I spent my sequester time looking for smart people with fresh takes on the crisis. First, in the “obvious” category: a lot of people got hurt, and dealers who could sell online got hurt a little less. By the way, if you’re in need of some encouragement, click on over to Megadealer News and check out some of the philanthropic efforts underway. I have been actively seeking positive news for my Twitter feed.
I like to frame this in terms of people developing new capabilities.
Going forward, buyer behavior is going to change. Some of this is an acceleration of existing trends. Balaji Srinivasan writes that corona is putting an end to the Twentieth Century:
- Offices → Remote work
- Stadium sports → eSports
- Movie theaters → Streaming
- TV news → YouTube news
- College → MOOCs
- Public school → Internet homeschooling
- Corporate journalism → Citizen journalism
He might have added socializing by video conference. We had our kids staying with us, doing remote work by day, and Zoom parties in the evening. I like to frame this in terms of people developing new capabilities. Here is Andrew Tai talking about people in his neighborhood having groceries delivered for the first time.
I got to know Max Zanan from watching Joe St. John’s webcasts, talking about touchless car delivery and service pickup. In a pandemic world, we are not just worried about dirt on the floormats. Interior prophylaxis is part of the service. Max also points out that, if you can’t sell service contracts in the dealership, you can still sell them Direct to Consumer. This is something I know a little about, so maybe I’ll do another post just on that.
Ridership on New York’s transit system is down 90%, and experts say this could portend a permanent change in the mobility equation. The alternative to a personal vehicle used to be public transit or, in drivable cities like Atlanta, ride hailing. Both are good ways to get sick.
Guns, ammo, and survival gear sold out rapidly, as if everyone is suddenly a “prepper.” I imagine these people will want to have their own vehicle, with four-wheel drive. I can relate, because I lived in South Florida for many years. You don’t want to be waiting on Uber when there’s a hurricane bearing down.
My last few findings are from the world of computer networking. Infrastructure becomes a challenge when the dealership shifts to online work, notably network security. Virus scanning and security procedures may not be up to speed when people are working from home. Also, not all dealer software is web-based, so VPN access becomes a requirement.
Be safe out there.