2018: Our Year in Review

Join us for a celebration of everything we’ve achieved this year.

2018 has been a big year for GForces. We’ve taken on challenging market conditions, with both manufacturers and retailers seeing a very tough second half of last year. From fighting petrol pump prices to Brexit, politics has also played its part in fuelling uncertainty in buyers minds. So, it should be no surprise that a drop in physical dealership visits was also generally reported by retailers*. However, with new tools on the market such as Gubagoo Live Chat and the visionary real-time vehicle and accessory platform NetDirector® Experience, GForces has been equipping our clients with the digital tools that will drive new leads into their physical locations. Here is a rundown of just some of the things we achieved over the last twelve months.

Spectacular Sites

2018 has seen us launch 371 new NetDirector® retail websites. That’s more than one new automotive retail website every single day of the year. And that doesn’t include the multitude of launches overseen by our Enterprise and OEM teams. Every month, we launch new digital dealerships for independent retailers, all encompassing platforms for major franchise groups, and everything from specialist sites to bespoke software implementations for global manufacturers. This year has seen some of our best, and with our impressively ultra-fast and dedicated ecommerce platform NetDirector® Auto-e now available to the market, expect a multitude more to hit in 2019 too.

Big in BI

GForces has always been proud to be a data-driven company. We rely on unmatched insights to power high-performing marketing campaigns for our clients. We also use them to interpret and predict the opportunities the market is presenting. From the colour and fuel type connected consumers are searching for in their ideal vehicle, to growing audience reach through organic SEO and search tools, we help optimise each of our clients’ offering as a result. And empowering us to do so is our dedicated BI (Business Intelligence) team.

Thanks to them, we’ve captured over 1.1 billion events via site-tagging. And those events were listed in over 36,000 reports across Retail, OEM, Used Vehicle Locators, and the various global markets we operate in. As a result, we’ve been able to pinpoint strategy for our clients throughout the year and grow their business and audience reach too.

Our BI team have also been on hand to constantly respond to countless ad-hoc data requests, often forming the backbone of our new business pitches, and the business development opportunities we identify.

Our BI team also oversaw a full migration from Tableau Online to Tableau Server in April. This not only lifted the cap on license availability for our growing client list, but we also saw a 55% increase in users and subsequently as a result, data availability. We look forward to even bigger and better things from our BI team in 2019.

Our Assets Weren’t Frozen

At the end of February, the Beast from the East and Storm Emma brought Kent and many other parts of the country to a standstill. Our preparation over the last three years in maintaining our ISO:27001 compliance meant we were fully prepared for just such a scenario. Rather than leave our clients out in the cold, we had the appropriate resources redirected and serving them remotely all over the country and beyond. From those who made it in pitching in to answer the phones, to some creative ways of keeping morale up, our Business Continuity Plan allowed it to be business as usual. You can read the full account here.

Making GDPR Great Again

In the early part of 2018, something almost as talked about as Brexit dominated the news and GDPR scaremongering became an industry-wide pastime. GForces has used the globally recognised international standard of ISO 27001 to incorporate best practice into our full offering of products and services. Our most recent re-certification demonstrated three years of commitment to supporting our clients with GDPR compliance.

This was also demonstrated through the extremely successful webinar we held back in March. Nearly 200 automotive retailers joined our team of speakers, who were the key personnel within the business with the hands-on experience conforming our own policies, technology, and infrastructure in line with GDPR. We were also joined by John Mitchison, Director of Policy and Compliance with our partner, the Direct Marketing Association. If you’re a GForces client, you can still view the webinar by logging in to your Nehttps://dma.org.uk/tDirector® console.

Our commitment to data security has also been recognised in the recent successful Financial Conduct Authority registration to support our brand-new, end-to-end ecommerce platform, NetDirector® Auto-e with NetDirector® Transact.

 Getting Social

Our Retail Marketing team is always looking for new and pioneering ways to establish better levels of engagement for our clients. After trialling a new format for paid social advertising, Vantage Motor Group, saw some impressive results.

“Trying new forms of paid social advertising to stay relevant and competitive is important to our marketing strategy. There has been a real shift in the way customers interact with our paid social advertising. We worked with GForces to run Facebook Collection Adverts as well as an Instagram Stories Advert for the first time, focusing on SUV models and an A-segment car.

These both performed very well and have surpassed anything we have run before in terms of engagement and reach. Particularly, the interaction we have had with real owners and between themselves has been fantastic: e.g. people sharing photos of their car and tagging friends.

We’ve also had several young drivers contacting us on Messenger with questions, saying they have seen our advert. We will continue to implement these types of adverts in our marketing plans.”

Helen Kenyon, Senior Marketing Executive, Vantage Motor Group

If you’d like to know more about how our Retail Team can help your business, you can get in touch here.

Record Breakers

A huge congratulations should go to our brilliant Client Services team, who managed to achieve 100% in our monthly customer satisfaction surveys no fewer than three times this year. Our first ever 100% rating came in March 2017, and we were determined to do even better in 2018. The results clearly speak for themselves, as not only did we see more months of complete satisfaction, but we also set a new record for a response time of just 44 minutes, beating our previous record twice in the process before setting the new bar. By it’s very nature, the automotive industry isn’t 9-5, so nor are we. Our dedicated support staff are there when our clients need them. And we’ll always strive to improve our service.

Here’s what our KPIs looked like for the last year.

Award-Winning

GForces were extremely proud to be named ‘Website Provider for Franchised Dealers’ by Car Dealer magazine for the third year in a row. We were also extremely pleased to see our partners at Gubagoo ‘Highly Commended’ in the ‘Consumer Lead Generation’ category of the annual Power Awards. In addition, we were announced as a winner of the ‘best export growth in sales’ category of the Kent Megagrowth 50. Our clients also received considerable recognition in multiple awards across the industry, meaning NetDirector® websites have won more awards for our clients than any other provider.

Let’s Go

And, finally, we announced our commitment to ecommerce and the future of automotive retail with a full rebrand of our corporate identity and a new website to showcase our products and services. So, for instance, you may notice our new logo, which has been updated to express our brand in a modernist light that symbolises looking forward and our drive to go above and beyond for our clients. And, it’s with that vision of looking ahead that we have adopted a new strapline of ‘Let’s Go’. It’s our invitation to existing and prospective clients to join us on this new ecommerce journey, and an ethos of a company always on the move.

We look forward to sharing where the journey will take us in 2019.

*KPMG, 2018.

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Author: Luke Phillips (98 Articles)

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