ActivEngage integrates live chat with LotLinx's mobile-optimized VDPs

ORLANDO, Fla. - 

Moblie car buyers can now access ActivEngage's ActivOne live chat solution via LotLinxAMP vehicle display pages.

ActivEngage is the latest certified chat partner to join the LotLinx Mobile-Optimized AMP Program, the company announced Monday.

This news follows ActivEngage's December integration with 700Credit to offer users the ability to pull credit inside chat conversations.

"We're excited to offer dealers an integration that connects them with today's mobile-first shoppers in real time," ActivEngage vice president of business development Eric Schlesinger said in a news release. "Twenty percent of ActivEngage leads include a sales appointment. By combining our industry-leading chat solution with LotLinx's mobile-optimized VDPs, we can deliver more ready-to-buy car buyers to the showroom."

In addition to the integration, ActivEngage and LotLinx also have plans to release a joint car buyer conversion report about the impact of online chat.

The joint report will discuss the importance of online chat conversions and its influence on in-store sales, according to ActivEngage.

"Our technology always focuses on dealers' needs, added Keith Schuyler, LotLinx vice president of client services. "Our certified partnership with ActivEngage is a powerful way for dealers to drive high digital ROI."

Car-sharing platform gaining steam in 2 Calif. cities


The competition dealerships are facing to retail vehicles to consumers in two of California’s largest cities is becoming even more complicated thanks to a mobile startup looking to connect people who want to share their cars.

About a year after landing more than $40 million in capital, Getaround, the platform that founders said can empower users to instantly rent and drive vehicle shared by people in their city, now has expanded its presence in both Los Angeles and San Francisco.

Earlier this month, Getaround expanded into the city of Angels as the platform explained vehicle owners in Los Angeles can reduce the financial burden of ownership and even make some fun money by listing their vehicle on Getaround. Each vehicle is equipped with Getaround Connect, a proprietary technology that enables renters to locate and unlock the car using the Getaround app.

People in Los Angeles can now instantly rent nearby cars all through the Getaround iOS or Android application — no need to meet in person to get the car keys.

And then on Wednesday, Getaround, announced the upcoming launch of Uber Rent powered by Getaround, a carsharing option within the Uber App. Soon, Uber customers in San Francisco will be able to instantly find and rent vehicles shared on Getaround using the Uber app. Cars will be available to rent across the city, and users will be able to choose from low-emission sedans to sporty SUVs.

Uber Rent powered by Getaround will initially roll out in San Francisco.

While perhaps not directly targeting dealers looking to retail vehicles, Getaround is certainly looking to reduce the amount of units in operation.

Getaround believes carsharing is a major part of the environmental sustainability movement. An independent study by the University of California Berkeley Transportation Sustainability Research Center measured the impact of carsharing. The study found that for every one vehicle shared, about 10 are taken off the road. This means that for every 1,000 vehicles shared on Getaround, roughly 100 million pounds of carbon dioxide are offset.

And in densely populated locations like Los Angeles and San Francisco, Getaround has even higher hopes for a positive environmental impact.

“It’s an understatement to say that LA’s traffic and emissions are some of the worst in the country,” said James Correa, general manager for Getaround Los Angeles. “We’re excited to bring Getaround to LA and start taking cars off the road to help reduce congestion in our city.”

Correa helped the company soft launch Los Angeles in March, quickly onboarding the first 50 vehicle owners onto the platform. Many owners are earning over $1,000 per month already by sharing their car when it would otherwise be idle. With people in LA seeking transportation alternatives this spring and summer for road trips, apartment moves, and errand runs, now is the time for vehicle owners to list their cars and start earning money.

Getaround is dedicated to making the Los Angeles market successful and works closely with local governments to reduce congestion and emissions by encouraging designated parking spaces for carsharing communities. The company has office space in Culver City and has already hired over a dozen full-time and part-time employees. The team is also forging relationships with local auto body shops and automotive vendors.

What sets Getaround apart from competitors is that the company doesn’t own its fleet of vehicles. Each car is owned by a person who lives in the city. There are no signup fees, annual dues, or access cards, reducing the barriers for Los Angeles residents to try carsharing.

“As we expand and carsharing becomes universal, we’re not only providing people with access to transportation and economic opportunity, but we’re also helping cities solve environmental issues such as traffic, congestion and smog,” said Sam Zaid, chief executive officer of Getaround.

“We’re excited to become a part of the greater Los Angeles transportation network and to leverage our technology to create sustainable mobility options throughout the city,” Zaid continued.

And Zaid is also upbeat about what Getaround’s prospects in San Francisco could be.

Uber Rent powered by Getaround can enable Uber riders to instantly signup, reserve and unlock vehicles on the Getaround platform right from the Uber app. The two companies worked closely together to design the app experience and to integrate the Uber app seamlessly with Getaround. This builds on a previous partnership announced in May 2017 where people without cars can rent a rideshare-ready Getaround vehicle to drive with Uber and earn money.

“At Uber, we want to bring together multiple modes of transportation right in our app so we can give riders a viable alternative to personal car ownership,” said Jahan Khanna, head of product mobility at Uber. “We’re excited to partner with Getaround to bring carsharing to our rider app for the first time.”

Zaid then reiterated what Getaround’s objective is.

“Our mission is to empower people to carshare everywhere, and we’re making that possible by providing more people with access to carsharing through the apps they already use,” Zaid said. “Most of a person’s transportation needs can be met by coupling ridesharing for quick trips with carsharing for trips with multiple stops or longer getaways. It’s the perfect combination for people who have chosen to live car-free.”

These developments in Los Angeles and San Francisco arrived about a year after Getaround announced the company had raised $45 million in new capital. The Series C equity round was led by Braemar Energy Ventures, a venture capital firm specializing in energy technology with investments across the automotive space.

Also joining the round were Toyota Motor Corp., through its investment in SPARX Group, and SAIC Capital, the venture capital investment arm of Shanghai Automotive, as well as existing venture investors, including Menlo Ventures and Triangle Peak Partners.

To learn more, list your car, or rent a car nearby, head to , or download the iPhone or Android mobile app from .

LexisNexis Risk Solutions rolls out global telematics platform


Technology might be providing a way for automakers and franchised dealerships to gain sales opportunities long after the buyer finalizes the contract in the F&I and the vehicle is delivered.

LexisNexis Risk Solutions highlighted that OEMs looking to leverage connected car data to offer their customers usage-based insurance (UBI) options through participating insurers and create greater customer engagement through driving behavior back can now build new consumer services and take advantage of telematics data filtering, normalization and analytics with the launch of a LexisNexis Risk Solutions Software Development Kit (SDK).

LexisNexis Risk Solutions, a unit of RELX Group, explained the key advantage of the SDK is that it can allow OEMs to easily plug into the LexisNexis Global Telematics Platform, which can offer high levels of data security, advanced analytics for big data and a direct data pipe into the insurance markets' software infrastructure.

Since the SDK uses the same data infrastructure as LexisNexis embedded, connected car solutions, the SDK also can enable OEMs to extend certain connected car benefits to owners of legacy, non-connected vehicles in the current fleet.

The SDK can enable OEMs to build innovative customer applications across different regions and in different languages, all on the same platform or to improve existing and full-featured customer-facing apps without impacting experience. OEM access to the Global Telematics Platform also can enable customers to benefit through the use of their driving data to secure insurance products.  

“From trip scoring, to journey histories and visualization, our highly secure, global platform can ingest driving data from OEMs wherever their vehicles are located in the world — filtering, normalizing and contextualizing the data to provide the backbone of new products and services to support the OEM’s brand experience,” said Rutger Van der Wall, vice president of global products and insurance at LexisNexis Risk Solutions. 

“The SDK removes the complexity and cost OEMs would otherwise face in developing the technical infrastructure needed to help the industry connect to insurance products for the type of consumer services their customers want, based on their driving data,” Van der Wall continued. “It allows OEMs to focus on design and delivery, product innovation and consumer engagement using driver scoring, journey and route information.

“Insurance is the second-highest cost in the total cost of ownership for a consumer,” he went on to say. “If OEMs can help lower the cost of vehicle ownership through usage-based insurance, their sales proposition is strengthened considerably. At the same time, by using real-time data from the car, the analytics capability of OEMs will be enhanced, creating much greater opportunities to engage with customers and build trust and loyalty at a time when consumer mobility needs are shifting.”

Using the LexisNexis Risk Solutions Software Development Kit, Van der Wall also explained OEMs can:

— Extend connected car features to owners of non-connected vehicles through the same global telematics platform.

— Use the technical capacity of the global telematics platform to reduce the complexity and cost of building a consumer grade data normalization, filtering and telematics scoring infrastructure.

— Take advantage of faster speed-to-market with supported and documented frameworks, APIs and best practices.

— Power applications without the cost of duplicating infrastructure, building driving scoring knowledge internationally, opening more markets faster.

— Integrate seamlessly into existing apps, allowing OEMs to maintain a consistent customer experience while connecting to LexisNexis Risk Solutions and insurers.

For more information about the LexisNexis Risk Solutions Software Development Kit (SDK) and the LexisNexis Global Telematics Platform, send a message to [email protected]

Innovators in AI and more set to gather for FICO World 2018

SAN JOSE, Calif. - 

Some of the world’s leading experts in artificial intelligence (AI), applied analytics and decision management will gather in Miami Beach, Fla., later this month for FICO World 2018.

Silicon Valley analytic software firm FICO highlighted that Sebastian Thrun, chief executive officer of Kitty Hawk Corp., and co-founder and president of Udacity, as well as chess grandmaster Garry Kasparov, will be the keynote speakers at FICO World 2018, which begins on April 16.

With the theme of “Analytics for the Customer-Obsessed Business,” FICO World will focus on how organizations can advance their business and improve the customer experience using analytics. As the use of AI and machine learning expands in organizations, FICO World attendees will learn how to best leverage analytics and decision management technology to solve business issues.

Thrun and Kasparov are two of the foremost innovators in their fields. Thrun is the CEO of Kitty Hawk, a personal airborne vehicle company, and co-founder and president of Udacity, an online private educational organization. He was a Google Fellow and vice president, and a research professor at Stanford University. Thrun works on revolutionizing transportation, education, and mobile devices. At Google, he founded Google X, and led the development of the Google self-driving car.

Kasparov is a pioneering figure in computer chess, most famous for his two matches against the IBM super-computer Deep Blue in 1996 and 1997. Kasparov has researched and collaborated with many high-tech luminaries and companies on human-machine cooperation, the economic consequences of tech stagnation, and the future of intelligent machines.

In addition to keynotes from Thrun and Kasparov, FICO World will offer more than 75 presentations across 12 tracks from thought leaders in a variety of industries, including speakers from Southwest Airlines, Citi, Mastercard, UBS, Sprint, and SunTrust. 

The event will focus on topics such as AI, cybersecurity, risk management, customer engagement and innovative applications of decision management.

“FICO World 2018 promises to unlock the value of advanced analytics, human creativity, and industry best practices.  Three decades of artificial intelligence advancements will take the stage for the benefit of our clients worldwide,” said Wayne Huyard, executive vice president for sales and marketing at FICO.

“It will be an event rich in analytic-actioned experiences, solutions and vision,” Huyard continued. “All can benefit and every business worldwide is invited to attend.”

As one of the foremost international conference on applications of predictive analytics and decision management technology, FICO World 2018 is sponsored by leading organizations in the field. Amazon Web Services (AWS) will be joining as a Platinum sponsor. Credit reporting agency Equifax and TSYS, a leading global payments provider, are Silver sponsors.

FIS, a global provider dedicated to financial technology solutions, is also a sponsor.

The full conference agenda .

On April 16, prior to the official kick-off of FICO World, FICO is offering a one-day intensive hands-on training on the basics of analytically driven credit decisions.  Attendees will be able to participate in various sessions presented by FICO experts, including consultants from Fair Isaac Advisors, FICO’s consultancy group.

FICO will provide a comprehensive introduction on the FICO Score.  Sessions will also address origination fundamentals, customer management, and collections and recovery.

Attendees will leave Credit Bootcamp with best practices on how to incorporate analytics into operations and what decisions need to be made across the credit risk lifecycle.

There is limited space available. .

DealerSocket chooses former Symantec exec as COO


An executive with vast experience at some familiar names within the personal computing space now is in the automotive arena.

On Thursday, DealerSocket announced that Jose Arcilla has joined the company as chief operating officer.

The company highlighted Arcilla joins DealerSocket from Symantec Corp., and brings more than 20 years of experience leading operations across some of the most recognizable software companies in the world. Throughout his time at Symantec, Blue Coat Systems, Adobe and McAfee, Arcilla led and managed teams handling new accounts, professional services, customer success, customer support, retention and renewals, all of which he is now leading at DealerSocket.

“Jose’s experience in achieving operational excellence and his customer-centric focus make him a perfect fit as our new COO at DealerSocket,” said Sejal Pietrzak, president and chief executive officer of DealerSocket.

“My goal is to delight our customers and help them maximize the return on their investment in our software solutions,” Pietrzak continued. “Jose’s proven track record of over two decades of nurturing a customer-first approach will create an even stronger culture of offering our customers positive and seamless experiences.”

DealerSocket reiterated that its vision is to drive the future of automotive by simplifying the experience for our customers, consumers and partners by offering a suite of products that are seamless and integrated.

“We are constantly devising new ways to streamline our customer engagement lifecycle. This will ensure we will connect with our customers at the right time, with the right resources, and create solutions for our customers the first time, every time,” Arcilla said.

“Our ability to truly differentiate our customer experience allows us to act as our customers’ trusted advisors.  We will reactively, proactively and ultimately predictively engage to help our customers become even more successful,” he went on to say.

VinSolutions introduces CRM capability built to provide dealers deeper insights on customer behavior

MISSION, Kan. - 

VinSolutions announced Wednesday that it has launched an all-new solution, called Enterprise Customer, which can give dealers insight regarding customers' related activities across dealership group rooftops.

The new capability has been added to the company’s Connect CRM and newly released Connect Mobile application.

In addition to a holistic view of customer profiles, Enterprise Customer also features an intuitive group-level customer record viewer and a summary of customer Connect desking activity.

"At VinSolutions, we prioritize staying aligned with the needs of our customers and the shifts in the automotive retail industry," Chase Abbott, vice president of sales at VinSolutions and Dealertrack F&I said in a news release. "We know dealer groups need a seamless way to view customers across their rooftops – without having to sift through multiple CRM instances — and we know all dealerships need a way to empower their staff with intuitive mobile technologies.

"Enterprise Customer and the new Connect Mobile app meet those needs, and they help dealers build and nurture relationships," Abbott continued.

The new app can allow dealership salespeople to quickly obtain customer information on a mobile device and features a new centralized appointment calendar.

Connect Mobile is available for download at the App Store and the Google Play Store.

Dominion Dealer Solutions launches Dynamic Reports Portal to spotlight ‘essential dealer data’

NORFOLK, Va.  - 

Dominion Dealer Solutions announced during the recent 2018 NADA show the release of its new Dynamic Reports Portal for direct marketing.

The portal, which is designed to bring more relevant data to dealers, provides access to what the company described in a news release as the “four cornerstones of dealer management system-based marketing data”: service revenue, sales revenue, emails sent and email collection.

Dominion shared it designed the new portal to give clients a “dashboard view” of their data, as well as the ability to dive deeper when needed.

Each of the aforementioned data segments have their own widgets, along with top-level details for different campaigns. Through the main dashboard, dealers can also access detailed reports, view granular statistics and export data directly to their inbox.

“Our goal was to retain all of our previous reporting benefits, but present them to our dealers in a fast, cross-device format,” said Alan Andreu, vice president of product at Dominion.

The interface is based on extensive dealership testing and back, and it designed to bring the “essential dealership data” to the forefront.

Dealers can use dashboard reports to drill down to the customer and advisor levels, provide engagement, email collection and success reporting.

The Dynamic Reports Portal is accessible across all device types and is securely accessed via a password-protected log-in.




Survey: US consumers show reluctance to adopt autonomous vehicles


Autonomous vehicles have been in the news a lot lately, with headlines ranging from to huge breakthroughs in technology.

With a number of industry leading manufacturers, ridesharing companies and more testing technology at a rapid pace, what remains to be seen in consumers’ appetite for these vehicles of the future.

And that might be a bigger issue for proponents of the technology in the U.S. than in other auto markets.

Interestingly, a recent report from Ipsos showed that although there is widespread interest in autonomous vehicles, the U.S. expresses “higher levels of resistance” than most nations.

The survey, which surveyed more than 21,000 adults across 28 countries, showed that almost one in four Americans “would never use” an autonomous vehicle.

There might be a mismatch in interest versus research as American tech and automotive companies lead the way in autonomous vehicle development, according to Ipsos data.

Canadian consumers are expressing doubts, as well. According to the survey results, consumer in China are twice as likely to say they “can’t wait” to use autonomous vehicles than Americans or Canadians.

Ipsos analysts explained perhaps part of the challenge in the U.S. is Americans' "strong identity as a car-cutlture."

Survey results showed that nearly six in 10 people in the U.S. consider themselves "car people," while 81 percent feel that the car they drive in some way reflects their personality.

There is also a gap when it comes to trusting autonomous vehicles for the general population, according to a , which says that division runs along some interesting lines — suggesting that some groups may be earlier adopters of self-driving cars than others.

Interestingly, a group that tends to show more trust in autonomous vehicles are prospective EV owners, according to Autolist.                                              

“In addition, 20.5 percent more prospective EV owners believe some form of autonomous technology should be allowed by law today,” Autolist noted.

Though the Autolist results did not specify the reasons for trusting or not trusting autonomous vehicles, safety and security could arguably be among the major influences either way.

Roadster introduces cross-shop enabling e-commerce solution for dealer groups

CARY, N.C. - 

Dealer groups with multiple rooftops can give owners scale for certain efficiencies, but they sometimes present problems for potential buyers.

Roadster is trying to eliminate possible shopping issues so groups can turn metal quicker — and possibly for more gross profit — no matter which dealership might have a vehicle on its lot.

Roadster launched its new Express Marketplace solution for dealer groups in conjunction with NADA Show 2018 in Las Vegas last week. 

Similar to Roadster's Express Storefront e-commerce platform launched in 2016, its new offering can allow dealers to put their entire car-buying process online but is specifically designed to meet the merchandising needs of dealer groups, in particular.

While Express Storefront is tailored for individual stores, Express Marketplace can give car shoppers access to a dealer group's full inventory so they can easily cross-shop across all the brands within a group.

“This allows dealer groups to have a fully commerce-enabled website for their dealer group so that they can pool their marketing dollars and drive efficiency through that site at the dealer group-level. And then have each piece of inventory go to the individual dealership when somebody is ready to transact,” explained Roadster chief marketing officer Michelle Denogean during a phone demo of the new solution for AuSM led by chief executive officer Andy Moss.

With Express Marketplace, dealers can merchandise all their inventory in one place and provide the same commerce capabilities across each vehicle.

The new platform's deal-building tools can allow customers to desk their own deal, then pick up where they left off on a dealer’s Express Storefront or physical location.

“Instead of being just for store X, Y and Z, this site is really aimed at the group where you can literally have inventory from across all 5, 10 and 30 brands — all in one place,” Moss said.

“This process is actually happening with the individual dealerships, but you’re initiating it from the actual dealer group site, providing a consistent experience across each of their stores that are a part of the dealer group.”

Moss explained that the platform is ideal for dealer groups that have 10 to 30 stores in a specific geographic location and want to offer consumers a modernized retail experience.

“The product is focused on the dealer groups because there's lots of groups that have close proximity to many of their stores and this gives them the opportunity to refocus their advertising efforts on a regional basis at the group level — as opposed to on a store-by-store case,” Moss explained.

“We see a lot of demand for that piece of it.”

Dealer groups can choose to show inventory within a particular area, or expand to reach consumers more broadly.

“It also works pretty well for the independent’s that want to provide commerce capabilities for their full inventory of used cars across all of their locations,” Moss added.

Five key retailing solutions provided by Express Marketplace include:

  • Multiple payment options
  • Easy trade valuation
  • Service and protection plans
  • Optional accessories store
  • Secure credit application

Moss said, “Most dealerships are missing the opportunity to upsell accessories as part of the deal and in a very margin-constrained environment, every dollar makes a difference to whether that deal is profitable or not.”

As customers desk their deal, Express Marketplace can allow dealer groups to introduce them to a range of add-ons that they can purchase as part of their deal without overwhelming them.

“On the service and protection plan side, across the board, we’re hearing that the back-end gross associated with these types of transactions is better,” Moss explained. “It partly is because you get several bites at the apple for presenting products.”

PNC Bank, TrueCar team up to offer new digital auto ‘shopping experience’


PNC Bank and TrueCar have teamed up to offer consumers a new digital auto shopping experience.

PNC Total Auto, powered by TrueCar, was launched Tuesday, a tool which the companies shared lets auto shoppers “browse, borrow, buy in three easy steps.”

The end-to-end digital car buying experience is designed to help consumers better understand how much a car will cost before they go to the dealership — ending up more confident in completing their vehicle purchase when they get to the showroom.

Shoppers can use the tool on their computers, tablets or mobile devices to shop for cars from their local dealers, as well as narrow their search by feature and price.

They can also apply for financing, and if approved, receive a check to bring into the dealer the very next day.

"We recognize that the negotiating and car buying process can be stressful," said Lakhbir Lamba, head of retail lending products at PNC Bank. "PNC Total Auto better prepares customers to make informed shopping and purchasing decisions by providing a fair, comparable price and a simplified process."

The new digital auto shopping platform combines TrueCar search and pricing with PNC's "Check Ready" program.

Through Check Ready, if a customer’s application is approved, they are authorized to purchase a car for up to a certain amount, PNC explained. But the check doesn’t include a final price or a dealer name, which gives the shopper flexibility to shop around.

The Check Ready program can be used for contracts between $7,500 to $50,000 on vehicles 8 years old or newer. PNC shared they can assist customers with auto loans larger than $50,000 through other products.