Technology is impacting the automobile industry in major ways. “Cars are becoming large smart devices,” writes Karl Utermoblen on, “with advanced emergency braking capabilities, mapping technology for autonomous driving, better fuel efficiency and cars-as-a-service as a form of transportation.”

What hasn’t caught up yet with the vehicles, however, is digital marketing and retailing among the nation’s auto dealers. But in order to connect with 21st century consumers, they will need to come up to speed on the changes and opportunities taking place in their industry.

Andy MacLeay, director of digital marketing at, recently explored the latest digital retail trends in an interview on CBT Automotive Network, a multi-media platform for retail automotive executives and managers.

A top trend this year, according to MacLeay, is personalization–dealerships moving from a product-centric shopping experience to an experiental-shopping experience in the showroom, and online to giving customers information that’s both customized and useful. “We know,” he says, “that over 91 percent of people are more likely to shop with brands that recognize, remember and understand who you are.”

To keep up with this fast-changing market, MacLeay offers dealers these digital marketing and advertising strategies and tips:

  • Gone are the days of television advertising. In its place must be paid search, retargeting and social media plus video advertising;
  • These digital experiences must be personalized and optimized across desktop, tablet and mobile platforms;
  • While eight out of ten consumers want to experience at least part of the auto shopping process online, 90 percent still want to ink the deal in the showroom.

Concludes MacLeay, “Whether it’s doing the process online or coming in and talking to somebody at the dealership, the really successful dealers today are going to meet the consumers wherever they need to be!”