The Dilawri Group of Companies, Canada’s largest dealership group, is changing its digital presence with a major relaunch that it says will reflect the changing attitudes of consumers towards online shopping.
Dilawri, which has 72 franchises and represents 30 brands throughout Quebec, Saskatchewan, Ontario, Alberta and B.C., is partnering with 360.Agency of Montreal to initiate a complete digital transformation of its dealerships and services.
The 360.Agency is an automotive dealership supplier with more than 400 clients in North America.
Financial terms of the deal were not released.
David Boots, Dilawri’s director of national operations, toldAutomotive News Canada the change is concurrent with the trend of consumers purchasing products from websites or apps. He said despite the rapid pace of change and advancements that are shaping nearly every retail sector, the automotive retail experience remains largely unchanged.
“We are currently in the midst of a very involved process to determine exactly what the new experience will look like,” Boots said. “What we are striving for is to deliver a very customer friendly, omni-channel experience underscored by the new level of transparency, flexibility and convenience.
“We believe that is possible to embrace the uniqueness of each of our dealerships, their respective markets and our [manufacturer brands] directives, while at the same time ensuring that we provide consistency in the customer experience and ownership experience group wide.”
Boots said more than three years ago the Dilawri Group initiated an internal project to establish a digital strategy and roadmap for its company, conducting extensive research and stakeholder consultation to develop a group strategy and vision of what the customer-purchase and ownership experience should look like.
“This evaluation involved the consideration of numerous approaches such as the establishment of our own technology company, partnering with an existing technology provider, or working with solutions already available in the market,” he said. “We evaluated countless vendors, platforms and technologies, both automotive and non-automotive, across the U.S. and Canada.
“From the first meeting with 360.Agency, we shared a collective vision of the future of automotive retail.”
Over the last 10 years, 360.Agency has worked with more than 600 automotive dealerships. It has developed close partnerships with manufacturers over the last two years and has launched Canada’s first online e-commerce platform: Showroom 360.
Louis-Yves Cloutier, president of 360.Agency, said the first phase of the website transformation will begin in August and the second phase will commence six months later.
“Dilawri is by far the biggest [automotive] client for us because they are the biggest in Canada,” Cloutier said. “With a partner like Dilawri, they share the same vision and also have the will, and they want to remain the leader in…changing the landscape of retailers in Canada and North America.”