Viva Las Vegas! NADA 2024 RECAP: Top 3 Trends in Auto Retail Tech

By Amber Cruickshank

The Super Bowl wasn’t the only showstopping event held in one of North America’s most exciting cities. From February 1-4, 23,000 industry leaders gathered at the Las Vegas Convention Center for NADA Show 2024 (National Automobile Dealers Association). As always, NADA showcased how auto and truck dealers are driving motivation, community engagement, and taking inspiration to new heights. 

The event showcased a powerhouse of insights and connections. From riveting keynote speeches, like Hall of Famer Kurt Warner’s journey from adversity to triumph, to strategic discussions on industry challenges and opportunities, the NADA Show 2024 encapsulated the spirit of innovation and collaboration. 

As the curtains close on this year’s show, the momentum continues for Leadbox as valuable insights inspire our business to grow and evolve to meet the changing needs of our customers. Ian Cruickshank, President and CEO of Leadbox, soaked in every minute of the event and was happy to share his experience at NADA 2024, including the top three trends he sees for 2024. 

Ian Cruickshank, President and CEO – Leadbox Inc.

Each year I attend this event, I find that I’m more impressed with the organization and ease of getting booked and getting my pass. The only thing that could improve the event is to offer skateboards or scooters to all guests so that we can get from the North Hall to the West Hall with greater ease. That said, there was a shortcut – did you find it? (Thanks to the crew at SMedia for pointing it out.)

Due to unforeseen flight delays – yup, my first flight rained out – I arrived a day late. I was able to rebook a few important meetings, but it meant that I was behind the 8-ball from the beginning. Thanks to my Peloton for giving me the fitness to crush the whole show in one day.

All that aside, what were the most critical trends to grace the show floor? I’ll bet you can guess the first one: Artificial Intelligence (AI) was everywhere.

Artificial Intelligence

These days, if you’re not using AI to help with your operations, your products, or your services, there is a problem. Every day, we’re developing new ways to use AI to benefit our Dealers, Team Members and Car Buyers. At the show, it was evident that most companies use AI in some form. The more advanced organizations are figuring out ways to improve Dealer’s daily lives. Chatting with a few companies that had not yet implemented any AI improvements to their businesses was interesting. I appreciate that governance is essential, particularly in large publicly traded organizations. But don’t let that prevent you from experimenting early. If you need to play safe, start using sample data or quiring an AI system about your day-to-day activities.

AI Crunching Data: What are computers better at doing than we are? Of course, it’s data crunching. So you’ve got to figure out how to connect the data you want to understand to the AI system of your choosing. While at the show, I spent some time with a number of the big companies: Cox, Cars, CarFax, and others that don’t start with C. While they were talking about what’s coming with AI, the smaller, more agile companies had the more exciting tech. Sure, I may be Biased, but one of my favourite ones was Autograph Analytics’ use of LLM AI to enable the natural language questions to query all available analytics data. In their Ai Chat-enabled platform, I asked things like – Where am I getting the most leads from? And What is the most efficient lead source? The most fun thing is that you can also ask how AI deduced the information it shared. Think of it as “showing your work.”  Yes, just like you had to do in math class. I’m excited that this platform enables an unbiased view of ALL lead sources. Why do I like this so much? It’s simple – Leadbox keeps crushing it, and now it’s easier for dealers to see it in black and white.

CDP or Customer Data Platforms

This one fascinates me, especially since Leadbox is well into creating our own homegrown Canadian CDP (and yes, Canadian is a crucial part based on the differences in Canadian privacy regulations). It was pervasive this year to see agency booths or demos dawning the term CDP. As in many cases, the Canadian market needs tend to trail the US market. However, in this case, the need to use 1st party data (the essence of a CDP) has been the norm in the Canadian market for years. You may recall that in 2018 – your friend and mine – Mark Zuckerberg, was on the stand before a US Congress hearing about using private data to improve the results of important campaigns on Facebook, prompting a change in Facebook data use, which could be considered one of the most significant widespread changes in data use for digital advertising. But alas, the public and governments can do silly things when changing the rules. In many respects, the changes made here and with the elimination of 3rd party cookie tracking seem to have encouraged the gathering of even more PII (Personally Identifiable Information). Only now, we ask for it and use legally binding agreements to get more of it, which might be a little controversial. Still, the collection of PII in Customer Data Platforms enables the typical marketer to do much more than possible with a relatively benign 3rd party cookie.

The CDP is number 2 on the list of significant trends at the Las Vegas NADA event, and we look forward to sharing more details about the Leadbox CDP. But, if you can’t wait for announcements, I encourage you to let me know directly, and I’ll be sure to let you know when bata opportunities become available.

Augmented IMS (Inventory Management Systems)

For the last ten or more years, relatively few players can help you with the data you need to correctly price and merchandise your vehicles. A shock to me was that, in many cases, website companies don’t have their own IMS to house the inventory for Dealerships. Sure, car buyers, by and large, aren’t yet in the habit of buying their cars online. Still, website providers have been marketing large amounts of available inventory on Dealership websites for years. Why do many of them still not have a proprietary IMS? Instead, they take feeds from Homenet or other basic Inventory Managers to do the job for them. It leaves the door open for stand-alone companies to fill the void. A few of them are doing exactly that. Look closely enough; you’ll find a few exciting organizations doing their best to fill the need.

At Leadbox, we make your inventory dance, and it’s only getting better. The Leadbox IMS has for years been dubbed the Leadbox Backend. I know, exciting, right? Stay tuned for some changes to that somewhat vanilla name for our powerful IMS. The Leadbox Backend is a fully functional inventory management system with many time-saving functions enabling dealers to maximize their inventory. Plus, we’ve recently tied the IMS to our Content Server, which has enabled dealers’ inventory to be automatically (or, as I like to say, automagically) updated with current rates and offers from your OEM. Don’t hesitate to book some time with Amos, who can take you through all the magic available at your fingertips.

Get The Most Out Of Your Business With Leadbox

Well – there you have it, Ian’s take on the top three trends in automotive retail technology from NADA 2024. Be sure to check back often, as we consistently blog on the best in the business and tips and tricks to help you get the most out of your business. The best is yet to come!


Events, Industry Thoughts, Industry Trends