Emerging technologies are changing the way auto retailers run their stores, and the NADA convention is a showcase for them. New innovations also are promising to help differentiate vehicles and dealers.
Here are some of the recent advances on display at this year’s expo.
1. Digestible data
Dealertrack this week launched a business intelligence platform that breaks down a store’s dense data to help dealers digest it and make informed decisions with it. Dealertrack partnered with NADA to blend metrics into the platform that retailers use to analyze monthly sales and service results. The vendor formed a team of performance management coaches that can look over the data from the intelligence tool and serve as a third-party opinion. Sharon Kitzman, Dealertrack’s general manager of DMS, told Automotive News: “They partner with the dealer. They understand their business [and] they work with them hand in hand.” Where: Booth 1914.
2. Intelligent plates
The 125-year-old license plate is getting a digital spin from Reviver. The company’s rPlate is more of a platform than a license plate. Its digital screen displays the traditional vehicle numbers, but it also can serve as an advertising outlet, telematics solution or a messaging tool. In the event of an Amber Alert, for example, law enforcement could use the rPlate’s GPS capabilities to tell motorists that the owner of the vehicle is wanted. The rPlate was designed originally to help motor vehicle departments update registrations. Reviver believes fleet companies are the prime customer base for the idea. The first rPlates are operational in California now, and the company expects to launch the technology in Arizona, Florida and Texas in 2017. If state motor vehicle departments widely adopt the rPlate, motorists could say goodbye to the tabs they stick on their cars each year, Reviver CEO Neville Boston told Automotive News. Contact: Reviver executives are on site. Contact Reviver Partner Allan Cooper via email at email@example.com to arrange a meeting.
3. Inventories in the cloud
Digital marketing company LotLinx is showcasing LotLinx Turn, a cloud-based tool that lets dealers analyze their inventory to see which vehicles are getting the most online hits. The insight makes it possible to direct digital marketing dollars to the vehicles that need it most. Previously, LotLinx customers would consult with the company to develop campaigns, but the new Turn platform puts that power in the hands of dealers. Where: Booth 1261.
4. No manual entries
Auto/Mate is bolstering its dealership management system to make record-creating easier for service shops. The company added “VIN Scan” to its Fixed Ops Suite, allowing service advisers to capture a vehicle identification number barcode with a tablet camera. Scanning eliminates the need for manual data entry, instead automatically filling in customer information fields with name, address, VIN, make/model and other details. The VIN Scan is offered within Auto/Mate’s tablet solution for service shops. Where: Booth 1707.
Evox provides automotive imagery for websites.
5. Virtual reality presentations
Evox, a provider of automotive virtual reality technology and stock imagery for websites, is showing the newly launched RelayCars Pro. The company calls it a virtual reality tool that helps dealers “guide car shoppers through an engaging first-person experience,” which puts a modern spin on vehicle research. The VR app can run on most Android devices, the company says. Where: Booth 4153.
Another virtual reality company, Izmocars, believes dealers can use the technology at venues outside of their stores. For instance, VR stations could be set up at shopping malls to reel people in and market vehicles. The company’s VR offering gives viewers narrated walkarounds of vehicles and test drives. The technology could also have a place in the waiting areas of service shops, where people could get previews of how their vehicles will look once accessories are added to them. WHERE: Booth 1355
6. Reaching service customers
Marketing provider Digital Air Strike has developed a system that will target service customers with model-specific social media ads around incentives or any other offer after their visits. Digital Air Strike is also showing visitors an after-hours lead response tool, which promises price quotes within 15 minutes to consumers after the store is closed. Where: Booths 1201 and 3553.