       
  • For the charity sector, the words “appeal” and “donate” fare poorly compared to the average, while “give” has above-average results.
       
  • For the B2B sector, currency symbols, as well as words such as “profit,” “revenue,” “turnover,” and “referral” perform markedly above-average, while the term “B2B” shows very poor response rates.
       
  • For the B2C sector, “sale,” “% off,” “video,” “exclusive,” and “new” perform best, while “coupon,” “half price,” “free,” and currency symbols are below-average.
       
  • According to a July 2012 report [pdf] from Experian, including the word “exclusive” in the subject line can provide a lift of 14% in promotion mailings (15.9% with vs. 14% without). Similarly, subject lines including “top 10″ or “top 5″ deliver open rates 13% higher than promotional emails without them (16.1% vs. 14.3%).
        
  • Also per the Experian findings, emails asking customers to rate and review purchased items generate 2 times higher open rates, 39% higher click rates, 22% higher transaction rates, and 32% higher revenue per email.

About the Data: The Adestra study campaigns had more than 5,000 recipients per campaign, but were not limited to large campaigns. The study was conducted across the client basis without regard to list size.

 

via  Automotive Digital Marketing Professional Community.

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9 Million Reasons Why VDP Views Are The Metric That Matters – Automotive Marketing

9 Million Reasons Why VDP Views Are The Metric That Matters

Posted by Cobalt

Shaun Kehrberg

by Shaun Kehrberg, Product Marketing Manager, Digital Advertising

VDP Views Decrease Inventory Time On Lot

Just 12+ more VIN views could mean 44% LESS time on your lot

The verdict is in: if they view the highlights, you’ll view the taillights. In other words, the more car shoppers engage with your Vehicle Details Pages (VDPs), the quicker your cars will move off your lot— and that’s a fact.

Based on an eight month study of 9 million VDP’s, 125 million website visits, and 250 million online actions, our automotive consumer research conclusively shows that:

  • VDP views and time spent on VDP’s are 2 of the top 4 online sales predictors

  • VDP’s with 20-30 pageviews spend 29% less time on the lot

  • VDP’s with more than 30 pageviews spend 44% less time on the lot

So how do you best position your automotive digital marketing strategy to be a VIN factory? We’ll address just that in an all-new Cobalt series: The Down & Dirty on Dynamic Inventory Merchandising. In this series, we’ll tell you how to harness the power of multichannel marketing to turn your dealer website into a VDP hot spot.

Stay tuned for Part 1, when we look at the impact of Dynamic Inventory Merchandising in your dealership’s retargeting ads.

Source: Cobalt Business Intelligence VDP Study, 2012

About the Author
Shaun Kehrberg

Shaun Kehrberg is the Product Marketing Manager, Digital Advertising at Cobalt. He is focused on helping dealers understand the power of today’s advertising technology and the collective value of the Cobalt digital marketing experience. Shaun can be reached

via Automotive Digital Marketing Professional Community.

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Schedule an ELEAD1ONE Demo at NADA 2013 in Orlando – Proud Sponsor of the ADM Professional Community

Schedule an ELEAD1ONE Demo at NADA 2013 in Orlando – Proud Sponsor of the ADM Professional Community

 

Going to NADA 2013? Schedule an ELEAD1ONE Demo Today!

NADA 2013 – Schedule a Demo to Learn More About ELEAD1ONE’s Exciting New Products and Enhancements!

ELEAD Virtual BDC 


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ELEAD1ONE 500-seat, automotive-only Virtual BDC offers dealers the exact outbound and inbound call package needed to increase profits. Our professional phone specialists are experts in appointment generation, follow up and maximizing customer relations. Visit our website for more information on Virtual BDC.

ELEAD CRM – Automotive CRM


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ELEAD CRM is the fastest and most stable automotive CRM solution proven to attract, manage and retain more customers. Performance-driven lead management and sales automation solution maximizes every sales and service opportunity. Visit our website for more information on ELEAD CRM.

 ELEAD Digital – Digital Marketing


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ELEAD Digital provides dealers a more cost effective and results-driven approach to monitor web presence, marketing efforts and social media.  The ELEAD1ONE full function websites and digital strategies produce much higher lead and conversation rates.  Visit our website for more information on ELEAD Digital.

AutoPilot – Service Marketing


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Autopilot provides full execution and fulfillment of all email, direct mail, text and live call service marketing. Strategically automated service marketing campaigns designed to increase customer retention and generate maximum fixed operation profits. Visit our website for more information on AutoPilot.

 GoldDigger and Perfect Prospect – Data Mining


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ELEAD1ONE blends our state-of-the-art Virtual BDC with best-in-class data mining technology to deliver more ready-to-buy sales and service customers to car dealerships every day. Provides the greatest return on marketing investments. Visit our website for more information on GoldDigger and Perfect Prospect.


Learn Why ELEAD1ONE is the Best Solution Proven to Sell More Cars and Maximize Lifetime Customer Profitability!

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via Automotive Digital Marketing Professional Community

 

NADA Convention 2011 in San Francisco
NADA Convention 2011 in San Francisco (Photo credit: DigitalRalph)
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Dealer Management Systems: Dominion DMX News and Information – Automotive Digital Marketing Professional Community

Dominion DMX Dealer Management System News and Information:

With Dominion Dealer Solutions putting together a credible offering in the way of Dealer Management Systems (DMS) American Car Dealers now have more choices.  Although there have been numerous start-up attempts at penetrating the lucrative Automotive DMS business, many of which have failed, the new Dominion DMX suite of dealer management solutions may provide both a product and a company to back it up that dealers will feel more confident when considering alternatives during their next DMS contract renewal cycle.

 

Automotive News published an article on Sunday December 2, 2012 about the new Dominion DMX announcement as follows:

Dealers Get New Management System Option

Dominion-Microsoft product battles giants ADP, Reynolds

Automotive News December 2, 2012

Dominion Dealer Solutions, a major dealership software company, is launching a dealership management system to challenge heavyweights ADP Dealer Services and Reynolds and Reynolds.

 

The product, built on Microsoft’s newest business and accounting platform, is the first significant new DMS offering in more than a decade. The venture was unveiled Sunday.

But the partnership faces a daunting challenge making inroads against Reynolds and ADP, which have rolled out new products in recent months and hold dealerships tight with long-term contracts.

DMS is the main operating software for dealerships, helping to manage everything from payroll and accounting to inventory and desking, which itemizes the costs of vehicle deals.

Microsoft, which provided the underlying Dynamics AX Windows-based software for the new product, independently tried to enter the DMS business around 2006. That development never took off, though, said David Graff, Microsoft director, U.S. manufacturing industry. “We kind of got ahead of ourselves,” he said.

The new suite of software, called Dominion DMX, will host data off-site — in the cloud — which should save dealerships computer-maintenance money and hassle.

Dominion DMX will be priced similarly to products offered by ADP and Reynolds, said John Reed, vice president of Dominion DMS, a new Dominion unit.

ADP and Reynolds often charge more than $5,000 monthly per store in service fees.

Reed, 47, is a former Microsoft director of automotive retail who participated in the company’s canceled DMS program.

He said Dominion’s new DMS will have its own dedicated sales force. Microsoft, which will receive user licensing fees from the partnership, also intends to show it at industry events and through other marketing channels, Graff said.

Dominion, with annual sales of more than $100 million, has been a longtime vendor to dealers for Web sites, customer-retention software and digital marketing services. It sells to about 11,000 dealerships.

Dominion President Robert Berndt said, “We see this becoming one of our core products.”

But the new product faces a battle against ADP and Reynolds, Berndt acknowledges.

ADP and Reynolds each hold about a 40 percent DMS share of the nation’s nearly 18,000 new-vehicle dealers. Moreover, various small DMS vendors aggressively seek new customers, often with low prices, including DealerTrack, Auto/Mate Dealership Systems, AutoSoft Dealership Management System and Quorum Dealer Management Systems.

Switching DMS vendors disrupts operations as employees learn the new system, said Paul Gillrie, vice president of Paul Gillrie Institute, which helps dealers negotiate with software vendors.

“The learning curve is about nine months. That’s when employees stop complaining about the new system,” said Gillrie, who is based in Tampa, Fla.

Other barriers to entry include long dealer contracts of five years or more and the complexity required to integrate a vendor’s software with auto manufacturers’ computer systems, Gillrie said. That integration is needed for vehicle orders and for factories to track inventories, parts, incentives and other business dealings.

Gillrie added that DMS vendors are selling into a market that has shrunk from about 22,000 franchises to 18,000 today.

Dominion’s Berndt said the new partnership expects a deliberate launch.

Dominion is piloting the system at a dealership in January, he said. And it will make a major promotional push of the new product at the National Automobile Dealers Association annual convention in Orlando in February.

Berndt said 2013 will be a ramp-up year with many more installations expected in 2014. He declined to predict how many dealers would buy the product over the next two years.

Dominion started working on a DMS with Microsoft about 18 months ago, said Morgan Wheaton, Microsoft dynamics director, global partners. The platform used for the DMS, Microsoft Dynamics AX, is a comprehensive suite of accounting, inventory and customer-retention tools. Dominion then customized the software for dealerships and supplemented it with functions such as desking, finance and insurance, service management and parts inventory.

Because the new DMS is built on a Microsoft platform, it will fit easily with other Microsoft products used at dealerships, including e-mail and linking phones with data bases, known as telephony, Berndt said.

The new system also will be enabled for mobile use, allowing salespeople and managers to access data from outside the store.

Dominion prepared for the Microsoft venture with the August 2011 acquisition of a small DMS vendor in Alabama, Automotive Computer Services.

The company, which was absorbed by Dominion, has 400 dealerships as customers, including 100 General Motors dealerships.

Reed said Automotive Computer Services gave Dominion the expertise to work with Microsoft — it uses a Microsoft Windows format — and it has integrations with virtually all auto manufacturers operating in the United States and Canada, except Volkswagen.

Dominion plans to continue offering to dealers the software of Automotive Computer Services, known as Dominion Access, even when Dominion DMX rolls out, Reed said.

Dominion Access, with fewer capabilities than Dominion DMX, costs much less at about $1,500 to $2,000 monthly per store in service fees. Reed said it still has a market among smaller stores and dealers looking for a basic system. 

 

You can reach David Barkholz at dbarkholz@crain.com. — Follow David on Twitter and

Read more at the source: http://www.autonews.com/

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From the New York Herald Online:

Dominion Dealer Solutions and Microsoft Establish Strategic Relationship for Next-Generation Dealer Management System

New DMS based on Microsoft Dynamics AX to drive enhanced customer experience and operational efficiency for automotive dealers and manufacturers

 

NORFOLK, VA.— Dominion Dealer Solutions and Microsoft have established a strategic relationship to collaborate and create a next-generation Dealer Management System (DMS) based on Microsoft Dynamics AX. The two companies are combining the powerful foundation of Microsoft Dynamics AX with Dominion Dealer Solutions’ extensive automotive retail expertise and assets into an industry leading solution that will enable automotive dealers and manufacturers to enhance customer experience, increase revenue and profit and drive operational efficiencies. The solution will utilize Microsoft Dynamics AX, along with Microsoft server solutions and tools and the Windows Azure platform to take advantage of the efficiencies and flexibility offered by Microsoft’s public cloud offerings.

“Our strategy with Microsoft Dynamics AX is to provide a robust platform for game-changing solutions like the new Dealer Management System from Dominion,” said Christian Pedersen, General Manager of Microsoft Dynamics AX. “The power and flexibility of Microsoft Dynamics AX enables partners like Dominion to rapidly and cost-effectively develop line-of-business solutions that drive accelerated business value for their customers.”

 

“Combining Dominion’s experience crafted through relationships with over 11,000 rooftops and Microsoft’s technology will result in a tremendous, forward-looking Dealer Management System,” said Robert Berndt, President of Dominion Dealer Solutions. “The automotive DMS market has been dominated by large, legacy systems that severely limit the ability of dealers and manufacturers to meet customers’ expectations and differentiate themselves from their competition. Our relationship with Microsoft gives us the capability to meet the needs of the market, and more, on day one. Dealers who use our DMS will experience flexibility they never dreamed possible, and they will be positioned for the future of automotive retailing.”

The relationship between Microsoft and Dominion is part of Microsoft Business Solutions’ strategic Global Independent Solutions Vendor (ISV) program, resulting in collaboration in R&D, marketing and sales. Dominion selected Microsoft Dynamics AX as the platform for the DMS, which offers the combination of industry leading ERP capabilities required for a DMS, along with rich integration and custom development capabilities that are ideal for a meeting the dynamic needs of a rapidly evolving retail market.

“We are excited to welcome Dominion as a member of the Global ISV program,” stated Doug Kennedy, Vice President of Partners for Microsoft Dynamics. “Their long history of delivering value for their customers aligns directly with our goals for the initiative.”

The new dealer management system will be initially rolled out to new vehicle dealerships in the United States, starting in Q1 2013.

 

About Microsoft Dynamics

Microsoft Dynamics solutions empower your people to be more productive and your systems to last longer and scale as your organization grows, while enabling you to derive the insights necessary to respond quickly in an ever-changing world.

 

About Microsoft

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.

 

About Dominion Dealer Solutions

Dominion Dealer Solutions helps car dealers attract, retain, and service customers for life. Dominion Dealer Solutions’ marketing performance system includes: lead generation, mobile apps, reputation management solutions, web-based customer relationship and lead management tools; custom digital marketing tools including websites, SEO, SEM, digital advertising, specialized data aggregation; and inventory management analytics including market reports. Every OEM and more than 60 percent of auto dealers nationwide utilize the Dominion Dealer Solutions’ technologies to solve their marketing challenges. For more information, visit our website, like us on Facebook,Pinterest or YouTube, or follow us on Twitter.

 

About Dominion Enterprises

Dominion Enterprises is a leading marketing services and publishing company serving the automotive, recreational and commercial vehicle, real estate, apartment rental, employment, parenting, and travel industries. The company’s businesses provide a comprehensive suite of technology-based marketing solutions including Internet advertising, lead generation, customer relationship management, website design and hosting, and data management services. The company has more than 45 market-leading websites reaching more than 17 million unique visitors monthly. Millions of For Rent®, Employment Guide® and HotelCoupons.com® publications are distributed across the U.S. each year. Headquartered in Norfolk, Virginia, the company has 3,300 employees in more than 145 offices in the United States, Canada, England and Italy. For more information, visit DominionEnterprises.com

Media Contact:

Dominion Dealer Solutions

Peyton Hoffman

Media & Industry Relations

757-351-7271 (office)

757-748-4533 (cell)

Peyton.hoffman@drivedominion.com

 

From the Drive Dominion Blog:

Introducing Dominion DMS

Dealer Management System (DMS) solutions provide the core technology infrastructure for every dealership. As the retail landscape has evolved, DMS products and providers need to evolve as well.

To embrace this opportunity, we have acquired Automotive Computer Services (ACS), including their current ACCESS product and their deep DMS expertise, augmented our team, and partnered with Microsoft to develop, market and sell a next generation DMS, Dominion DMX. Together with the Dominion Dealer Solutions family of solutions and services, we now offer full, end-to-end solutions for your dealership.

Our new DMS business will be known as Dominion DMS. It has two DMS products: the existing ACCESS DMS product (now Dominion ACCESS) and DominionDMX, the new product based on Microsoft Dynamics AX.

With our entry into the DMS space, Dominion wanted to celebrate its addition with a new icon. If you notice, each of our icons represents our former business units: 

  • Blue for Customer Solutions – formerly Autobase, AutoRevenue and AVV
  • Orange for Website and Marketing Solutions – formerly Dealerskins & XIGroup
  • Red for Inventory Solutions – represented by Dealer Specialties & Cross-Sell. 
Our new icon is green and features a stylized ”x.” The green is a nod to the former ACS ACCESS brand, and the “x” symbolizes innovation. The “DMX” suffix of our new product, DominionDMX, represents a departure from existing DMS solutions. It signals that our new product not only supports today’s technology but also redefines ‘DMS’ as the basis for current and future innovation. In the months to come, you will learn more about our DMS product line. For now, you can visit drivedominion.com/dms for more information.

 

Source: http://www.drivedominion.com/introducingdominiondms.blog

 

From the PRweb Press Release:

Dominion Dealer Solutions and Microsoft Establish Strategic Relationship for Next- Generation Dealer Management System

New DMS based on Microsoft Dynamics AX to drive enhanced customer experience and operational efficiency for automotive dealers and manufacturers.

Norfolk, VA (PRWEB) December 03, 2012

Dominion Dealer Solutions and Microsoft have established a strategic relationship to collaborate and create a next-generation Dealer Management System (DMS) based on Microsoft Dynamics AX. The two companies are combining the powerful foundation of Microsoft Dynamics AX with Dominion Dealer Solutions’ extensive automotive retail expertise and assets into an industry leading solution that will enable automotive dealers and manufacturers to enhance customer experience, increase revenue and profit and drive operational efficiencies. The solution will utilize Microsoft Dynamics AX, along with Microsoft server solutions and tools and the Windows Azure platform to take advantage of the efficiencies and flexibility offered by Microsoft’s public cloud offerings.

 

“Our strategy with Microsoft Dynamics AX is to provide a robust platform for game-changing solutions like the new Dealer Management System from Dominion,” said Christian Pedersen, General Manager of Microsoft Dynamics AX. “The power and flexibility of Microsoft Dynamics AX enables partners like Dominion to rapidly and cost-effectively develop line-of-business solutions that drive accelerated business value for their customers.”

 

“Combining Dominion’s experience crafted through relationships with over 11,000 rooftops and Microsoft’s technology will result in a tremendous, forward-looking Dealer Management System,” said Robert Berndt, President of Dominion Dealer Solutions. “The automotive DMS market has been dominated by large, legacy systems that severely limit the ability of dealers and manufacturers to meet customers’ expectations and differentiate themselves from their competition. Our relationship with Microsoft gives us the capability to meet the needs of the market, and more, on day one. Dealers who use our DMS will experience flexibility they never dreamed possible, and they will be positioned for the future of automotive retailing.”

 

The relationship between Microsoft and Dominion is part of Microsoft Business Solutions’ strategic Global Independent Solutions Vendor (ISV) program, resulting in collaboration in R&D, marketing and sales. Dominion selected Microsoft Dynamics AX as the platform for the DMS, which offers the combination of industry leading ERP capabilities required for a DMS, along with rich integration and custom development capabilities that are ideal for a meeting the dynamic needs of a rapidly evolving retail market.

 

“We are excited to welcome Dominion as a member of the Global ISV program,” stated Doug Kennedy, Vice President of Partners for Microsoft Dynamics. “Their long history of delivering value for their customers aligns directly with our goals for the initiative.”

 

The new dealer management system will be initially rolled out to new vehicle dealerships in the United States, starting in Q1 2013.

 

About Microsoft Dynamics

Microsoft Dynamics solutions empower your people to be more productive and your systems to last longer and scale as your organization grows, while enabling you to derive the insights necessary to respond quickly in an ever-changing world.

 

About Microsoft

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.

 

About Dominion Dealer Solutions

Dominion Dealer Solutions helps car dealers attract, retain, and service customers for life. Dominion Dealer Solutions’ marketing performance system includes: lead generation, mobile apps, reputation management solutions, web-based customer relationship and lead management tools; custom digital marketing tools including websites, SEO, SEM, digital advertising, specialized data aggregation; and inventory management analytics including market reports. Every OEM and more than 60 percent of auto dealers nationwide utilize the Dominion Dealer Solutions’ technologies to solve their marketing challenges. For more information, visit our website, like us on Facebook, Pinterest or YouTube, or follow us on Twitter.

 

About Dominion Enterprises

Dominion Enterprises is a leading marketing services and publishing company serving the automotive, recreational and commercial vehicle, real estate, apartment rental, employment, parenting, and travel industries. The company’s businesses provide a comprehensive suite of technology-based marketing solutions including Internet advertising, lead generation, customer relationship management, website design and hosting, and data management services. The company has more than 45 market-leading websites reaching more than 17 million unique visitors monthly. Millions of For Rent®, Employment Guide® and HotelCoupons.com® publications are distributed across the U.S. each year. Headquartered in Norfolk, Virginia, the company has 3,300 employees in more than 145 offices in the United States, Canada, England and Italy. For more information, visit DominionEnterprises.com.

Contact

Follow us on: Contact's Facebook  Contact's Twitter

 

via Dealer Management Systems: Dominion DMX News and Information – Automotive Digital Marketing Professional Community.

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J.D. Power 2012 AutoShopper Study Shows Car Buyers Using Mobile Devices At Increasing Rates

J.D. Power 2012 AutoShopper Study Shows Car Buyers Using Mobile Devices At Increasing Rates

 

2012 New Autoshopper Study Shows Continued Evolution of Car Buyers Using Web Access Devices

J.D. Power and Associates Reports:
Although the Majority of Automotive Buyers Continue to Use Personal Computers to Shop for New Vehicles, Tablets and Smartphones Are Used by One in Five Digital Auto Buyers

Nearly 60 Percent of Buyers Narrow Their Decision to One Model during the Final Week before Buying

October 2012 –Influenced by the phenomenal growth of mobile devices to access the Internet, tablets and smartphones are being used by one in five new-vehicle buyers who use the Internet in the automotive shopping process, according to the J.D. Power and Associates 2012 New Autoshopper StudySM released today.

The study analyzes how new-vehicle buyers use digital devices (computers, smartphones and tablets) and which websites and apps are used to gather information prior to purchase. Overall, 79 percent of new-vehicle buyers use the Internet (also referred to as Automotive Internet Users, or AIUs) to research their vehicle purchase.

While nearly all (99%) AIUs use a desktop/laptop computer at some point in their shopping process, nearly 30 percent use multiple devices, including desktops, smartphones and/or tablets. The study finds that 20 percent of AIUs use a smartphone to gather information while shopping for a new vehicle, and 18 percent use a tablet.

“Access to new-vehicle information through the Internet and apps–obtained via personal computers, smartphones and tablets–is having a greater impact on many aspects of the purchase decision than ever before,” said Arianne Walker, senior director, automotive media and marketing solutions at J.D. Power and Associates. “It is important for brands and websites to provide consistency across their sites and apps, no matter what device is being used to access the information.  The shopping experience should be equally usable and the shopping information equally complete, no matter the device.”

The majority of shopping among AIUs still occurs at home. However, tablets are not as mobile as they may seem. Most AIUs who use a tablet for shopping do so at home, while those who use a smartphone are more likely than tablet users to do so outside of the home, as smartphones are always within reach.

Among AIUs who use a smartphone, 59 percent do so at the dealership, accessing vehicle pricing, model and inventory information, as well as comparing vehicles.

“This interplay between the dealership experience and digital information has become more intertwined with the availability of shopping content on mobile devices,” said Walker. “Now that buyers can easily access information right from their pockets, it is essential that the dealer body is as well versed as the shoppers in order to provide consistent information both online and in the dealership.”

The study finds that buyers go online nearly as soon as they decide to buy a new vehicle, and 59 percent of AIUs narrow their consideration list to one model during the final week before the actual purchase. With such a high volume of buyers deciding on the model of purchase so close to the actual time of the sale, the digital experience and dealer interaction are more important than ever. 

The vast majority (98%) of AIUs visit manufacturer websites during their shopping process, followed by third-party websites (81%); dealer websites (73%); and social media sites (5%). AIUs rely heavily on manufacturer websites for researching specific models and utilizing build tools, while they more frequently rely on third-party sites for comparing vehicles; reading vehicle ratings and reviews; and learning about vehicle trade-in values. AIUs use dealer sites primarily for inventory and dealer-specific information, such as directions/location, hours and contact information.

“With such a wide range of information available digitally, it’s important for OEMs to partner with automotive sites, not only to drive traffic to the brand and dealer sites, but also to offer consistency in the information and tools shoppers rely on,” said Walker. “Manufacturers and automotive third-party sites need to think about synchronization across their properties in order to help provide consistency throughout the automotive shopping experience for their target audience.”

Digital automotive research continues to have the most impact on brand and model selection, followed by price, which is relatively unchanged from four years ago.  As a result of having product information accessible through websites and apps, new-vehicle buyers have more tools to help define their consideration set.

Although mobile apps are still used by a minority of AIUs, the same shopping tools are being used across the two types of digital properties, albeit at different rates. 

The 2012 New Autoshopper Study is based on responses from 12,289 purchasers and lessees of 2010 to 2012 model-year new vehicles who used information gathered digitally in the shopping process.

About J.D. Power and Associates
Headquartered in Westlake Village, Calif., J.D. Power and Associates is a global marketing information services company operating in key business sectors including market research, forecasting, performance improvement, Web intelligence and customer satisfaction.  The company’s quality and satisfaction measurements are based on responses from millions of consumers annually. 

For more information on car reviews and ratings, car insurance, health insurance, cell phone ratings, and more, please visit JDPower.com. J.D. Power and Associates is a business unit of The McGraw-Hill Companies.

About The McGraw-Hill Companies
McGraw-Hill announced on September 12, 2011, its intention to separate into two companies: McGraw-Hill Financial, a leading provider of content and analytics to global financial markets, and McGraw-Hill Education, a leading education company focused on digital learning and education services worldwide. McGraw-Hill Financial’s leading brands include Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services, S&P Capital IQ, S&P Dow Jones Indices, Platts energy information services and J.D. Power and Associates. With sales of $6.2 billion in 2011, the Corporation has approximately 23,000 employees across more than 280 offices in 40 countries. Additional information is available at http://www.mcgraw-hill.com/.

Media Relations Contacts:
John Tews; J.D. Power and Associates; Troy, Mich.;

(248) 680-6218; media.relations@jdpa.com

Syvetril Perryman; J.D. Power and Associates; Westlake Village, Calif.;

(805) 418-8103; media.relations@jdpa.com

Follow us on Twitter: @JDPower

via Automotive Digital Marketing Professional Community.

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