We came, we saw, we learned, and we schmoozed. The 2023 ACE Automotive Conference and Expo was held October 17-19 at the Fallsview Casino Resort and Convention Centre in Niagra Falls, ON. Presented by the Motor Vehicles Retailers of Ontario (MVRO) and Consolidated Dealers, ACE was a three-day smorgasbord of automotive learning for Dealers, suppliers and industry experts. With record Dealer attendance, ACE was packed with incredible speakers, quality content, an onsite trade show, social events and abundant networking opportunities (not to mention some pretty cool swag).
Leadbox’s President & CEO, Ian Cruickshank, and Sr. Director of Sales, Randy Leal, were in attendance and happy to share their biggest takeaways from this electrifying event.
Lee Jays – Business Futurist and Innovation Leader from Walmart Canada, led a keynote that set the stage for the event and left a lasting impact. Here are a few things that stuck with Ian.
“At Leadbox, we regularly invest time in considering the future of the auto business. Be sure to look outside the Auto business, which can be hard sometimes as we are all so focused on our world. If you’re looking for a kick start to consider the future of automotive, have a look at Steve Greenfield’s book, The Future of Automotive Retail.” – Ian Cruickshank – President and CEO Leadbox.
The panel that Ian enjoyed the most was the Used Car Pannel with Mathew Growden, Shawn Vording (CarFax), Vince Palladino (Palladino Group), Matt Trapp (Manheim)
Interesting and conflicting stats from a couple of folks on the panel:
So which is it – Is the auction seeing more inventory skewing their numbers, or is CarFax seeing less activity on their side? I’ll let you be the judge based on your own inventory, but the bottom line is that things are still not back to normal since the Pandemic – and not by a long shot. The collective expectation of the panel is that it will take about 5-7 more years to get back to “normal” inventory levels and business operations. So, we all need to stay buckled up and keep an eye on our own businesses to ensure we’re as successful as possible through the rest of this decade.
On Electric Vehicles:
Ian also had the pleasure of speaking at the event. This time, he was sharing details on what Customer Data Platforms can do for your Dealership, not only from the marketing efficiency perspective but also relative to the operational benefits that come from gaining more insights into the customer behaviours displayed in the various departments at your store.
“At Leadbox, we’ve been spending a lot of time discussing this as we continue building our Dealership Customer Data Platform (CDP). You can gain so much benefit from having a CDP in your store – even a better understanding of your Customer Lifetime Value can help with key decisions in your store.” – Ian Cruickshank – President and CEO Leadbox.
Here are a few of Randy’s main Takeaways:
As inventory and interest rates collide, these elements and rising flooring costs are causing Dealerships to look closely at their business costs. The way forward seems to be a combination of ensuring that your store generates a higher-than-average market share while managing costs as effectively as possible. It’s a tight balance, but Leadbox is here to help.
“Wow, what a show! Amidst the workshops, learnings, and the buzz of collaboration, the ACE conference in Niagara Falls echoed the spirit of resilience in the automotive industry. Seeing the Ontario market dealers and partners come together to navigate the challenges the industry has faced over the last few years while simultaneously looking for paths to operational excellence and innovation was nothing short of awe-inspiring. The opportunity to witness this type of coming together at association events like ACE reminds us all of why we do what we do, all while reigniting the passion for our amazing industry.” Randy Leal – Sr. Director of Sales
As the curtains fell on the 2023 ACE Automotive Conference and Expo, the automotive industry had a renewed sense of purpose and possibility. The ideas exchanged, technologies explored, and connections forged during the event are set to reverberate across the industry. The ACE Conference is a testament to the transformative power of collaboration and innovation in shaping the automotive landscape as we drive into the future. The road ahead is paved and powered by the ideas and advancements that emerged at this groundbreaking event in Niagara Falls.
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