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The State of Automotive Digital Retailing: Dealerships Are Still Essential to Car Buying


Another article on digital retailing? In prior blog posts, we’ve discussed how the modern consumer shops for a vehicle, which research tools are most valuable, and how dealers can win over these consumers during the online shopping process. It only makes sense now, to cover one of the most talked-about subjects in the auto industry, digital retailing.

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Topics: Vehicle Shopping


It’s Not Only Hip but It’s Smart to Welcome Disruptors in the Service Industry


This post has been updated since its original publish date in February 2017

Imagine a future where, with the push of a button, your customers could summon a mechanic right to their own driveway or even forecast an impending vehicle failure with a tiny implant into their engines brain. In our rapidly evolving, tech-transformative universe these possibilities are not only on the horizon of the automotive world, they have arrived on the doorstep.

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Topics: Mobile, Parts & Services, Automotive Technology, Roadside Assistance


Lane Departure Warning, Lane Keep, Road Departure Mitigation: Are They Different?


Automakers have made great strides in increasing vehicle safety. Today's car shoppers will find many different advanced safety technologies, such as lane assistance technology, that are designed to reduce accidents and protect drivers, cyclists, and pedestrians.

Since automakers each have their unique branding for these safety features, it’s easy for vehicle shoppers, and even dealers and service providers, to get confused when comparing vehicle models across multiple brands. For example, while some safety features will simply alert drivers when required to adjust, others will actively take measures to mitigate collision with semi-autonomous functionality.

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Topics: Automotive Technology, Vehicle Shopping


VIN Decoding 101: Everything You Wanted to Know About VINs


Post has been republished with updates since its original publish date November 2011

As you might expect we get a lot of questions about VINs.  There is a lot of confusion about what a VIN is, how is it used, what information is captured within it and what is not.  In this series we hope to provide a good resource that you can use to educate yourself on Vehicle Identification Numbers (VINs) and VIN Decoding.  The articles will progressively build from very basic and general information about VINs to more detailed and specific aspects of using them and vehicle data in business and technical settings.  We hope you find them useful.

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Topics: Vehicle


4 Effective Ways to Leverage Car Stock Photos by VIN


Why are we talking about stock photos when it seems like everyone else in the industry is pushing for real vehicle photos? There's no arguing that real photos offer a better shopping experience for consumers looking at real inventory, even with new vehicles. According to Kelley Blue Book90% of consumers prefer to view actual photos over stock photos of the new vehicle(s) they are interested in buying. However, stock photos still serve a purpose in the automotive industry.

There are a number of use cases outside of a dealer's inventory - such as vehicle research tools, marketing material, parts websites, etc - where leveraging stock photos by VIN makes the most sense not only to ensure professional quality images but also to save time. And though real photos are the best option for inventory, stock photos can suppliment a dealer's listings when the real photos are not available yet.  

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Topics: vehicle images


How to Quickly and Accurately Identify Vehicle Specs by VIN Decoding


This post has been republished with updates since its original publish date in July 2013

Quick access to complete and accurate vehicle specifications is necessary for many businesses in the automotive and allied industries. Firstly, I want to clarify that “vehicle specifications” can fit into more than one category. Some businesses may be looking to identify “construction” vehicle specs such as weights, dimensions, capacities, etc., while other businesses may be looking for “operation” and/or “performance” vehicle specs, including engine and transmission, standard and optional equipment, fuel economy, exterior and interior colors, etc.

Regardless of which vehicle specs your business is looking to identify, scanning through OEM websites, vehicle manuals, or even your own internal management system/DMS often involves more effort than time allows. This is where VIN decoding comes in handy. Identifying vehicle specs by VIN number with use of a VIN decoding solution is ideal for businesses working with several vehicle makes and models.

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Topics: Logistics, VIN, Parts & Services, Vehicle Equipment


8 Takeaways From My Recent Used Car Shopping and Purchasing Experience


It's been a while since I last experienced shopping for a vehicle. And I have to say, it's nice being in the driver's seat, seeing things from a consumer's perspective.

My wife Christine and I just bought a pre-owned 2014 Honda Pilot to replace her 2013 Honda Accord that had been totaled by a drunk driver a few weeks ago. She was stopped at a red light… Folks, wear your seatbelts!

Fortunately, she escaped any major injuries, but her car did not. Given the circumstances, we were forced to expedite the vehicle shopping/buying process. It was only 2 weeks from the day Christine’s Accord was totaled to the day we signed paperwork at the dealership for her Pilot.

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Topics: Vehicle Shopping


9 UX Fails That Are Pushing Your Vehicle Shoppers Away


It’s one thing to consistently drive traffic to your website, but it’s another thing to keep them engaged. This is where your website’s user experience (UX) is crucial.

The UX on your auto listing or dealership website should take the stress out of vehicle shopping and make it easy for consumers to find their next vehicle. If you’re finding that your website isn’t getting as much traction as you’d hoped, conversion rates are low, or overall vehicle sales are low, it may be time to reassess the UX on your website.

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Topics: Auto Portals, Dealers, Vehicle Shopping


4 Reasons Why Consumers Love Buying Used Vehicles Directly From Owners


Purchasing used is a very popular option for many in-market vehicle buyers, making up more than 30% of franchise dealership’s total vehicle sales for the last five years according to an Edmunds report. Though buying pre-owned inventory from a dealership is most common, there are many valuable resources such as Craigslist and Autotrader that do a great job connecting consumers directly with the vehicle owner as an alternative to the dealership.

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Topics: Guest post


7 Expert Tactics for Increasing Your Dealership’s Service Revenue


“Fixed ops departments account for the bulk of dealership’s profits.” Sound familiar? How about, “A healthy and profitable fixed ops department means a healthy dealership.” You’ve heard it all before. Yet, growing your service clientele, let alone retaining your existing clientele, is easier said than done.

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Topics: Parts & Services, Automotive Technology, Dealers