Vehicle dealers live in a challenging, complex world. The ability to make good business decisions has historically required hard-earned knowledge attained primarily through research, counsel, and experience. But CDF had a compelling question—through the data they own and control, might there be a better way? They partnered with us to find out.
Through the course of this project my role has been to support the team by providing:
• Customer insights & ideation
• Experience strategy & vision
• Planning & scope definition
• Oversight & coordination
• Design execution & validation
Making sense of it all
Dealers face a variety of ongoing, difficult decisions regarding inventory management and financing. Many detailed and timely metrics are needed to enable the best purchasing decisions possible—from unit sales (brands, makes, models, locations), to manufacturer order cycles, to financing schedules and information about peer performance. Consumer attitudes, customer behaviors, and market trends also inform the evaluation process for marketing efforts, sales tactics, and flooring plans.
It’s a confusing world they live in.
For many years now, GE has offered the dealers it finances access to relevant data about their businesses. But to assemble this data in useful ways, dealers have had to leverage numerous separate applications and systems. To say the least, the process has been complex and time consuming. Better empowering this critical customer segment was an obvious and sizable growth opportunity.
From information to insight
My team began by working closely with customers and the CDF commercial team to gather as much information as possible. It quickly became evident that dealers need more than a single, simplified interface to more easily access information. What they truly need is the ability to evaluate how that information relates in ways that can help address some of their most pressing and vexing business concerns.
The vision became to provide a broad collection of simple, flexible, intuitive
data visualizations that connect a variety of real-time data in insightful, meaningful, and actionable ways.
Now do it in 45 days
To explore this opportunity, a FastWorks MVP (Minimum Viable Product) would be developed and tested with select motorsport dealers. The team conducted a series of customer interviews and field visits to validate our initial hypothesis regarding what dealers most wanted to know. This process uncovered a clear set of concerns that fell into two groups: opportunities (product and market trends) and risks (inventory health).
Data Finds its Voice
Visualizations were rapidly designed around the opportunities and risks, and a skilled development team executed the prototype in agile sprints. The resulting pilot application (site) is a content platform that utilizes a flexible framework and presents each of these visualized “insights” as modular cards.
Each card delivers information in a way that’s easy to digest and act upon, and can be browsed, searched, and organized according to a dealer’s greatest interest. Sets of insights can then be saved and shared, enabling quick, informed business decisions.
Cards are fully responsive, working equally well on mobile devices and traditional desktops. This allows dealers to leverage the application anywhere, anytime. Above are samples from the initial set of insights developed for the BETA release.
Initial customer response has been very enthusiastic with dealers realizing the potential to improve their business through faster, more insightful decisions.
As the project moves forward it will continue to rapidly evolve. The initial focus will remain on creating and refining the most useful and effective insights possible. If customer scores remain high, focus will shift to maximizing adoption rates, freeing the modular content from the confines of the site, and working towards a more flexible delivery model to broaden GE’s industry footprint.