As a more passive experiencer, concerned mainly with finding interview-worthy, automotive vendors and emerging technologies, the NADA convention was the perfect hunting ground. Whether it was a new wrinkle on an old CRM model, comprehensive customer retention platforms, or new online auto auctions, there was plenty to discover at the 2018 in NADA convention.
As my hard working colleague Taylor and I fluttered from booth to booth, we couldn’t help but notice how competitive the industry has become from the standpoint of keeping up with market intelligence. All the folks we spoke to discussed using big data to create actionable results on one level or another. It seems like the prevailing philosophy is to optimize your customer retention capabilities to keep your current and future customers 100% satisfied. This includes multiple touch points initiated via AI and dealership staff to make the customer feel important, and secure working with their trustworthy, local car dealer to secure a new vehicle.
We also saw many companies focused on making the process of doing business more efficient and cost-effective for car dealers. That included online auto auctions, FI platforms, service department strategies that generate new and used car sales, as well as service plan up sells and purchases. Some of the companies we chatted with included Crystal fusion technologies, CBerman Associates, Dealership for Life, CallRev 360, Helion Automotive Industries, Spin Car, and many more.
One of the newer online auto auction companies we met with was ACV auto auctions, which is a growing online auto auction company founded by a 30-year-old named Joe Nieman, and now run by George Chamoun, an angel investor who raised $50 million to scale the business across the country. The auction is 20 minutes long and starts by sending a vehicle condition inspector to each franchise dealer that participates in the auction. That inspector fills out a full report that is then sent to the auction where dealers receive notification on vehicle availability and condition – according to their vehicle needs. ACV auto auction sells 5000 cars per month in 50 markets with 400 dealers signing up each month and thousands participating in the auction.
Another interesting new company is Helion Automotive Technologies, a firm that’s been around for about 3 to 4 years. They manage all of a dealerships IT infrastructure and make sure that every technological component is functional and optimized in the dealership. This includes everything from phones to servers, website speed, software functionality, anything that has to do with technology. They are one of the few IT companies the focus mainly on car dealers and that’s what makes them special.
We also spoke to Bill Parlaman, the CMO of stream companies which is an end to end, full-service ad agency that handles all dealership marketing, lead generation, appointment setting, handle incoming calls, send out mailers, emails, so on and so forth. They specialize in multiple rooftop dealerships with 80% of their business dealing in automotive. The are the The number one vendor in Philadelphia, and the number three automotive vendor in the United States.
These were just a few of the many vendors and automotive experts that we spoke to at the NADA convention in Las Vegas. Stay tuned for a number of interviews and Podcasts with these companies and more in the upcoming weeks!