In-person auto sales remain a relatively traditional industry compared with other sectors that have shifted heavily into online operations. That doesn’t mean IT infrastructure is a negligible or unimportant part of your business, however. Whatever the scale or focus of your dealership, there are potential operational benefits that come with a strong technology framework.
If you operate a large dealership, it’s natural to pursue strong technology to effectively reach a big potential customer base and coordinate operations between many locations. Furthermore, it may be time to invest in new, advanced solutions such as augmented reality to create a deluxe sales experience. IT advancement isn’t just for these major dealerships, however. Smaller dealers will still see value in good data storage and customer outreach – and a business of any kind may become a target for criminals unless its IT systems are up to par.
The absolute essentials
Dealerships of all sizes have to possess strong data infrastructure and IT services. Records today are typically stored digitally, and both employee and customer data can accumulate quickly. Unless there is a strong and reliable IT infrastructure in place, this data is at risk. While you may believe your dealership’s small, relatively low-tech setup makes it less viable as a hacking target, you may be dangerously mistaken.
As TechRepublic noted, criminals have specifically begun targeting smaller companies, knowing they are less likely to encounter the advanced security systems that could deflect their attacks. The fines, loss of reputation and clean-up costs associated with suffering a breach could cost your dealership hundreds of thousands of dollars. Such a bill is threatening to your continued operations. For this reason, even if you’re not availing yourself of the advantages of high-tech solutions, you should have strong IT fundamentals.
The next steps
If your dealership is growing and wants to improve its operations – back-end processes and customer-facing experiences alike – advanced IT infrastructure remains the number one building block. Speaking with CBT Automotive Network, ELEAD1ONE’s Bill Wittenmyer explained the state of this transformation. Sales associates are more reliant than ever on using mobile devices to assist customers and pull up data. Implementing fully paperless transaction processes is another way to further streamline the customer experience, but without strong infrastructure, buyers will leave more frustrated than impressed.
Service departments can also significantly improve day-to-day processes with an infusion of technology. Motor Authority noted that Porsche dealers will soon have access to augmented reality glasses. Technicians working on cars in shops will be able to communicate remotely with experts, who will have a view of what the employee sees, and who can send data directly to the glasses for display.
Where it all begins
From convenient transactions for customers to improved data access in the repair shop, technology can boost a growing dealership’s operations to new heights. Even if your business is presently too small to engage in such upgrades, however, IT infrastructure is a must-make investment. Not only will better systems and networks pave the way to the future, they’re essential to repel attacks in the here and now.