How Connected Cars and Telematics Can Benefit Dealers

Telematics devices already have the power to make the dealership experience better for the average consumer, and increase dealers’ bottom line

It’s the dawn of a new era. Connected vehicle technology is here, and the possibilities seem almost endless.



Business Insider predicts that more than 380 million connected cars will be on the road by 2021, and the market position of the connected car today is similar to where the smartphone was in 2010—ready to take over.

So how can automotive dealerships capitalize on this technology in ways that benefit their bottom line? Here are some tips on maximizing the potential of Internet of Things (IoT) technology and telematics.

Make the math work for you

Telematics is all about math. This technology gathers multiple categories of data. Well-run dealerships know how to put that data to good use.

Dealerships can solve inventory management problems using data drawn from on-board diagnostic (OBD) and IoT devices, so managers know at all times where vehicles are located on the lot. Location information that’s available at the click of a button helps dealers run their businesses more efficiently.

In addition, telematics solutions can also share data that allows managers to easily examine which vehicles are going out for the most test drives, which are stuck in the corner, and which have been off the lot for too long.

And turnover analysis is just the tip of the iceberg. Dealers can use telematics to analyze which batteries are low and which are losing charge faster. Providers can offer analytics on penetration rate by make or model, and even offer salesperson and finance manager success metrics.

It’s essential to make telematics data actionable, and use the technology to make operations more efficient while analyzing the numbers that can impact the dealership’s larger business goals.

Telematics as a problem-solver

Many dealerships are aware that telematics technology can help in certain areas, such as inventory management. But telematics providers need to offer dealerships more than a single-point solution.

They should provide a platform that solves multiple problems at once. The technology should be deeply integrated into everyday dealership operations. Well-run dealerships are diligently focused on process, and if they’re going to introduce a big change to their operations, they must be able to derive value in multiple ways to drive ROI.

If one platform can solve three value propositions and increase dealership efficiency in multiple areas, that is a win. If dealers can simplify sales in the F&I office by offering fewer branded products, they are more likely to succeed.

Top-tier telematics providers offer forward-compatible platforms, allowing dealers to see that additional features will drive more value over time.

Transforming dealer/driver relationships

Today, telematics devices already have the power to make the dealership experience better for the average consumer. Technology helps streamline dealership operations, so customers aren’t running into problems with dead batteries or waiting for the dealership employee to locate the correct model vehicle on the lot.

Over time, telematics will further transform the customer experience, from the first moment a new-car buyer steps onto the lot to a lifetime of vehicle use. Telematics will help the dealership offer concierge services, and someday revolutionize the way dealerships communicate with drivers post-sale.

The old ways of sending out mailers based on an estimate of miles driven will be replaced by an ROI-conscious and permissioned dialog with the customer. Dealerships will be more aware of driver maintenance needs in real time, and can offer help in the right context and bring consumers back to the lot for services. Currently, how many service opportunities that the dealer should be capitalizing on are lost to local shops?

Telematics can help recapture those opportunities, and improve the bottom line. Telematics will allow dealerships to have multiple touch points with consumers after the sale, maximizing profit, while simultaneously benefiting their customers.

Dev Bhatia is senior director, product, at CalAmp, delivering innovations under the LoJack brand. He has deep experience in internet, mobile, and telematics. Prior to CalAmp, he served as chief marketing officer at Spireon, a business intelligence platform for telematics.

Dev Bhatia

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