Customer experience focus for Keyloop event in Toronto

Keyloop, a 40-year-old U.K.-based global supplier of digital solutions for the automotive retail industry formally introduced its new name to Canadian OEMs, dealers, and media at a Shift to Experience-First conference at Hotel X in Toronto, Ont., on May 2.

Keyloop is the international name for a company many dealers would be familiar with: CDK International, and before that ADP Dealer Services. Keyloop has been growing rapidly by acquisition and in February 2022 acquired SERTI, a leading DMS provider in Canada. In March 2021, Keyloop acquired another Canadian tech firm providing services to dealerships: RAPID RTC. Members of SERTI’s leadership team were on hand at the event.

The company has 20,000-plus dealer customers in 90 countries, generating 20 million touchpoints and one billion transactions per year.

Keyloop’s Chief Alliances Officer Harvey, (who goes by her one name) told Canadian auto dealer that creating awareness about the company, which has Canadian offices in Montréal, Qué., and Winnipeg, Man., was one of the primary reasons for the conference.

“We’re actually pleased with the turnout for a company that’s just rebranded and is on a transformation ourselves,” said Harvey. “This is the first of many events we’ll do, kind of breakfast briefings, getting people together. This is not only important for us to talk, but also for everyone else to network and get back together post-pandemic. People have been estranged. It’s really nice to have everyone in the same room.”

The conference opened with a talk by Harvey about the need for a seamless customer experience in automotive. She presented the company’s vision for creating the technology backbone to enable the types of experience customers want and many OEMs and dealers still fall short of.

“There is an urgency to shift to a new way of doing business,” said Harvey. “The experience of walking into a car dealership is changing. It’s moving from closing a sale to opening a relationship.”

Harvey’s presentation was followed by one on the customer journey in automotive from Claudia Worms Sciama, Managing Director of Google Canada.

Worms Sciama presented data from Google and other research that talked about the shifting expectations of consumers when it comes to researching and acquiring a vehicle. For many consumers, they can perform many parts of the buying journey online, and they prefer it.

She also said the industry should be prepared for an increase in interest in EVs based on a 52% spike in search for EV-related terms in Canada this year. “Canada is at a tipping point on EVs because search queries for EVs are at a higher rate than other advanced countries,” she said. “There is a great need for education on EVs.” By comparison, the search for EVs only increased 22% in the UK over the same time period.

She presented data that showed in 2022, 1 in 2 Canadians who considered an EV purchased one. That’s up from 1 in 3 in 2021. Globally, she said in 1 in 5 cars sold this year is forecasted to be an EV.

Jacqui Barker, Global OEM Director, Keyloop, then moderated a panel discussion featuring representatives from Canadian OEMs and a GTA-based dealership group.

Panelists included: Aleiza Alerta, Director, Marketing & Corporate Communications, Volvo Car Canada; Roch Lessard, Product and Corporate Strategy, Hyundai Canada Linda Frey, Vice President Marketing, Policaro Group, and Manoj Tiwary, Chief Information Officer, Subaru Canada.

Panelists discussed issues such as the need for more transparency in sharing data, and for greater collaboration between OEMs and their dealer partners, and the challenges that remain in accessing and using data that can enable a better customer experience.

Harvey said that there is no other company in the digital solutions space that offers the same products as Keyloop.

“You have standalone DMS companies, but you don’t actually have DMS companies that have an acquisition strategy like us or (our) partner ecosystem,” said Harvey. “We are constantly looking at the market to see where we can invest in our own product — where we can build additional functionality. That is additionally why we have the partner ecosystem.”

She added that a lot of Keyloop’s competitors are focused on building automotive tech, while her company is interested in building tech for automotive.

“Running an automotive business, you do need niche products that lend themselves to that business. But you also need business products,” said Harvey. “You need marketing functionality. You need data analytics. What we’re really trying to do is allow our customer base to not only use the niche products, but also to integrate the other products they need to run their business.”

“I think what will put our product ahead of others is the platform and the unified data model. That allows that API first connectivity. If you go back to just DMS vendors in the space, they either don’t have that or it’s in very limited use cases,” she added.

Related Articles
Share via
Copy link