Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Don’t Fall Behind the Online Shift Because It Is Already Here!

Don’t Fall Behind the Online Shift Because It Is Already Here!

Being an earlier adopter of Self-Inspect Technology, Sherwood Park Toyota sat down with cDemo to share their experience with cDemo’s rich content generating technology.

Coming home from NADA 2011 in San Francisco, CA, I finally had time to regroup and review my notes that began during last years NADA Convention in 2010 and continued on through various sales calls and other cDemo Mobile Inspector related initiatives. This file is full of the best ideas of conventions I attended, sales meetings notes, trials and errors and professional “must do’s”. I then started to think about a long time business partner, friend and industry leader, Art Angielski. 

Art is currently the managing dealer principle of Sherwood Park Toyota, in Alberta, Canada.  His portfolio and resume in the automobile industry is one that most aspire to achieve over a lifetime in the car market. What is most impressive is that Art has found a way to do it all before his 39th Birthday.  He started his automotive career while in college and moved up the corporate ladder with Pat Priestner and the Priestner Automotive group.  He is best known for being a true automotive enthusiast and he can be found taking the initial steps necessary to stay ahead of the competition while accepting the fact that our industry is forever changing. 

Art Angielski’s early adoption of cDemo’s Mobile Inspector Technology has enabled Art to succeed with an effective and consistent online sales strategy. Accepting the fact that the online shift of what consumers are demanding for quality and quantity information while searching online for vehicles has occurred has enabled him to stay ahead. The discipline approach of not fearing change allowed Art to see the value in being an early adopter of a rich content generating technology and it has paid off for his dealership.

Let’s take a look at part of an interview with Art: For this submission for PCG Digital Marketing Strategies,

Jay: “Art, Looking back at your dealership’s online marketing strategy a year ago, how far have you come in your efforts?”

Art: “Well funny you should ask me that. 12 months ago my online inventory was in a state of disillusionment. What I mean here is, we really weren’t even close to being strategic. The inventory we displayed at Sherwood Toyota was outdated, photos were often incorrect and the information was incomplete and scattered.  Don’t get me wrong we had great inventory, we just had no real clear plan or directive on how to be productive on the web.”

Jay: “What was your biggest hurdle to overcome?”

Art: (slight chuckle) “To sum it up the best I would have to say is this. I used to spend $400 every other month on a brand new digital camera. By the end of the month, the kid who took the photos was gone, my camera was gone and my photos were gone too.  And to top it off, my store was still behind in getting the vehicles to the web.”

Jay: “And now where do you think you would say you and your team are today?”

Art: “Now that we use cDemo and the Mobile Inspector App we have complete control of the data and that is key. Spending the time upfront to use the App to collect the information, options, condition and photos on every vehicle is part of our sales strategy. I could not imagine going back to the old way. The information is more powerful when we control it. My employees feel more confident, they are more productive and I am proud to say that our online inventory has turned from a logjam of excuses to a free flowing, live utility that is part of our day.”

Jay: “So what you are saying here is that old way was the challenge?”

Art: “Not quite.  It takes awhile for any dealership to see the shifts coming,  but once they happen you notice the changes immediately.  The tools we used were a digital camera, a pen and check-in sheet.  The challenge was we never seemed to be able to stay on top of our online strategy because the data and photos were very time consuming , then we had to match everything up, upload to our website, list to the 3rd party advertising sites and keep our staff up to date.  Bottom line… Sherwood Park Toyota is a busy place, we have a lot of moving parts, moving people and customers to take care of.  Our online strategy fell behind and it took a few conversations with you to really understand the power of your product.  Looking back at things, my dealership now spends less on using your solution than I do on Coffee for Sherwood Park Toyota. Coffee is complimentary, the transactional experience we now create using cDemo is priceless.”

Jay:  “What do you see as the benefits of our product you value the most, now that you use cDemo and Mobile Inspector?”

Art: “The first one is consistency, every time we use the Mobile Inspector App I know our information and photos are right. The way we communicate with online customers has changed and our team has everything they need to build trust into their online deals. 
The second is speed, Sherwood Park Toyota is no longer behind, we are right on top of our online inventory.  8 days to market is unacceptable in today’s market, cDemo makes it apparent to my staff we take the online space serious, therefore our speed to market is now an important measurement. 
And third and not to say this the most important, but profitability is on the upswing.  Since we started looking at ROIs on every expense, some obvious expenditures were cut from my store after we started using your product.  Used car profits are up  year over year for a number of reasons but the big driving force is we were able to reduce our per car sold expense in a number of areas. You know as well as I do, Profit is sum of income minus expenses. Increase your sales territory, reduce some unnecessary expenses, sell more cars and guess what? Profits go up.“

 Jay:  “Any thoughts on the future of your online initiative?”

Art: “I can’t tell all my secrets. Let me say this, the worldwide-web is not going away, facebook, twitter, Google and all the rest of the driving forces are going to continue to change and gain in strategic strength.  Why resist new products like yours?  If it is simple to use, has a good ROI and helps move Sherwood Park Toyota ahead of my competition, why wouldn’t I use it?  I can say this about the future, Sherwood Park won’t be going back to the old way.  I fixed my problem of looking for missing digital cameras at my store.   cDemo Mobile Inspector is here to stay.”

My conversation with Art reinforced some very important philosophies we live by everyday at cDemo. Hopefully these philosophies get added to your list after attending this year’s Automotive Marketing Boot Camp.
 -Movement in a new direction or adopting a cutting edge technology helps you   uncover new performance levels.
- Implementing change is the only to survive in the new era of web-based business.
-Old beliefs or out-dated habits are your competitor’s best friend. Make the choice to embrace change.
- Enjoy the journey you uncover along the way.

Feel free to contact Art or myself to hear more about the use of cDemo Mobile Inspector.

Art Angielski – GM/Dealer Principle of Sherwood Park Toyota can be reached by email aangielski@sptoyota.com or by phone at (780)410-2455
Jay Radke – cDemo Director of Business Development can be reached by email jay@cdemo.com, on Twitter as @JayRadke or by phone at (780)977-5341


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