It’s hard to remember a time that has been as challenging for the automotive sector as the last year or so. The impact of the pandemic has been tough enough, but flooding in a number of areas across Europe, the global chip shortage that has slowed down new car production, and the used car challenges have also piled on the pressure for dealerships all over the world.
Amid all the difficulty, there are plenty of grounds for optimism. The industry as a whole has proved itself to be incredibly adaptable and resourceful in how it’s responded to all these challenges, and delivered on customer expectations as best it can. Digitisation of the car buying experience has accelerated at a rate no-one would have thought possible at the beginning of 2020, and electronic vehicles (EVs) also had a record year for new registrations.
For us at CitNOW, this is no exception. We’ve worked hard to expand through this period of uncertainty and added a range of new features and integrations that have extended the capability of solutions for our customers. We have also grown as a business, making a number of exciting new acquisitions to enhance our service offering, and formed the CitNOW Group to support this.
We are honoured to have been recognised for our support to the industry at the recent AM Awards, winning Supplier of the Year for the second consecutive year. We’d like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who voted for us – we are delighted to have been part of your digital retailing journey!
Here’s an overview of the changes made this past year…
The CitNOW Group has been formed after the acquisition of complementary businesses, each of which have their own unique functionality to help retailers achieve their business goals and continue the digital transformation of the industry:
- Tootle: a part-exchange appraisal tool allowing the retailer to conduct accurate valuations, ensuring customers and retailers always get a fair deal
- Dealerweb: a cloud-based enquiry management and showroom system that helps retailers manage the sales process from the very first enquiry all the way to completion, across several points of contact
- Quik: end-to-end software for the workshop that integrates with dealership management systems, covering digital inspections, customer communications, parts availability, online payment options and more
- Reef Business Systems: showroom dealer management software that further enhances how dealers can manage their sales processes
Within the CitNOW solutions, we’ve constantly been developing and introducing new functionality, helping you to create digital communications that are more detailed, more professional and that resonate with customers better than ever before:
- Live: our live video feature was introduced in May 2020, during the first national lockdown, giving dealers the ability to interact with customers face-to-face by digital means, for fast and engaging connection for both sales and workshop activity
- Desktop: in the summer of 2020, our desktop functionality was added to enable live sessions to be run through desktop browsers
- Web: we’ve enabled the highest-quality imagery and video to be recorded, including automatic background replacement (aBGR), Tilt, Zoom and Hotspots, so customers receive the slickest and clearest sales listings possible
- Clarity: enhanced audio that makes recordings crisper and clearer, and filters out any distracting background noises on sales floors or in workshops, powered by Dolby.io
- Video purposes: we’ve seen a marked increase in the use of pre-recorded intros and outros of videos to support customer communication and drive efficiency. These have included explanations of COVID measures and new car lead nurturing.
As well as acquisitions and our own developments, we’ve also been hard at work partnering with other automotive suppliers to provide you with useful integrations from a range of different solutions:
- iVendi: clickable finance options are now available within CitNOW Sales, so that customers can apply for finance, check eligibility or reserve a vehicle directly from the video presentation page
- Tootle: links to vehicle valuations through Tootle can also be integrated into the video presentation pages on CitNOW Sales, bringing sales of new cars and the trade-in of old ones together
- Bumper: starting with the integration with Auto Service Finance, which supports the application and approval for finance covering repair or after-sales work, our latest integration with Bumper allows us to embed buy-now, pay-later capabilities into workshop videos to add further flexibility to how customers pay for repairs
- MyPorsche, MyBMW and MyMini: these customer-facing apps now benefit from the introduction of video to assist with maintenance carried out in the workshop, and to create a more personalised experience
- Keyloop: we’ve increased efficiency for workshop technicians with this integration by reducing the data entry requirements using dropdowns and pre-fills to input customer vehicle and contact information, which saves time and reduces potential errors
One thing that remains constant is that customers want professional, clear communications and personalised service, and through our range of solutions, you’ll be able to satisfy their demands and maintain strong profitability, both in the showroom and in the workshop.
CitNOW is here to help you take your videos and customer experiences to the next level. Take a closer look at all the capabilities within our solutions and what you can achieve with them here or watch our How2CitNOW videos to brush up on skills, technique and tips.