The Evolution of the Automotive Dealership

Walk into any automotive dealership of twenty years ago today, you’d think you hopped into the DeLorean from the Back to the Future movies.  Dealerships had the look and smell of your grandparent’s den: floor-to-ceiling windows that shared walls with dark colors or wood paneling.Missy Jensen - DMEautomotive

The floors? Plain tile (usually white or beige)…the type you’d find in a grade school cafeteria.

The waiting area? A hanging photograph or an oil-based “likeness” of a popular vehicle sold at the dealership.

The customer service center? Not so much a center but a rather oblique room…a room filled with padded chairs and a cashier seated in a cage, waiting for you to pay for services rendered.

That was your father’s automotive dealership.

Today’s Car Dealership

The car dealerships of today offer quite a contrast compared to yesteryear’s customer experience.

  • Walls decorated with abstract art and murals…
  • Wall-to-wall bamboo or decorative flooring…
  • Waiting areas filled with large screened LCDs, satellite programming and work stations equipped with high-speed data ports…
  • Customer service areas that are open-aired, complete with windows to watch your vehicles get serviced and access to free concessions

Times Have Changed in the Automotive Industry

But why the change?

In an effort to increase customer interaction and improve their experiences, automotive manufacturers continue to explore ways to enhance and create an appealing environment, not only for customers, but for salespersons as well.

So what can dealerships do to capitalize on technology and improve customer visits?

  • Utilize or install large screens at high-traffic areas that highlight current or upcoming vehicles, announce promotions or provide additional information about the dealership
  • Touch-screen monitors in the service department that provide service information for your vehicle, allow for the scheduling of future appointments and even access to social media sites like Facebook for coupons and specials
  • Using RFID tracking technology (such as that provided by MyDealerLot), your dealership could easily greet customers by name as they walk through your door and/or instantly put their name and vehicle on a plasma screen, displaying a service queue before they even walk through the door.  Ultimately, this technology expedites the entire process and makes it effortless and enjoyable for the customer.

As technology continues to improve, so will dealership processes and overall experience.  What predictions do you see taking shape that can help improve your dealership?

~ Missy Jensen, Social Media Manager at DMEautomotive

Missy designs, deploys and maintains the social media initiatives for DMEautomotive in an effort to increase brand awareness, distribute company and industry news, provide updates on products and services and promote consumer engagement. Missy enjoys the process of learning; researching and watching projects come to fruition!

Prior to her transformation into a web specialist and work with DMEautomotive, she has 10 years of experience in the marketing and communications industry. Missy served as the Director, Handicapping & Communications for a regional golf association and helped successfully launch and maintain a cutting edge technology-based ticket resale program on behalf of the St. Louis Cardinals.

Missy attended St. Lawrence University where she graduated Magna Cum Laude with a BS in Psychology. She also holds a Master’s Degree from Miami University in Oxford, OH. She can be reached at and check her out on LinkedIn.

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