Is the clock ticking on the independent dealer channel?
The optimists out there will say no way. The pessimists will say they see the writing on the wall. This month’s cover feature explores what’s next for the independent dealer channel. How it’s changing, how will it change even further, and what does this mean if you’re not a mega-dealer or owned by a private-equity firm? Let’s be clear, we’re not talking about the total demise of the independent dealer channel. There will be survivors. But will the industry be mostly populated by large monoliths that roll over and dominate everything in their paths? Or will the handful of survivors, many in rural markets, still figure out a way to hang on to their portion of the business?
Some of that will be answered in our cover story and in our virtual panel of small and midsize dealers. And for those who would rather not fight, we have another feature of note that will help you determine if the time is right to pack it in and sell your dealership.
One element of the channel’s future could be e-commerce. Contributing writer Mark Vruno discusses if it’s time for dealers to consider an e-commerce site, along with the obstacles that dealers must overcome to best benefit from online ordering.
Service will always be an important element of the dealer landscape, and that too is evolving and will continue to change. Find out how service is evolving in contributing editor Noel Ward’s article “The Changing Dynamics of Copier Service.”
Related to the independent dealer channel’s future are two trends that emerged during the pandemic—the hybrid workforce and the Great Resignation. Both of those trends spotlight another trend that could impact the channel, the four-day workweek. Contributing editor Kate Gragg’s interview with Arran Stewart of Job.com posits that it’s quality, not quantity, that employers should be paying attention to as the nature of work undergoes a seismic shift.
No one knows exactly what will happen to the channel over the next few years, although based on past history, current trends, economic conditions, and world events, we can make some educated guesses and reasonable predictions. We’d also love to hear what you think. After reading our cover story, email me at email@example.com and share your vision for the future of the independent dealer channel.
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