Back in The Driving Seat Once More

This year’s NFDA’S Driving Digital marketing event proved a huge success with Sue Robinson welcoming dealers from across the country to Central Hall, Westminster.

Much like the quality of any good meal, the key to success is in the quality of the ingredients, and this year’s event did not disappoint. We were very fortunate to have such a strong line up of speakers, who provided us with valuable insights into digital acceleration and the impressive successes of the past year.

We began with Owen Edwards from Grant Thornton, who talked about challenging headwinds the UK economy is set to face. Owen opened our eyes to the impact of supply and demand (inflation, cost of living rises etc) challenges will have on the car market over the next few years.

Ian Plummer joined us from Auto Trader and followed on with a deeper look into how the market is changing and the speed of the shift away from diesel and towards electrification, as we all place a greater focus on a greener, cleaner environment.

Mark Palmer added to this, highlighting both the speed of change and the difficulty of finding cheap electric cars in the current climate, dominated by SUVs and higher end products.

We also welcomed Kim Costello, from Pendragon. In an honest appraisal of the business climate Kim discussed how a focus on customer service will be a key to success as we likely face a recession and challenging times.

Neil Addley from JudgeService shed a light on how dealers can continue to adapt to survive in this increasingly digital-first world.  He talked of the extinct Dodo and businesses that had failed to adapt, to remind us of all the importance of not getting left behind.

Finally in our Retailer Spotlight, headline speaker Eddie Hawthorne shared with us his take on how the pandemic has created a new customer focused climate, concentrating on the consumer journey itself.

He discussed how the process of booking in a car and, also buying one, has become an increasingly digital journey. He outlined how Arnold Clark took advantage of the pandemic “down-time” to work through the “mobile” journey starting with aftersales, whether through a mobile website or the Arnold Clark app.

Overall, the event provided a pause for thought and valuable takeaways that to survive these new challenges and economic headwinds, dealers must adapt and become increasingly digitally and customer focused.

The presentations are available to download here.