NOW OPEN: The Automotive App Store

The Open App Approach to Uniting an Industry

by David Metter

What makes the Apple brand indestructible? There are a million answers to this question, and all are valid. Is Apple’s technology more advanced than Google’s? Not necessarily. Are their smartphones more intelligent than all other smartphones? Probably not. But no one can dispute the fact that they are the simplest devices to navigate for the vast majority of the population. Apple products dominate the market because they’re easy to use, and they integrate flawlessly with one another through Apple’s iCloud.

When we take a step back from the entire culture Apple has created, and strip down every product they’ve reinvented, we start to see the roots of what made them so successful in the first place. We see The App Store, and through that we see unification. We see both integration and alliances. We see the reason people feel naked without their iPhones. The iPhone is so integral to its owner because it makes their lives easier and better. We feel helpless without them. The App Store puts the power in our hands to access tools that improve the way we function on a day-to-day basis. It puts the world at our fingertips, and so many of the best apps out there are free.

Take Waze for example. It is the largest community-based, interactive traffic and navigation app in existence. Its value comes entirely from its users and the information these users provide in real-time. The technology then works by aggregating and building upon its user data to calculate the most efficient route from point A to point B, saving drivers both time and money (again, in real-time). In so many ways (no pun intended), Waze created a more efficient rail system of data that benefits everyone on the road.

What if the automotive industry could create this same type of unified data railroad? What if we knocked down our walls and opened up our own Automotive App Store… free of charge? What if every vendor, dealer, and OEM had faster, more accurate data? What could we accomplish as a community rather than as competitors? CDK Global has already adopted this open app approach when they announced their new Partner Program in September, in efforts to create an ecosystem of approved vendors and applications that can be flawlessly integrated into a CDK dealer website. Could it be? Vendors actually working together to reap the benefits of the bigger picture?

I’ve been fortunate enough to be on both sites of the battle. During my time as CMO at MileOne Automotive, one of our biggest struggles was getting vendors to integrate and work properly together. However, our biggest strength was having the insight to see the unique benefits of two different companies and the means to bring them together in a way that benefitted us and helped us sell more cars. Now that I’m on the vendor side, I’ve seen a need for these types of partnerships to happen now more than ever.

In the short time AutoHook has been in business, we have solidified more partnerships and relationships than anyone else in the space. So, we’re putting our money where our mouth is for the benefit of the entire automotive industry. We know dealers suffer when vendors don’t work together. When dealers and OEMs suffer, vendors also suffer. So let’s change that, shall we?

AutoHook is doing our part to build one, solidified automotive railroad system by opening our API, and the sales validation data that comes with it, to all vendors – free of charge. In an industry where everyone charges to be connected, we want to be the player not to charge so that we can make stronger connections.

By adopting Apple’s open app approach, we can then simplify and unravel a very complicated subject. A subject that is perhaps the one absolute in an industry inundated with ambiguous topics like “big data” and “attribution.” Backed by near-real-time sales data from Urban Science, AutoHook has actually built an attribution engine that validates without a doubt that our solutions led directly to a sale. Sharing this type of knowledge is the one thing that could change this industry for the better. Having access to both accurate and up-to-date sales attribution data will make every decision this industry makes smarter, every solution more efficient, and every dollar we spend go further. Now THAT is something to get excited about.

*As featured in AutoSuccess Magazine | October 2016 edition.