Motor and motorcycle retail tech specialist iVendi has identified a yawning gap between pandemic-associated trade adoption of online technology, from quite advanced customer handling solutions to relatively rudimentary approaches. According to iVendi chief executive James Tew, Covid forced dealers to accelerate digitalisation plans and that the sector has made huge progress — but capabilities vary widely.
“It’s no exaggeration to say that dealerships have moved on perhaps five years in 18 months as a result of the pandemic, thanks to tackling the effects of lockdowns and a need for remote selling,” he opined. “However, those dealers who have adopted e-commerce products will have seen differing results and this is where we have seen a new digital divide becoming apparent.
“Some technology is well-established and relatively good at simply generating applications and online reservations. But it doesn’t really achieve much beyond that. For some, it’s as much as they want to achieve online. Others have really looked to reap the rewards of digitisation and now have in place comprehensive online customer procedures, able to replicate almost every step that might take place in a face-to-face showroom sale.
“Optimising a digital purchasing channel involves handling more complex situations, such as adjusting vehicle and part-exchange prices, up-selling warranties, managing finance declines, negative equity and more. All of these factors feature in the majority of purchases. But older tech solutions won’t be able to resolve them, effectively bringing the online journey to a halt.
“Better technology makes handling these points easy and really highlights where the digital divide lies. It’s the difference between relatively rare sales without complications and those complex processes that make up the vast majority of real-world transactions. We have seen dealers who have moved to more advanced systems continue with a relatively high level of online sales in the post-Covid market, while those using older technology have seen more of a falling off.”