Driving Digital 2019 took place on Thursday 8 February at Villa Park, Birmingham. The well-attended event provided a mixed audience of retailers, industry experts and suppliers, with insightful updates on the changes facing automotive retail.

Sue Robinson, NFDA Director, welcomed the attendees and gave an overview of the current work NFDA is doing including the pilot phase of the all-new Electric Vehicle Approved (EVA) scheme and Drive My Career, which was launched exactly one year ago.

The first speaker of the day was Nathan Coe, Chief Financial Officer and Chief Operational Officer of Auto Trader, used data science and statistics to analyse the challenges facing automotive retailers and the changes affecting consumer behaviour. Nathan shared some specific tips which could benefit retailers in today’s fast-paced marketplace.

Neil Smith, Imperial Cars Operations Director, described the progress the company has made over the past years to improve their customers’ journey: ‘focussing on the user experience is key’. Imperial’s Click – Call -Collect model is a clear example of the efforts they have made to simplify the car buying process.

Neil Addley, MD of Judge Service, showed how important it is to have customers who are passionate about your brand. He outlined the key ‘micro-moments of truth’ that can help deliver customer satisfaction and how this can, ultimately, speed up stock turn.

After a short coffee break, which provided and ideal networking opportunity, Auto Trader New Car Brand Director Sue Fish and Operations Director Ian Plummer took the stage. The speakers demonstrated the importance of transparency to ensure a smooth buying journey that customers can be satisfied with. The customer journey needs to be: local, easy, transparent and fair.

Finally, John O’Hanlon, CEO of Waylands Automotive, highlighted the key steps a franchised retailer needs to consider to be successful. He explained that Ambition, Brand, Culture, Development and Expertise are the key values Waylands has been built upon.

The presentations from the event are available on request. To request your copy, please email louise.woods@rmif.co.uk