Bringing digital media into your store

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It’s well known at this point that consumers spend time online before they step into your store.  New research also proves that millennials will be attracted to digital displays in your dealership. While not surprising, there are few dealerships yet fully equipped to satisfy the in-store demands of millennials (and other shoppers).

A report from CDK Global on millennial car shoppers stated “Millennials are the first of the digital natives, the tech-savvy kids brought up in the digital age. As a result, they are hyperconnected to their devices. When asked an open-ended question about what makes their generation unique, one in four answered technology use.”

This is consistent with another study from Tobii Pro Insight that found millennials gravitate towards interactive digital displays as part of the car shopping experience.

The evidence seems clear that more extensive implementation of digital media in dealerships, such as digital signage and touch-screen kiosks, helps future proof your dealership and lets you cater to the next wave of car shoppers who will want to self-serve and educate themselves using technology.

However, as with many technology implementations, there are hurdles and some important decisions to be made.

Hurdles can often start with the actual wiring and data cabling of the building itself. Many stores were designed and built without accounting for the electrical and data requirements of digital media. While installing the appropriate wiring during construction is a relatively inexpensive proposition, doing so after the fact is more costly.

As OEMs are becoming more savvy with digital signage and kiosk-based media, their dealer standards are catching up.

In that case, it can come down to a choice between a more expensive installation or choices for screen locations that may be more cost-efficient to install but aren’t necessarily in the ideal spot in the store. Stay away from wi-fi-based solutions. For a commercial signage, kiosk or video wall installation, wi-fi is simply not reliable or robust enough.

As OEMs are becoming more savvy with digital signage and kiosk-based media, their dealer standards are catching up. This will certainly help the situation, and give dealers guidance on where in-store screens should be located.

Content for those screens warrants careful thought as well. For many dealers, there are OEM programs that offer the benefits of brand-compliant content and a heavily subsidized cost of getting the content produced. While there are many third-party solutions on the market, many are not aligned with brand standards and place the full cost of the content plan on the dealership. I certainly encourage you to look to your OEM programs first.

For dealerships that are part of a multi-brand group, there is also the potential challenge of dealing with multiple providers across your stores, as different brands will generally be working with different digital signage providers.

While this may mean dealing with more than one vendor, that inefficiency is likely more than offset by the benefits of working with the OEM program. Ongoing content creation is the largest cost involved in digital media, as hardware is generally just a start-up cost, so the shared content model of most OEM programs more than balances the need to work with multiple vendors.

As the research mentioned earlier shows, a digital-rich store is one that will be more attractive to millennial shoppers. For dealers who haven’t yet taken the step towards in-store digital media, that might be just the incentive they need to dive in.

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