FOLLOW THE LEADERS
This is a transcription of an extraordinary video interview with –
Net Driven, President
Automotive Industry Technology Breakthroughs:
Q. What is the most significant technology breakthrough in Web site development for independent automotive businesses in the last 3 years?
A. “I really think that evolution from having just a page or two talking about the tires that you sell or repair services that you offer in making that into an full interactive experience on par with what we have seen people do with new cars has really been a great leap forward. We see that that has helped propel dealers to a lot of great success in terms of increasing their sales especially in the fixed ops area where we focus.
The “breakthrough” may be the response to the technology and that would really have to be around the understanding of how consumers shop for automotive products and services and how that really is very different than how they would shop for regular.
When it comes to automotive products and services in most cases a trip to the dealership is required. You know, you are not going to have your new car put on a flatbed and sent to your house. You know, you need to have your tires put on; you need to have your breaks service done. So what that means is consumers are interacting with website technology in a fundamentally different way and that is called ROBO – research online buy offline.
What companies like Net Driven has done is while there are a lot of companies out there that have used that concept to create websites that are very good at interacting with potential customers and selling them new cars, Net Driven has taken that same approach.
We basically applied that wisdom to selling things like used cars, wheels, tires, automotive repair services and really creating an interactive experience for a consumer on a website that is going to get all of their questions answered, allow them to do all of their research which is the “R” in ROBO and get them into a dealers showroom.
Small Dealers Competing with Big Box Dealers & Retailers:
Q. How has proprietary website and Internet marketing platforms for independent automotive businesses specifically enabled small auto retailing companies to compete with big-box auto retailers?
A. “Net Driven has created a platform which is built on a large team and a large research and development effort to create a solution that was previously unavailable to some of the smaller independent dealers. We have spent at this point probably close to 15 million dollars developing the technology not to mention we have a large and growing team of people here servicing that technology.
What we saw was there was a real issue in smaller companies competing with some of the large national chains. The larger chains were doing new and used car sales or doing, traditional tire and automotive service and repair where they were able to build out a big team, make large investments in their internet technology and therefor create a really robust system to compete online.
Smaller dealerships, retail tire, and automotive service centers were just physically unable to make those kinds of investments or to focus their time. So basically Net Driven was founded to create a system that would allow on even playing field in the market place. This allowed companies to make a small investment in our technology platform and gain world class technology. We really believe that the technology platform that we offer is better than what a lot of the large chains have built in-house. We have and we think that is really important in terms of keeping the playing field even for all of the participants in the marketplace.”
Q. What is the future of Social Media for independent automotive businesses?
A. “Overall social media is interesting in that it really allows people to connect online. So what it does at its core is not that complicated. It is capturing the social interactions that we were all having anyway and they were happening over the phone or through email. Now they are just basically being captured in a public way and there is a record of what is being talked about.
That is powerful because what it does is it opens up these private conversations to a wider audience and that is interesting to a lot of people. I think that is super powerful for the automotive industry. I think the one leap that the automotive industry need to make in that regard to just being comfortable, you know, in lifting the veil a little bit and showing all of the good and bad that does happen in the dealership.
One of the biggest misnomers about social media is that it all has to be positive. It really doesn’t. I don’t think that anyone believes that social media has to be all good. Actually, I think for it to be good social media there has to be a certain element of it that is negative because that is what makes it real.
Nobody is 100 percent positive about anything in the world. I think as they do make that move to create a more open and honest environment whether it is how people interact with the new car buying process or how people interact with their service center I think they will find that people who are early to that game will build very large and engaged communities that will be really powerful for them in terms of building their business.
It will be ugly at times, of course, at times because it will expose very publically some of the weaknesses but I think it will give the advantage of: number one – address those problems quickly but number two — building a transparent and trust building community which ultimately will really help that build all of the aspects of their business.
I think that we are going to see a lot of opening of the kimono, so to speak, in a lot of dealerships as they allow a lot of this information to become public. I think they are going to be pleasantly surprised that is going to open communications process it will all be positive. Dealers are going to see that it will build a lot of trust and people that are early to the game will large and engaged communities around their dealerships.”
Contact Information for Net Driven & Patrick Sandone.
NET DRIVEN CONTACT INFORMATION:
Director of Marketing
201 Lackawanna Ave.
Scranton, PA 18503
877–860‑2005 x 299
Patrick Sandone, Founder & President