SAN CLEMENTE, Calif., Oct. 15, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- DealerSocket President and CEO, Jonathan Ord, kicked off Innovate 2015 by sharing the big-picture plan behind his company's recent wave of acquisitions.
"We want to create more efficiencies for dealers so they can sell more cars. That's the bottom line. We believe the best way of achieving this is to develop an ecosystem of integrated technologies, which all link seamlessly together," Ord said during the opening keynote at Innovate, an Independent Dealer Industry Conference, held Sept. 20-23 in Fort Worth.
Ord said several additional companies are in DealerSocket's acquisition pipeline for the next six months. "We've already acquired tremendous DMS, website and inventory management resources to complement our core CRM," he said, referring to the company's recent purchases of AutoStar Solutions, FEX DMS, DealerFire and Inventory+. "But there are still more on the horizon – and it's all for the purpose of helping Independent dealers grow their businesses. DealerSocket is moving full speed ahead to be the change agent in this industry. We're pouring our profit dollars back into the business, so we can keep innovating and producing solutions dealers can't live without."
Ord also announced that iDMS, DealerSocket's new dealer management system for the Independent market, will go live in the second quarter of 2016. The company hosted two breakout sessions further detailing iDMS, which merges the best aspects of FEX DMS and AutoStar Solutions' Fusion DMS.
Nothing will be left behind from either platform, and many features will be added. The new iDMS will include:
- A single login for a streamlined experience
- Intuitive user interface that navigates anywhere in the system with just one click
- 100 percent web-based, cross-browser and cross-platform functionality with the ability to operate on any desktop, laptop, tablet or mobile device
- Tightly integrated, flexible accounting
- Powerful inventory management, an especially big plus in today's market, where competition with franchise dealers for used cars is increasing
- Robust desking solution for Independent retail and Buy-Here-Pay-Here dealers
- Dynamic collections, queuing and account management technology
- Detailed reporting, with the ability to reorganize past reports using new criteria
Any Independent dealer – regardless of their current DMS provider – can share comments, special requests or questions about iDMS at info.dealersocket.com/idmscomment.
In addition to an exclusive iDMS preview, every Innovate attendee received a hard copy of DealerSocket's inaugural Independent Dealership Action Report. The 43-page report analyzes industry trends, performance benchmarks and metrics, and consumer online shopping behaviors. Sources include:
- Key performance data from 2,150 Independent and Buy-Here-Pay-Here dealers
- DealerSocket survey results from 4,000 Independent and Buy-Here-Pay-Here dealers
- Experian data from NIADA's 2015 Used Car Industry Report
- NIADA proprietary industry analysis
- JD Power – Power Information Network
DealerSocket Chief Marketing and Sales Officer Matt Redden highlighted several eye-opening statistics from the report. "Independent dealers must focus on stronger processes for converting phone leads," he said. "Only 14 percent of used car sales come from phone leads, and dealers take about 26 days to close the sale, compared to 18 days for floor and Internet leads."
Redden said these numbers coincide with fewer outbound calls made to each phone prospect – about 2.86 calls, compared to 4.13 for floor leads and 3.82 for Internet leads. For more actionable data on the Independent market, download the free Independent Dealership Action Report at info.dealersocket.com/idar.
Two of the conference's most notable highlights were keynotes from Federal Trade Commission Regional Director, Cindy Liebes and Hudson Cook Partner, Tom Hudson. Liebes showed real-life examples of dealer advertising that resulted in regulatory actions. Hudson shared how he believes the auto industry will change in the next five years, including an end to most discretionary pricing for F&I products. He predicted that dealerships will be required, in many jurisdictions, to disclose how much the dealer paid for each vehicle on its windshield.
Hudson stayed to answer dealers' legal questions during an Ask the Lawyers panel. The panel was one of 16 separate breakout sessions at the conference addressing compliance issues. From learning about red flag requirements to protecting dealerships in bankruptcy court, attendees accessed more than $10,000 in legal insight at the show.
In total, more than 650 Independent dealers, finance companies and industry providers attended Innovate 2015.
DealerSocket is a leading automotive technology platform that helps dealerships in the United States, Canada and Australia improve profitability through a fully integrated suite of marketing, sales, service, customer experience, DMS, data mining, and inventory management solutions. Headquartered in San Clemente, Calif., DealerSocket employs more than 1,000 people, serves more than 10,000 dealerships and 300,000 active users in the United States, Canada and Australia. DealerSocket's advanced technology provides benchmarking data that paces the industry, and its insightful experts identify trends and develop strategic roadmaps that help dealers optimize processes and operate more profitably. Visit DealerSocket.com for more information.