As early as 2006, a little known sole-proprietorship known as Ai-Dealer was attempting to introduce the idea of an online shopping cart for consumers to purchase their vehicle on a dealer’s website. CRM trailblazer Brian Hoecht had begun working with a handful of dealers to integrate their DMS with his technology to support online shopping and financing directly on the dealership’s website. At the time, the idea was a stretch for consumers and dealers and the industry alike.
Fast forward ten years, there are now multiple companies providing dealers with the ability to allow website visitors the option to purchase online, each with their own unique approach and features. However, there appears to be quite a division in thinking throughout the industry as to the role that online vehicle checkout plays and what it means to the industry and to consumers.
Recently, while at the 21st Digital Dealer Conference in Las Vegas, I had the opportunity to conduct a phone interview with the CEO of one of these companies – Aaron Krane of Drive Motors, along with DealerRefresh Chief Editor Jeff Kershner. Drive Motors builds commerce experiences for auto dealers. During our conversation Jeff and I were able to get a glimpse of Aaron’s vision for how he sees consumers and dealers responding to this growing capability.