14 min read
Oct 16, 2017
Auto Dealers

How to Choose the Right Auto Dealer Software for Your Dealership

If you're running a dealership and looking to upgrade or even choose auto dealer software, then look no further because we've put together a guide to help.

Abhishek SinghTeam Lead

The automotive industry is at the heights of its "electric" revolution with new technology adoption and innovations like electric vehicles (EV). According to Bloomberg New Energy Finance:

Based on these stats, the automotive industry is embracing new technological changes. But is your auto dealership still stuck with traditional paper and pencil approach to handle your customer and deal with original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and franchises? Is your auto dealership finding it difficult to manage sales inventory of used and new cars? Excel spreadsheets or simple customized accounting programs won't be enough to manage sales and customers of your auto dealership. What you need is auto dealership software.

Read this article to find out how an auto dealer software can help you grow your vehicle dealership business based on its benefits, features, pricing, and some examples of the software listed on GetApp'sauto dealer software directory.

Let's start with defining an auto dealer management software.

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What is auto dealer software?

Auto dealer management software automates and streamlines some of the redundant tasks that vehicle dealers face in their daily back-end office to front-end business. These tasks can be listed as follows:

  • Track financial accounts related to invoicing and ledger;

  • Manage inventory of used and unused vehicles;

  • Generate customized reports related to accident history and credit reports;

  • Optimize cost of vehicle repairs.

These are just some of the tasks that auto dealer software can help you automate. If you are a part of a sales team and office administration at an auto dealership, using auto dealer software will help you manage tasks much more efficiently. Most auto dealer software solutions also integrate with customer relationship management (CRM) and sales applications to offer you more scope in managing sales and customers separately.

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Does my business really need an auto dealer software?

In 2016, the sales of vehicles in the US marginally increased to 17.55 million units, powered by record sales of SUVs. However, vehicle sales slumped by the end of 2016 and recorded a further decline in the first two quarters of 2017.

Source: Fortune: Car Sales Might Finally Increase for the First Time This Year. US vehicle sales volume showed a marginal increase in June 2017, which is expected to increase further until the end of the year.

Industry analysts largely blame this slump in vehicle sales figure due to rising interest rate, increased tariffs, and political uncertainties, which means that your auto dealership could be in for a rough ride in 2017.

So, how do you maintain robust sales figures in these stormy waters? Auto dealer software solutions can help streamline your auto dealership business to enhance sales, manage customer relationships, and franchise locations. Here are some benefits of auto dealer software that can help you boost vehicle sales:

  • I mprove marketing : Auto dealership marketing software such as Marketing 360 can help small business broaden their customer base and increase vehicle sales volume. Auto dealership management software streamlines marketing tasks such as managing campaigns for the sales of used and new vehicle on social media, which can be monitored through a user-friendly dashboard and analytical tools.

  • Accelerate your CRM : ELEAD1ONE is auto dealer CRM software that helps you manage customers through multiple communication channels like phone, email, text messaging, and social media to log customer queries and resolve complaints related to vehicle repair and sale of new or used vehicles. Auto dealer software can help your sales rep manage leads by maintaining and tracking communications channels with prospective customers.

  • Simplify backend and frontend : BiT Dealership Software helps you manage work orders, inventory, sales reports, and other back and front-end data that would require you to input data manually. With an auto dealership software, you can maintain customer database that makes entering details of the customer based on their license ID for future communications simpler. The software also sends automatic reminders to customers when their vehicle service is due through SMS text messages.

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Is my business ready to implement an auto dealer software?

Before you implement any software in your business the key questions to ask is what are your business challenges and how would an auto dealer software help you resolve those challenges? Some of the questions that you should ask yourself while implementing an auto dealer software are as follows:

  • Do you find it difficult to manage multiple dealer locations? If your car dealership has more than one location or franchises then one of the challenges that you might be facing is coordinating with these franchise outlets. Multiple car dealerships make it a little difficult to share customer information, car servicing, and sales leads. However, a cloud storage solution is usually available in most auto dealer software, so you can centralize your information repository to work collaboratively with other car dealership outlets.

  • Is managing inventory of used and unused vehicle as well as spare parts a key business challenge? Keeping track of your vehicle inventory can be streamlined with auto dealer management software as it provides a listing of the vehicles on your website. All you have to do it update your inventory whenever you receive new or used cars from original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) or customers. Lastly, car dealer software notifies your service centers when you are running short on spare parts.

  • Do you find it difficult to manage customer database and credit reports? Auto dealer software helps you create custom forms with report builder features and adds extra fields to personalize documents based on customer loan requirements. Simplify the process of giving insurance to customers by reducing paperwork through auto-generated credit reports that are synced to credit loan bureaus such as Experian, TransUnion, Equifax, and others.

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What to look for when buying an auto dealer software?

Here are some questions to keep in mind while buying an auto dealer software:

  • Will you go for on-premise software or a cloud-based solution?

Do you have multiple car dealership locations? If your answer is yes, then choose cloud-based auto dealer software because your sales rep throughout your dealerships can view the same data related to CRM, inventory management, and vehicle service records. You can streamline your operations and workforce management through a cloud-based auto dealer management software as your employees can view the same data regardless of location. Opt for an on-premise software if just have a single car dealership and you don't need any collaboration with other business stakeholders.

  • Will you be able to integrate it with other software that you are already using?

Not all auto dealer software features inventory management, CRM, service repair management, and other essential features that you might need depending on your business requirements. By having auto dealer software that integrates with your software, you will have more options to prepare for unique business needs that may crop up in future.

  • Does the auto dealer software have an iOS and Android app?

The auto dealer software that you select should at least have an iOS or Android app as most customers view latest car deals on the smartphone. Besides you would also like your sales reps or employees to record information while they are at important car dealerships events, such as car auctions which can be managed through smartphone apps.

  • What are the pricing options available?

Auto dealer management software is mostly priced via one-time licenses and subscription-based models. If you want to make a single payment to purchase the software license, go for a one-time license plan. If you are not sure how long you would need auto dealer software, choose subscription-based pricing as you can renew your software license monthly.

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What are the essential features of auto dealer software?

While purchasing auto dealer software here are some essential features that you should keep in mind to choose a software based on your business requirements:

Features Description
Regulatory compliance Complies with vehicle ownership and identification regulations based on Office of Foreign Assets Control and Specially Designated Nationals regulations, by automatically cross-checking individuals with criminal records.
Credit checking Synchronizes an auto dealership's finance department with reports from credit bureaus such as Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion.
VIN database records Maintains a database of vehicle identification number (VIN) to add new vehicles to inventory and record sales data as it acts as a unique identification number.
Repair order tracking Manages customer complaints related to vehicle service repairs through repair order tracking feature to maintain a log of services conducted on a vehicle throughout its life-cycle.
Warranty and service Tracks and stores information related to vehicle warranty at the time of sale in a centralized database. Notifies vehicle dealerships when a customer's vehicle warranty is to expire to extend it further.

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What are the examples of a popular auto dealer software?

After getting a brief lowdown of some of the essential features that auto dealer software should have, here are some examples that are used across car dealerships.

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DealersLink is solution customized for a dealer-to-dealer wholesale marketplace that has an inventory management feature to help dealers buy and sell used and new vehicles. The software comprises of the following modules:

  • AuctionLink is a free vehicle auction software module that helps vehicle dealers in live bidding, reserved bidding, and generating bidding price reports.

  • LiquidationLink module helps dealers post used vehicles below the wholesale book value price to remove inventory of old vehicles at a suitable price.

  • Dealership Tools module helps vehicle dealers with inventory booking and management, photo management, and vendor consolidation.

  • ExportPro module stores vehicle details related to specifications, pricing, and photos of used and unused vehicles. The module helps automate creates description, marketing content such as stickers and guides, exports vehicle logs and integrates vehicle videos from YouTube and publishes them on the internet. ExportPro is also available for Android and iOS devices.

All these modules are available in separate pricing plans.

Price: The Basic plan is available for $95 per month

Source: GetApp DealersLink Overview. The screenshot above shows the online marketplace of used and new vehicles for auctioning on the software.

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ELEAD1ONE

ELEAD1ONE is a customer relationship management (CRM) software primarily designed for car dealerships. The software is custom made to easily integrate with multiple dealership management systems (DMS) and third-party software. To enhance customer channels of communication the software can integrate with phone, text, email, video, and direct mail system software. ELEAD1ONE features a mobile app for Android and iOS platforms to helps sales rep and car dealerships to connect with their customers and record customer data related to their driver's license and vehicle identification number (VIN), and sales inventory.

Price: Available on request

Source: GetApp ELEAD1ONE overview. The screenshot above shows the dashboard page of ELEAD1ONE software.

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BiT Dealership Software

BiT Dealership Software is an all-in-one complete solution for vehicle dealerships as the software helps to manage inventory, sales, work orders, lead management, and CRM. BiT Dealer Management Software has separate modules for all types of vehicles such as powersports dealer management system, powersports repair shop system, RV dealership system, OPE dealership system, and marine management solutions.

Price: Starts from $198 per month

Source: GetApp BiT Dealership Software Overview. The image above is a screenshot of the user interface for BiT Dealership Software.

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What Next?

By now you might have a fair idea of how auto dealer software can help your car dealership. Here are some extra GetApp resources that you should check out:

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