In the wake of this year’s National Automotive Dealers Association (NADA) Convention in Las Vegas, Autosphere had a unique opportunity to sit down with Reynolds and Reynolds’ executive team.
The conversation covered some notable aspects of changes that have or are taking place at this leading provider of automotive dealer software services and solutions.
According to Reynolds and Reynolds President Chris Walsh, with a significant change in leadership over the past year, came a new approach to business, with an emphasis on flexibility.
A big announcement in March was the restructuring of dealer agreements. Walsh explained that the emphasis was to make these agreements “simpler, shorter and more streamlined.”
The objective, explained Walsh was to reduce both the time and energy spent on these agreements, reducing friction points and enabling dealers to focus on what they do best.
“With Reynolds products, whether they want to retail to their customers in-store, online, or a combination of the two, dealers can rest assured they don’t have to sacrifice anything,” Walsh stated. “Now, they can also rely on an agreement that is clear and concise.”
This is just one example of Reynolds and Reynolds choosing to focus its efforts on helping its customers succeed. “In being a more flexible company in how we apply our business goals, the result will allow us to channel our efforts in helping our clients achieve their business objectives,” explained Walsh. “Ultimately, if our customers are successful, the better chance we have at being successful.”
For Canadian dealers, there has also been a significant change at Reynolds, namely closer alignment of the company’s U.S. and Canadian operations. Lance Alverson, Vice President of Sales for Reynolds and Reynolds, has been tasked with this greater integration between operations in both countries, taking into consideration the differences in demographics, culture, and operational considerations.
Chris Walsh also explained during the meeting that participating at the NADA Convention this year proved to be an eye-opener. “Going into the event, we weren’t really sure what to expect,” he said. During the show, Walsh explained that the volume of people visiting the booth and expressing interest in Reynolds’ line of products and solutions was double what it had been prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. “We had some really great and in-depth conversations with people,” Walsh explained, a lot no doubt due to the lack of physical interaction that has been taking place over the last two years.
Reynolds’ acquisition of Gubagoo Virtual Retailing; has also proved to be a major gamechanger. Gubagoo, which provides dealers with real-time alerts whenever there is car buying engagement or a repeat customer visiting their website, has been extremely well received, receiving multiple awards, including a Highest Rated award category for three years in a row from DrivingSales in the U.S. as well as AWA Awards for Conversational Commerce and Digital Retailing.
Gubagoo’s ChatSmart service, which provides dealers with a uniform messaging platform across all customer touchpoints, has proven to be an effective tool to help them build long-term retention and create more business opportunities, due to its ability to create both a guided and personalized shopping experience for each client.
Walsh explained that solutions like Gubagoo really represent a lynchpin for a company like Reynolds and Reynolds, providing it with a retail anywhere strategy for its dealer customers. “[Gubagoo] is really helping them connect with their clients, whether online, in-store, or a blend of the two.”
With additional brands in the portfolio, such as GoMoto and Storm, which are helping dealers transform their fixed operations by providing smart express-service kiosks, Reynolds and Reynolds is better positioned than before to provide a complete Retail Management System solution.
Lance Alverson noted that these smart express kiosks have proved particularly popular with Canadian dealers, providing fast, efficient, contactless vehicle drop-off and pickup in a climate-controlled environment.
On the front end, Alverson described the partnership between Reynolds and DealerCorp Solutions. By integrating DealerCorp’s Deskit solution with Reynold’s core products like ERA-IGNITE, the result is a fully streamlined, digital contracting and retailing experience that provides yet another highly capable tool in a dealer’s arsenal.
Put it all together and you essentially have a turn-key retail-management solution that now covers almost every facet of automotive retailing operation—providing dealers with peace of mind, as well as the opportunity to create a more engaging, personal, and complete retail experience.
And, given the economic uncertainties and supply shortages, many dealers are currently facing, any tool or solution that can help create and cultivate long-term relationships with their customers has never been more critical.