We live in a world entirely ruled by technology, and younger generations utilize the internet for basically everything. As such, modern car shoppers expect communication to be fast and their experience to be impeccable when shopping for vehicles online. In an ever-changing world of automotive retail, dealers must now learn how to adjust to each and every customer. This is just how the “new age” operates.
One major challenge that dealers have encountered is a generational shift in the way younger shoppers view car ownership. Unlike generations past, these new shoppers typically do not prescribe to the notion that buying the nicest, newest car on the lot is important—such an act is “uncool” to the Gen-Z crowd. Instead, they’re taking advantage of modern technology – i.e. conveniences like Bluetooth and navigation – incorporated in affordable late-model vehicles. Add on society’s insistence to transition to cleaner, fuel-efficient EVs, and you’ve got millions of drivers who expect more from the car lot.
With dramatic changes occurring over the years – connected technology, digital and mobile channels, and lengthy vehicle lifespans, for instance – it’s no surprise why so many younger shoppers have lofty expectations when visiting the dealership. They’ve grown up in this era. They understand what works and what doesn’t, and researching online comes naturally to them. They can find inventory, pricing, vehicle features, and ratings with a few taps of their mobile. And, if interested in a vehicle, they’ll take the steps necessary to get it – whether that means going to a dealership or buying online through retailers like Carvana.
Dealers are addressing younger generations with, of course, technology (duh) like advanced CRM systems, web chat, and more. But how should dealers compete with Carvana and similar online automotive stores? Utilizing next-gen training methods and emphasizing employee engagement is key for dealers to properly and swiftly adapt to the new age.
Automotive experts at Northwood University and Maritz realize that the evolution of auto is coming—and fast. These leaders, including upcoming Northwood University graduates, understand the need to adapt better than anyone and are well-positioned to evolve alongside the new crop of shoppers, ultimately protecting the future of automotive retail.
Maritz & Northwood University: A Flourishing Partnership
Maritz, a leader in the automotive industry, partnered with Northwood University earlier this year in hopes to help further the development of the next generation of experts. Both Maritz and Northwood University share a major belief that retail automotive is extremely important –so what better way than to collaborate?
About Northwood University:
Northwood University, a private university located in Midland, Michigan, has been around since 1961. Their mission? “We develop the future leaders of a global, free-enterprise society.” Northwood upholds several major beliefs include such as the following:
- A free-enterprise society: Activities that are regulated through private measures vs. government regulations.
- Freedom & individual responsibility: A practice of giving one the freedom that coincides with the university’s policies.
- A foundation of ethics and integrity: Making sure that things continue to stay honest and consistent through their values to the best of their abilities.
- A global, diverse and multi-cultural nature of enterprise: Being accepting towards anyone and everyone who is a part of their university.
In 1959, two men by the name of Arthur E. Turner and R. Gary Stauffer came to similar realizations – they wanted to break away from a traditional college structure and to come up with a completely new concept in education. To accomplish their goals, they borrowed a small amount of money to purchase a 19th-century mansion in Alma, Michigan. Turner and Stauffer opened Northwood Institute soon thereafter with an enrolled class of 100 students.
Little did they know; their immense amount of determination would pave way to a promising future for the university. Today, Northwood University is the leading educational establishment for automotive managers, entrepreneurs, and skilled technicians. With more than 57,000 alumni and a vibrant future ahead, “the Northwood Idea is alive and well.”
For over 65 years, Maritz has been an incredibly people-driven company that’s consistently operated under the idea that lasting loyalty will always drive a successful business.
“[We] help our automotive clients improve their business results by applying our expertise in behavioral science to drive performance,” says Terry Erwin, vice president of Maritz Auto. “It just makes sense that we understand how the upcoming automotive professionals are preparing for their careers. It’s important to listen to, talk and work with the students who have decided that the automotive business is where they want to be.”
The times, they are a-changin’. Don’t get left behind. If you’d like to transform your dealership and become part of the future, ask us about some of our digital marketing or coaching programs specifically designed to help auto dealers stay relevant.