Conference welcome
Digital advances and tech trends impacting automotive retail over the next decade

Hamel Soni, head of automotive, Google

With digital and tech advances continually influencing consumer behaviour and attitudes towards car buying and, more importantly, where and how purchases are made, this session draws on latest research from Google and takes a peek into the next decade of automotive retail.  Research undertaken last year reinforces the car buyer’s reliance on the physical dealership when finalising their purchase but also highlights some varying experiences on-site compared to often slick and impressive engagements online. However, the session also comes with a warning that increasingly more consumers will be comfortable transacting online and dealers need to be ready to facilitate those car buyers. Soni will also take a closer look at other influences including disruptors impacting and accelerating the pace of change.

Consumer car buying trends in 2018

Karen Hilton, Commercial Director, carwow

Five major trends in consumer behaviour when searching for and deciding on their next new car will come under the microscope in this session. Covering transient consumers, the desire for unbiased advice, the impact of politics, diesel concerns and the demand for immediate responses, Hilton will draw on latest carwow research and explore these trends in greater detail and what it means for dealers. The session will also delve into carwow’s data which reveals a host of buying habits including car buyers’ perceptions when purchasing below list and their subsequent willingness to spend on accessories.

Refreshments & Networking
Preparing for the EV tipping point

Tom Callow, director of communication and strategy, Chargemaster

The curve of EV adoption will continue to increase for at least the next two decades with 140,000 EVs on the road today and over 1 million predicted by 2022. The public charging network will grow from around 14,000 charging points today to around 100,000 in the same period. Dealers will need to adapt sales and service processes to accommodate the growing band of EV customers from educating their sales teams to addressing the issue of the reduced servicing EVs require and identifying new revenue streams. This session charts the rise of the EV and outlines the growing trend and acceptance of EV driving as well as exploring how dealers need to adapt.

Digital developments transforming dealer transactions and the customer experience

Jason Turner, head of franchise development, Barclays Partner Finance

Digital innovation and technological developments are enabling dealers to deliver an improved customer experience including how and when they transact which places customers in control of significant aspects of the buying process. This session explores how digital is creating new ways for dealers to manage finance transactions including point of sale funding and online payments. Whilst compliance is essential, Turner highlights how advances in technology have resulted in higher levels of transparency, openness and is now creating a seamless purchase process. Digital advances mean dealers can balance a great customer outcome with a friction-free journey and puts customers where they want to be – in the driving seat.

Masterclasses - Option of one

A digital marketing masterclass – lessons from the sectors’ best performers

Chris Penny, brand director, Auto Trader

Sharing the latest insights gleaned from its wealth of data, this session highlights digital marketing best practice and the strategies employed by the industry’s very top performing retailers. Covering several key topics, Penny explores areas such as how to source, price and advertise stock more effectively, how consumer expectations have evolved and how it affects retailers and their businesses. Most importantly, Penny will deliver insights on how it is possible to gain a competitive advantage in an increasingly complex market. 

Modern website design, daring to be different

Martin Dew, operations director, Autoweb Design

Exploring the latest website design trends, new technology that can positively affect enquiry rates, when to use websites vs landing pages and new ways to measure the success of your website in a multi-screen world, this session shows how you can take your website to the next level. Websites have long been far more than simply a dealer’s virtual forecourt, sophisticated technology helps drive traffic and target key audiences with the right message. Meanwhile, tracking tools can follow a car buyer’s journey from search to purchase to build a digital picture to maximise return on marketing spend. The session will include an overview of the latest website design and functionality trends from Autoweb’s development team.

The future = digital retailing

Andrew Heywood, head of performance management, Modix UK (part of Cox Automotive)

Using consumer trends and behaviour analysis, this session outlines how dealers need to transform their thinking and bridge the digital and physical worlds to deliver the seamless experience consumers demand. Drawing on the vast amount of data from Modix and across Cox Automotive, Heywood will provide an overview of current and future car buying behaviour to help dealers forge a successful and sustainable strategy.  This session promises to be insightful and highly informed providing a clear view of the rate and the consumer trends driving this change. Dealers will gain a deeper understanding of what needs to be done to embrace digital at all levels of operations and create a digital retailing future that meets consumer expectations

Lunch & Networking
Threats and opportunities in an evolving automotive retail environment

Justin Benson, head of automotive, KPMG

Discussing findings from KPMG’s latest report Global Automotive Executive Survey 2018 including its prediction that half of UK car dealerships will close by 2025, far from sounding the death knell for dealers, this session highlights the threats and the opportunities of a changing automotive retail landscape. From adapting processes to online transactions to meeting motorists’ changing attitudes to ownership, Benson delves into the detail of trends which will impact how dealers will do business in the not too distant future. Electric vehicles, autonomous vehicles, Mobility as a Service (MaaS), new business structures and the rise of disruptors driven by new technology are among the areas Benson will explore. But whilst some degree of uncertainty is inevitable, Benson will show how it is also an exciting time and how a changing retail environment can signpost a new direction to future success.

The technology powering the changing automotive retail world

Gary Smith, managing director, Optimising IT

Dealers need to change their mindset from viewing IT and software systems as a cost to looking at the ROI and the benefits of good infrastructure.  The most forward thinking dealers are investing in scalable infrastructure and cloud systems to futureproof for at least the next five years and this session explores the various pitfalls and raises the questions senior directors need to be posing to their IT department and suppliers. From adequate broadband to guest wifi (eg. Does your system isolate your guests from each other and your wider network?) and touching on the implications of the new data regulations GDPR has on your approach to data and security, Smith provides a holistic view of the technology at work in today’s dealerships. Smith will also draw on real life experiences of dealer clients including weaknesses identified and solutions provided.

Refreshments & Networking
Keynote: Lessons in digital retailing from Rockar

Martin Sewell, managing director, Rockar

After almost four years since Rockar opened its store at Bluewater, Kent, Martin shares some of the insights and lessons the company has learned as it formulated a genuinely new way for consumers to buy cars. Whilst Hyundai moves forward with the shopping centre concept and Rockar builds on its legacy with Jaguar Land Rover and Mitsubishi Motors, Martin will discuss the company’s ideas as it seeks to take its innovative strategy even further with its partnership with High Street store Next. Exploring the different ways consumers are now undertaking the car purchase journey including the desire for a physical presence along with digital interaction and the ability to transact online, Sewell draws on Rockar’s extensive data which provides an insight into the mind of today’s changing car buyer and illustrates how the automotive retail model can evolve to meet consumer demands

Conference Close