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5 Takeaways from CarGurus’ annual auto conference Navigate

Posted by Meg Bernazzani on October 18, 2021

Last week, hundreds of dealers joined us virtually for CarGurus’ third annual automotive conference, Navigate. From start to finish, the event was packed with game-changing strategies, timely industry insights, and thought-provoking conversations around driving profitability. Not only were there sessions on what’s happening in automotive today, but also what’s on the horizon for the industry. 

In case you missed it, here are five key takeaways from the event. 

1. Consumers still love their cars – but their expectations are changing

The fact that consumers increasingly want to do more of the car-buying process from home is nothing new. But this shift has been accelerated by the pandemic, and it came up in multiple presentations during Navigate. CarGurus Director of Consumer Insights, Madison Edwards, and Sr. Consumer Insights Analyst, Ali Chapman, dove into their latest research during their session, explaining the impact of COVID-19 on shoppers, current trends around electric vehicles (EVs) and autonomous vehicles (AVs), and outlined what dealers can do to adapt.   

2. You need to be intentional about your efforts to increase diversity

In order to innovate and be a leader in the industry, you need to have a lot of different ideas and perspectives – and that starts with having a diverse workforce. But that doesn’t happen on its own. Both our keynote speaker, Carla Harris, and Women of Navigate keynote, Monica Lee Foley, touched on this crucial topic in their sessions. They talked about the value of drawing on diverse experiences and being a leader.  

Similarly, Damon Lester, President of NAMAD, shared the importance of looking inward to identify opportunities for improvement and highlighted the need for active and engaging leadership. 

3. Trust and transparency are a crucial part of the car-buying journey for consumers

Since the beginning, CarGurus has set out to provide car buyers with trust and transparency. Jeff Sigel, VP of Marketing and Strategy at Cracker Barrel, talked about how providing transparency allows you to protect your brand and reputation and ultimately build consumer trust. Justin Brun and Ben Koller of Agile Creative Solutions echoed the sentiment when recommending dealers improve customer satisfaction and trust by providing a personalized and engaging shopping experience.   

4. Digital retail gives both consumers and dealers more choice

It’s no surprise that a major theme this year was around unlocking the power of digital retail. David Kain, President of Kain Automotive, offered some great best practices on guiding consumers through the digital buying process. He challenged dealers to be patient with consumers, answering their questions and empowering them to choose how far to take the transaction online. 

Sarah Welch, CarGurus CMO, and Brad Rosenfeld, CarGurus EVP of Digital Retail Commercialization, zeroed in on how CarGurus is creating a better way for dealers and shoppers to transact.  By offering a robust end-to-end solution, CarGurus is helping dealers meet consumer needs and maximize gross profitability.   

5. A holistic strategy around buying, marketing, and selling will be key to driving profitability 

During the executive keynote, CarGurus CEO, Jason Trevisan, and EVP of North American Sales and Service, Spencer Scott, spoke about some of the ways we’re listening to and learning from you, our dealers, to better understand your business needs and help drive profitability.  Bruce Thompson, CEO & Founder at CarOffer, and Andrew Grochal, VP of Product Management at CarGurus, highlighted some of the synergies bringing digital wholesale and digital retail together.  

We also heard directly from some of our dealer partners during a panel on adapting to 2021 inventory challenges, who talked about the importance of being open to innovative new tools that help free up more of your time so you can focus on what matters most: maximizing sales and growing your business.

Interested in checking out the awesome content? You can still register to stream all the sessions on-demand.  

To everyone who attended this year’s virtual Navigate conference – thank you, and see you in person next year! 

Topics: CarGurus news, Navigate