By Matt Moore, CEO, DealerPeak

When the pandemic hit, it irrevocably changed our industry, and the world, as we know it. Companies had to adapt and pivot in ways no one would have ever dreamed of just a few years ago. Dealerships are now constantly implementing new strategies and a wide range of new technologies to ensure customer satisfaction.

With the introduction of these new tools and platforms, it’s becoming more important than ever to have easy and seamless integration with the systems that power your dealership.

As the landscape of tech platforms continues to expand, we’re going to see a stronger demand for data sharing and interoperability for dealerships. Dealerships want to own their data and they want to be able to leverage it how they best see fit. Whereas many systems from the past restrict data access or charge for it, we’re taking a different approach.

An Open API (Application Program Interfacing) allows for a seamless two-way data sharing between your systems. It’s designed in such a way that makes it easy for all of your technology providers and even your own developers to connect with the systems that power your dealership and share data. Dealers can now “plug and play” a variety of new tools and platforms all the while giving customers a seamless experience.

CRM and API make a good team
One of the areas that can most benefit from an open API is your CRM. Your CRM is the “single source of truth” for all customer interactions and touchpoints with your dealership over their entire lifecycle. Having easy access to this data provides dealerships and technology vendors alike with a new tool to help navigate the digital age. Find an awesome new DR tool to help you facilitate online deals? Well, it needs to integrate with your internal systems or it’s pretty useless.

Or, use that same DR tool with the Dealerpeak Open API and it gives digital retailing partners the ability to get data back on the leads sent into CRM. This allows them to see in real-time how their leads convert to sales. Other examples of integration partners include marketing/fulfillment partners who help drive up marketing efficiency they can use API to retrieve data on converting customers to build better audience sets based on the highest converting customers. An enterprise group could do API queries from a business intelligence tool to perform custom and complex reporting across their enterprise.

CRM or DMS
Traditionally, the DMS is thought of as the center of data for a dealer group but industry standards and demands are rapidly changing. When it comes to the future of auto retail, the most important data to pay attention to is the data that pertains to the customer lifecycle – data that lives in CRM and not DMS. With accurate, detailed, and up-to-date customer data, the industry can cater to each individual buyer and consistently deliver a strong experience for the customer, while delivering more retail opportunities for your dealership.

API benefits both the dealer and the consumer
API is mutually beneficial for dealers and consumers alike. For dealers, you’ll be able to quickly and easily integrate the latest and greatest innovations in automotive retail technology without relying on your vendors’ development team to do custom work. It cuts costs and in turn, you’ll get stronger sales and marketing results. As for the consumer, they’ll have a more consistent and integrated experience across all platforms and in-person/virtual touchpoints. For the industry as a whole, Open APIs will reduce the barriers for innovators to compete against the big digital disruptors. Dealerships could easily use the very same tools the Goliaths of this business are using, but they wouldn’t have to spend millions developing their own technology because, thanks to the API, the work has already been done for them.

The future strength of your CRM and DMS are invariably tied to the benefits of multiple integration options and lightning-fast performance in order to provide unparalleled customer service. By implementing Open API solutions into the industry, that goal is well within reach.

Author: Christine Corkran

Digital Dealer