The 3 Phases To A Great Idea
Arthur C. Clarke, the famous author who wrote 2001: A Space Odyssey, once wrote that there are 3 Phases To A Great Idea:
- During the first phase, people tell you "That your idea is crazy and will never work."
- During the second phase, they say "It might work, but is not worth doing."
- During the third phase, they say "I always knew it would go that way."
For almost three years now I've been pursuing my dream of building a company around car dealer shopping cart ecommerce for vehicles and F+I.
In yesterday's Dallas Morning News, the following article ran as the feature article on the front page of their business section:
New car dealers move toward online transactions.
While I don't know that we are all the way into the third phase yet with the car dealership shopping cart, it does feel good to be at least passing the second.
To me, whether the car dealer shopping cart idea will rate as "great" or not will depend upon whether the following predictions of mine will come true:
- All dealers and manufacturers will leverage "self-serve shop online" as part of their digital marketing strategy. This will become the next big thing in auto + the new competitive battleground.
- Who does the best job online will separate which dealers survive and thrive and which ones get eliminated in "over-dealered" markets.
- Shopping cart ecommerce will be the primary monetization channel used by online advertising in automotive. Why have them look if they can only research + inquire, but not shop + buy?
- Third party websites will stop selling leads to dealers. They will get paid for attracting and educating consumers, but stop superimposing themselves into the dealers' and manufacturers' relationship with consumers. An email lead is not a buying experience.
- Consumers like Ashley Marshall (the customer quoted in the Dallas Morning News article), will demand the "self-serve shop and buy online" capability from car dealers to even consider doing business with their store.
- Ditto for online service scheduling, as well as purchases of parts and accessories.
- For online vehicle sales, low price will yield to better experience as the battleground for online consumer mindshare.
I have also made the Dallas News article available in a *.pdf format and added hyperlinks to the referenced dealerships here.
If you would like to make a comment (some of those predictions can hit pretty hard if you haven't thought of them before) or ask a question, I've created a section in the Ai-Dealer forum for just those purposes.
If you would like to hear this article discussed on a radio interview, you may do so here.