How Bob Ruth Ford Embraced Its Digital Transformation - AutoSuccessOnline

How Bob Ruth Ford Embraced Its Digital Transformation

With a need to adapt digital processes to the new world of car buying, Bob Ruth Ford sought out a partner with an all-in-one data platform built to streamline the digital transition for dealers.

Out with the Old Mindset, in with the New

Rob had already noticed the impact that the internet was having on the auto industry before leaving college. By 2016, the shortcomings surrounding his dealership’s traditional approach to car sales became too obvious to ignore.

“We could see then that things were changing,” he said, “so we began transitioning our sales force to handle more phone calls and online leads.”

click here to view the April 2021 issue

Vehicle acquisition was also something Rob wanted to address. “I was going to three to four auctions a week just to buy inventory,” he explained. “But we’ve seen more people bidding online over the past 10 years. We knew that also needed to change.”

The Pandemic Speeds Things Up

Like many dealers, the pandemic caught Rob completely off-guard. His dealership ended up being shut down by the government for 40 days. Rob was forced to lay off most of his sales staff as in-person deals came to a screeching halt.

Before March, Bob Ruth Ford had been taking a slower approach to its digital transition. But with no traditional model to work with, it was forced to rip the band-aid off and go completely digital.

Rob kept his customer service agents on in order to facilitate deals online and over the phone. That small decision led to an important realization. “We learned that, even though we weren’t there, the customer still wanted information,” he said. “Providing it to them remotely allowed us to sell cars without them ever coming down to the dealership.”

This process taught Rob that his customers were willing to do business differently. In fact, according to him, “They prefer it.”

Finding the Right Digital Partner

Bob Ruth Ford was ready to dive headfirst into its all-digital processes. However, it still needed to get everything in place.

Rob and his team started searching for a partner to help them navigate their digital transition. Eventually, they found VinCue, an all-in-one data platform built to streamline the process for dealers.

Now, three months later, VinCue has helped Bob Ruth Ford capitalize on its online success.

“Our website traffic has increased 51% this year,” Rob said. “Not only that, they’ve helped us put the pieces together to figure out how to handle that traffic and guide each customer through the process.”

VinCue’s unique private party acquisition system has also helped the dealership find better deals on expensive inventory — something Rob didn’t anticipate being an issue at the beginning of the pandemic.

But the best part of the partnership, Rob said, isn’t just the results. It’s the relationship.

“It’s nice to work with small companies that aren’t stuck in their ways,” he said. “Larger companies tend to have a cookie-cutter approach. VinCue is willing to listen and work with us.”

Going All In on the Customer Experience 

It’s clear that diving headfirst into the digital realm hasn’t just helped Bob Ruth Ford survive the past year — it’s allowed them to thrive.

“Our customers are happier. They like the hybrid approach between traditional and digital,” he explained. “Being able to act more efficiently and streamline the sales process has caused our customer satisfaction to skyrocket.”

Customer satisfaction isn’t the only area where Bob Ruth Ford has seen dramatic increases. It’s leveraged its smarter sourcing and faster sales process to almost double its annual inventory turn — from eight times per year to 13.  

Those results, Rob said, have encouraged them to double down on the customer experience.

Case in point — when Rob re-hired his sales staff, he only brought back those who were willing to adapt. “Our decision-making when it came to bringing people back was: ‘Bring back the people who have open minds and are willing to go through this shift with us.’”

Above all, Rob hopes that dealers take the lessons of this year to heart. “We’re more than capable of competing against the disruptors and big companies out there,” he said. “We can do the same things. We can do them better. And our customers would rather do business with us. So, I would keep an open mind to new ways of doing business instead of going back to the same-old-same-old.”

For Bob Ruth Ford, the dealership will be taking its own advice as it heads into the future. 

“We’ve survived and maintained this past year,” Rob said. “And now we have a structure in place to really take things to the next level.”

You May Also Like

COMPLIANCE: A Necessary Evil or a Million-Dollar Mistake?

Explore the complexities of digital privacy in business, including the impact of consent banners on marketing analytics and the balance between legal compliance and operational effectiveness. Learn how to navigate the risks and rewards of digital data management.

As a business owner, you spend a lot of time balancing risk and reward. For instance, your service department changes tires every day. What if a wheel comes off after the customer leaves? It does happen sometimes and could mean a lawsuit, yet you still change tires. Why? You know the risk, have taken steps to insulate against it, and accept that the upside outweighs the unlikely downside. However, digital risks and rewards are not always as well understood.

Stuck In Traffic: Why Quick Fixes Are Stalling Your Store’s Growth in a Competitive Market

Dealers should look closely at their long-term branding, tools and market share. They should be balancing short-term lead generation with long-term investment while, critically, avoiding shiny things.

Stuck In Traffic: Why Quick Fixes Are Stalling Your Store’s Growth in a Competitive Market
High-Tech Solutions: A New Way of Thinking About Paint Touch-Up Products

The automotive paint chip repair products’ journey from simple touch-up solutions to sophisticated repair kits reflects not only the technological progress the industry has made, but also the changing demands of today’s consumer.

Dr. ColorChip paint repair
Embracing AI: How Automotive Dealerships Can Supercharge their Operations and Reconnect with Humanity

Having a human-centric approach, augmented by AI, is the cornerstone of a dealership that not only excels in sales but also in creating lasting connections with its community.

Embracing AI: How Automotive Dealerships Can Supercharge their Operations and Reconnect with Humanity
Hybrid Intelligence: The Seamless Fusion of Human and Artificial Minds

Learn how Hybrid Intelligence hasn’t just turned this dealership around, but has set it on a path to unprecedented growth and success in a challenging market.

TECOBI, artificial intelligence, Hybrid Intelligence,

Other Posts

Sorting the Latest GA4 Confusion

If you’re stumped by the new Google analytics, take some solace in that you are not alone. Here’s some help.

Sorting the Latest GA4 Confusion-Remora, Google Analytics,
BendPak Introduces New Octa-Flex Lift: Inside Look

Susan Givens has a discussion with Sean Price from BendPak about the groundbreaking Octa-Flex Series concept two-post lift.

Bendpak-Octa-Flex-AS-Inside-Look
Turning Your Website from a Maze into a Clear Path

Discover how simplifying dealership websites can significantly boost user engagement and sales.

Turning Your Website from a Maze into a Clear Path
You’re Losing $700 on Every Trade – Why the Data Screams, ‘Mandate 100% Scans!’

Having the right appraisal data integrated with accurate reconditioning costs in hand before the deal is transacted leads to acquiring inventory that can be turned at a profit.

Rapid Recon, appraisal, scan tools, time to line, vehicle reconditioning,