SAN FRANCISCO — This year saw a slew of companies enter the automotive space looking to push vehicle retailing into the Digital Age. With the New Year’s bells within earshot, several of them offered their 2017 predictions in the areas of marketing and F&I.

Aaron Krane, the CEO of one of those companies, Drive Motors, had three top predictions for the New Year. They revolve around millennials, the F&I office and the threat companies like Amazon and Uber pose to the dealership world.

“Consumers who don’t like being ‘desked’ will spend less time inside the F&I manager’s office, especially as auto dealers sell more F&I products online — and fewer offline,” Krane said.  “With more transparency and digital transactions, everyone wins. In a hassle-free environment, consumers will be more likely to self-upgrade”

While only a prediction, Krane speaks partly from experience. His company, Drive Motors, has seen how customers upsell themselves on F&I products first hand. Through his platform, customers can go through the entire process of buying a car, including F&I products, completely online. And, on average, 50% of customers include at least one F&I product to their order.

Krane also believes that millennials will gain market share and gravitate toward on-demand car-renting and purchasing experiences, which he says will influence auto-dealers’ behavior/offerings. As far as companies like Amazon and Uber go, he believes they will begin to encroach on dealership market share and customer relationships.

Valerie Vallancourt, the vice president of marketing for Outsell, a customer engagement platform, has her own set of predictions focused on automotive marketing. In 2017, she sees auto dealers completely ditching traditional marketing like newspaper and radio ads for a completely digital approach.

Digital marketing, she said, is comparatively cheap and can be easily personalized and works on mobile devices. Most importantly, digital marketing is measurable, she noted, so dealers can see exactly the return they are getting for money spent.

In her perspective, the top digital marketing trends that dealers can expect in 2017 are customer lifecycle marketing; predictive analytics and machine learning; buyer detection; cross-channel integration and targeting; and results attribution.

Originally posted on F&I and Showroom