Ride-sharing companies like Uber and Lyft have completely revolutionized transportation over the past several years, hindering business for taxi companies and impacting people’s decisions to purchase cars. Despite their popularity with consumers, the New York City Council made a move in early August to stop their growth, halting the issuance of new for-hire vehicle licenses for 12 months.

Stopping the issuing of licenses prohibits new individuals from using their own personal vehicle as a hailable car. The only thing that the cap does not limit is the granting of licenses for wheelchair accessible cars since there is a shortage of accessible cars in both services. This means that the number of available options, in the city, will either remain stagnant or decrease (if/when drivers decide to stop driving).

 

rideshare

The New York City Council said that they made their decision not because they want to get rid of the services in the city.

Instead, they said their decision was motivated by a desire to study the service and how it works. Since they have limited understanding of Uber and Lyft, and have not done a deep dive into the data surrounding it, they want to take some time to look at how the apps work–then regulate them better when they start issuing new licenses again. 39 members of the city council voted in favor of the cap, while 6 members voted against it.

The city council is currently considering another bill regarding ride-hailing companies, and it would require Uber and Lyft to hand over their data to be analyzed by the city. If they fail to provide the data, they’ll have to pay a $10,000 fine.

While the city council members claim they made their decision so that they could study the services more closely, there may be other reasons that they chose to limit the expansion of ride-sharing services.

First, the city council says that they believe that limiting Uber and Lyft will help ease traffic in NYC (have you ever been in NYC when there wasn’t traffic–even before Uber and Lyft existed?).

Also, Lyft and Uber have impacted the taxi medallion services that serve New York, since many people prefer the convenience of arranging a car from their smartphone, rather than having to stand on the street and hail a cab; ultimately this will force the medallion holders to provide better service(s) to their customers in order to remain competitive. The same forces may also be impacting subway and bus ridership; again, forcing those providers to rethink the convenience factor in favor of their riders. The city council should indeed take the time to study and understand the market forces behind this move by the consumers to do what is in their own intelligent self-interest. It is not Uber or Lyft that have been disruptive, it is the consumers that have elected to do what is best for them.

I applaud the New York City councils’ approach by making the cap temporary so that they can gather more information in advance of setting additional policies. I think even in the short term we will see a number of negative results, here are some of the most significant:

First, Uber and Lyft both think that riders will experience longer wait times since supply will dwindle, I agree. Additionally, service will become less reliable and costs will go up. Because there will be fewer cars the price of a ride will rise, and this will hurt consumers (voters) because it will cost them/us more money to get around.

Next, sadly, this cap will impact minority riders disproportionately. Uber and Lyft have all but eliminated the discretionary selection of passengers based on their appearance. Are we prepared to go back in time to an era when drivers had the discretion to select who they will pick up, and from which neighborhoods?

Also, the city government has elected to (albeit for a limited time) impact market forces by trying to regulate supply and demand. I believe, that the free markets should make that determination.

Finally, Uber and Lyft provided a great service to the consumers by giving the consumers shared control of the process. Consumers get to pick the type of vehicle, the driver, the time, and the location of pickup. Consumers get to select their driver by evaluating the experience of other consumers, this again allows the market force of customer satisfaction to weed out drivers that do not provide good service.

Ultimately, this decision hurts consumers and new drivers alike, by limiting options for consumers, and eliminating employment for those seeking this as their profession. It will be interesting to see the results of the market study one year from now…

Sales Strategy

For generations, the fundamentals of automobile sales strategy remained pretty much the same. Cars were sold in ways that produced results, year after year. However, in an era of rapid change, it is fair to ask how long the status quo will suffice.

Futurist Alvin Toffler warns that “The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those that cannot read and write, but those that cannot learn, unlearn and relearn.”

There are those in our industry who will survive and even thrive because they are truly willing to learn, unlearn and relearn. Or, put another way, “lather, rinse and repeat.”

Inertia, the tendency to do nothing, is a powerful force. Many won’t change until negative stimulation demands it. Individuals and businesses will finally change when their very survival is at stake. In today’s automobile marketplace, that time is fast approaching.

Times of Change

There’s evidence the traditional way of doing things is rapidly falling out of favor. There are three key reasons for this.

First, when Google surveyed North American automobile buyers, it found that 49 percent were frustrated during their dealer visits. Results were even worse among younger purchasers, with 63 percent of 18 to 34-year-olds saying they were frustrated by the process.

Second, the long-term brand loyalty that automakers once enjoyed is fading fast, and consumers are more than willing to look at new brands. In fact, 59 percent said they would consider a new brand, opening the door for a new wave of competitors.

Brand loyalty must be earned during every interaction between businesses and consumers. Today’s consumers won’t hesitate to flock to better deals and more interesting offers. They will often respond to innovation with a viral intensity unknown before the advent of social media.

Third, the consumption of transportation is rapidly shifting. In addition to radically new products, there are more transportation options, including ridesharing, flexible transportation platforms and even subscription-based services.

Where does this leave us?

Although we don’t have the financial resources of marketplace giants like Google, Walmart, Amazon, and Facebook, we can certainly learn from them. For example, Amazon’s Jeff Bezos teaches us about leveraging existing technologies to provide new levels of service to consumers.

In our industry, there’s simply too much friction damaging too many transactions. We must learn to leverage technologies from both inside and outside our industry to achieve more frictionless transactions.

Recommendations

Accordingly, I offer you these five recommendations:

1. Their experience, not yours

It is vital to develop innovative sales strategies that enhance your customer’s buying experience rather than your team’s selling experience. Walk in the customer’s shoes to the extent that you truly empathize with them and understand where they are coming from.

2. Stay current

Thanks in part to the power of the internet and social media, today’s consumers are more broadly educated and more aware. To keep up with them, you need to keep pace with changes inside our industry and in the world-at-large. Understand emerging trends in technology, retail and marketing. “Bundle” your emerging skill sets, and you’ll be better positioned to make new connections before your competitors do.

3. Think like a customer

Carefully listen to your customers in order to better see things from their perspective. You’ll quickly generate new ideas that will positively impact your business. Walk a mile in their shoes, and you’ll be glad you did.

4. Innovate with purpose

Don’t innovate simply to innovate. Align change with new consumer behaviors that are disrupting our industry. Embrace change, and focus your innovative efforts where they truly address the needs of today’s customer. Customers will ultimately do what’s best for them. Become the best alternative there is, and customers will seek you out.

5. Read an hour a day

Your mind is the very best tool you have. Lubricate, refine and expand your mind by reading at least an hour every day. In times of rapid change, an agile mind is priceless.

Finally, I urge you to look for other ways to follow Toffler’s advice to “learn, unlearn, and relearn.”

As you consider how your customers are disrupting the industry, disrupt your own long-held perceptions and challenge your traditional beliefs. Forge a new path into the unknown with confidence, dedication and imagination. Change always separates the also-rans from the leaders of tomorrow.

Remember, there is no better way to predict the future than to create it yourself. Carpe diem! Seize the day, and create your own compelling future!

Brick and Mortar

For centuries, brick and mortar stores have been the cornerstone of business. Until the invention of online stores, there were no other options for you to choose from to get the things that you wanted and needed unless you could make them yourself. Last year, more than 6,500 businesses in the U.S. alone closed for good. Major chains like Sears, Macy’s, and Toys R Us are struggling, is my industry safe?

Many people blame the retail apocalypse on the development of online stores like Amazon, but the real reason goes much deeper than that. In fact, online sales may be the key to saving many companies. Here is a look at why brick and mortar stores are failing and how online sales can save them.

Brick and Mortar

External Problems

It is fair to say that a large part of the downfall of brick and mortar stores comes from external problems. The last two decades have seen consistent market volatility and economic downturns. When potential customers experience cash flow issues, that usually becomes a problem for stores as well. Even if people have money, they will save it if they feel that the economy is in a crisis. Because of this, many companies lost a lot of their customers as the overall amount of spending in the country on non-essentials dropped.

It’s Mostly Their Own Fault

While external problems contributed to the downfall of brick and mortar stores, it is mostly their own fault. Regardless of what the economy looks like (unless it is the Great Depression or Recession), potential customers still spend money. It is up to stores to find ways of attracting customers. In many cases, stores stopped growing and adapting to make sure that they could survive in a tougher economy. You can see this in constantly increasing prices and poor business practices even when spending started to fall. Companies simply stopped evolving to meet the needs of customers and many companies continued to offer costly and unfulfilling services that customers were no longer willing to pay for. Customers will do what is perceived to be best for them, ALWAYS! We need to make sure that our products/services represent what is best for the customers. Doing what is best for the customers is often what is best for the retailer.

Changing Tactics

To survive in the current economy, online sales can be a critical component in your business strategy. The key is not to change over completely to an online platform, as there is a sizeable segment of the market that still wants to shop for things in person. The key to survival is to combine a stellar retail experience with the support and flexibility of an online shopping experience.

Big box stores like Best Buy and Walmart began to follow this model. When you walk into the store, you have access to a wide selection of items that you would not buy without experiencing them in person. This includes expensive items like appliances, cars, computers, and food items to name a few. The brick and mortar store is used as a showroom so that customers can experience each item in detail before making a decision. Then, you can give them the option of buying from a limited quantity on the spot, or shipping to them from, an online platform. The key is to build in flexibility and shared control for your customers. Take nothing for granted and be willing to disrupt your own business. By deliberately disrupting your own business, you will notice opportunities that have been ignored and that are not obvious.

This model can be highly successful for bringing in customers and giving them a better experience than your competitors. The better the in-store experience is, the more likely they are to come back and try new products. After the initial purchase, customers may begin to restock from the online platform since they’ve already seen the product. However, your customer experience will inspire them to try your store for new products. Combined with effective pricing strategies, you can secure a segment of the available market in your brick and mortar store, and convert customers into repeat customers by offering more convenience online.

 

The first of the new generation vehicles has just hit the Acura showrooms with the launch of the new 2019 Acura RDX. Yes, that’s right, Acura is the hottest franchise in the country!
When you combine precision crafted performance and affordability the results can be shocking.
Acura is the country’s hottest franchise right now, and some of their new offerings are sure to surprise and delight you, regardless of whether you’re a long time Acura fan or not.
Learn more now.

What to Expect From Acura’s Newest Lineup

This lineup represents the first major addition to a new generation of Acura products. Combining the best features of the past with wicked new additions designed to exhilarate your senses and make driving fun again!

These innovative new products are designed with the brand’s Precision Crafted Performance brand direction in mind and offer outstanding performance and style. To put it bluntly, these are the best products Acura has ever designed.

Even for tried-and-true Acura lovers, the brand’s new direction has been a welcome change. “We are seeing a new type of interest in the 2019 RDX from people that previously would not consider the brand. The customers are excited, and engaged” said Murat Deljanin, General Sales Manager of Paragon Acura.

The Potential of the Acura Brand

“Acura is a franchise with tremendous potential. At current multiples, buyers could see very high returns on their investment,” says Erin Kerrigan, Managing Director of Kerrigan Advisors, founded in 2014. Kerrigan Advisors is a national buy/sell advisory firm focused on providing exception sell-side representation to higher value dealerships and dealership groups.

Wondering which model stands out the most? That depends on what it is you are looking for.

In the SUV category, our MDX is a shining star. Rated one of the best vehicles for the money. It has been a consumer guide “Best Buy” winner for 5 years in a row and has claimed the title of US World & News Report’s “Best luxury SUV for the money.” Sales of this world-class SUV will hit a new record with the addition of the A-Spec trim level, to be released in just a few weeks.

The 2018 RDX was a “Best Buy” winner for 5 years, as well, with US News & World report rating the vehicle the “2018 Best luxury SUV for the money”.

With the release of the new 2019 Acura RDX, sales are forecasted to set an all-time record.

Looking Forward at the Acura Brand

The 2018 Acura TLX has been rated “Best Buy” for 4 years in a row by Consumer Guide. Looking forward, the A-Spec addition to the lineup is going to give the competitors some sleepless nights. It’s beautiful, it’s fast, it performs like no other, and it’s packed with value.

As it stands now, the Northeast has really taken notice of the incredible value the entire lineup offers. Because of this, the Northeastern market is leading the nation in sales performance. To put this another way – this market understands how beneficial this brand will be going forward, and has already gotten on board.

For markets that are on the fence, it’s worth knowing that Kelly Blue Book rated the full lineup the “Best 5-Year Cost to own Luxury Brand” 3 years in a row.

Acura’s complete SUV and Sedan lineup has also earned a 5-star overall NHTSA vehicle score!

If you’re ready to experience performance at a price you can afford visit us at www.paragonacura.com or buy direct online from our express store 24/7/365 at www.express.paragonacura.com

running a business

Running a business can be difficult and stressful, especially if you aren’t sure if it’s doing well. There are many ways to run a business, but all of them have a few things in common. If you aren’t doing each of those things constantly, then your business won’t survive for very long. Here are the three keys to keeping your business alive.

Focus on Innovation

There are many companies out there that focus on the same services and products. However, the only companies that make their way are the ones that focus on innovation. When your company finds a new method for providing a proven service that your customers need, you develop a unique value proposition that draws in customers and promotes customer loyalty.

For example, grocery stores offer the same basic service — providing a source of quality food products and related services. You can go to any grocery store and buy the food items that you need. However, the grocery stores that are successful are the ones that differentiate themselves through a unique experience. Publix, Whole Foods, Fresh Market, Piggly Wiggly, Food Lion, ShopRite, and Kroger all offer similar products but through unique experiences that customers use to decide which store they prefer.

You have to look for new ways to innovate so that your company stands out from all of the rest. Home delivery is the latest innovation. Customers are looking for ways that make the shopping more convenient, and home delivery eliminates the shopping cart entirely.

Market Your Innovations

When you find a set of innovations that make your company unique, you need to find ways to market your innovations. Every company must invest in marketing to build a customer base. Marketing helps you reach potential customers and teach them about your innovations and value propositions, which lets them decide if they want to take advantage of your business. When they do, your company begins to generate profits and brand loyalty.

Marketing doesn’t have to be complicated to be effective. Advertising on social media sites like Facebook can be effective ways of reaching a large number of potential customers with manageable financial and time costs. Grocery stores use email marketing, social media marketing, and advertising every week on their specials, which helps customers understand what new items and sales are available. Your company must find a way to let your customers know what new innovations you’ve come up with in order to encourage them to return to your store.

Start with your store database. There are many customers who want to hear from you. Learn how to extract your data in order to communicate with your clients more effectively.

Listen to Your Customers

One thing that all successful companies do is listen to their customers. Your customers are often the best source of information about how your company could be better. They’re deeply involved in your company’s customer experience and have insights from a unique perspective. By listening to what your customers have to say, you can find innovations that your customers will appreciate.

There are many ways to talk to your customers. The easiest method is to approach them when they’re in your store. Another common method is to send out questionnaires and surveys through an email subscription list. The results can be collected when your customer is ready and you can use technology to analyze the data quickly. There are plenty of technologies like Survey Monkey that can help you connect with your customers.

You’ve put a lot of time and effort into starting and growing your business. However, you have to start working toward ways of maintaining it since your competitors are constantly looking for ways to capture your inactive clients. Make, find, serve, and keep your business’s mantra, as well as use these tips to refine your company’s operations and ensure that it can survive.

Differentiate or die

Competition in the business world is brutal! There are so many brands out there competing for the same customers. If you want to strive as a business, then you need to make sure that you stand out from the crowd. You can’t be outstanding without standing out.

Luckily, there are steps that you can take to help you be more competitive and also help your company grow to meet the ever-changing needs and demand of today’s customers.

Here are some steps that your business can take to win!

Be Maniacal About Customer Service

You can always improve your customer service. Most businesses know that customer service is important, but not every business takes steps to keep improving. Your customer database is your lifeline and the only reason you’re in business, take care of it as if it was your most valuable asset. You have to give your customers a compelling reason to stay with you or else they will move on to the most attractive alternative.

The responsibility of today’s leader is to prepare their staff and to create an environment where excellence is the minimum standard. Train your staff to Think Like a Customer (TLC). What would they want to happen in certain situations? How could a specific situation be improved? Make sure that you’re working to improve customer relations during both the good and bad times in your business life. This will help set you apart from other competitors.

Be an Industry Leader

You can also stand out by being an industry leader. You want to be the brand and resource that both customers and other companies look to for advice. Are you up to date on industry news and trends? If not, now is the time to start. As you build more credibility in your niche, you will be known as an industry leader. It proves that you know what you’re talking about. Once you establish your brand as an industry expert, you’ll gain trust and more customers will choose you over competitors.

Be Willing to Learn New Skills and Offer New Services From an Outside Perspective

The problem with most leaders is that they seek guidance from similar people from similar backgrounds and as a result, they come up with similar solutions. These solutions are usually offered from a narrow perspective.

Your customers are always looking for new offerings and new solutions to their problems, and they’re not restricted by such constraints. You can help them by making sure your brand evolves. When was the last time that you learned a new skill or offered a new product or service? Create, don’t compete!

Take some time to identify what your customers need. Look carefully at your current offerings and find ways to make them even better! This can help you attract loyal customers and can also make it possible to increase your sales. There is always something new to learn. Why not be the brand that innovates it?

Finally, Be Willing to Find Ways to Truly Be Unique

Try your best to differentiate your business, your brand, and your company. The best companies find solutions to problems that the customers didn’t even know existed. Today’s business environment requires you to see around corners and anticipate a client’s needs in advance, moving away from being reactive to a culture of being proactive. Once you give yourself this challenge, you’ll never look at your business the same way. Remember, to lead is to bleed. No one said it would be easy, but it will be worth it.

Take steps to stand out so that you can learn and grow as a company and always meet the needs of your customers. For more helpful business tips, Brian Benstock offers helpful guidance worth checking out.

Honda Paragon in Queens NY, is billed as the “largest certified pre-owned Honda dealership in the world.” Despite Paragon’s title, Brian Benstock, the dealership’s general manager and VP, admits that the notion of a car buyer going to showroom to make a purchase is “outdated.”

While most people still don’t buy cars online, the digital experience is clearly central to the automotive purchase process: about 86 percent of prospective car buyers conduct online research before deciding to visit a local dealership, according to new research from digital marketing agency Adtaxi.

READ THE FULL ARTICLE HERE.

Pharmacies, eye doctors, hair and nail salons and/or fast food joints in roughly 250 Walmart locations are getting a new neighbor as digital automotive marketplace CarSaver expands a car-buying program with the retail giant and moves in its kiosks.

Read the full article HERE.

 

Paragon Honda, Honda’s largest certified pre-owned dealer, in partnership with its agency Team Velocity, is transforming the way it assists its customers, leveraging Google’s advanced technology and measurement to take the friction out of vehicle service and maintenance.

Read the full article HERE.