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Highlights from CarGurus Navigate ’20

Posted by Meg Bernazzani on October 29, 2020

And just like that, CarGurus’ second annual Navigate automotive conference has come to an end. During a year that’s been anything but normal, it was great to have more than 700 dealers and industry partners from the US, UK, and Canada come together to share ideas and strategies for growing their businesses during this unique time. To everyone who attended this year’s event—thank you, and we hope to see you in person next year!

In the meantime, here are a few of the key themes from the event:

1. Out of challenge comes great opportunity.

In his keynote, Peter Sheahan explained, “Companies don’t change, humans do” — and while many people are hesitant to change, it’s the best way to overcome the challenges that life throws at us. Dealers who take ownership and adapt to the new reality will earn a competitive advantage. But it doesn’t end there. Driving alignment across your entire business and opening the lines of communication will ensure your dealership stays relevant and accelerates growth.

Similarly, Sir Clive Woodward championed the importance of resilience and leadership during the extraordinary times we’re living in, and how these values are key to building sustainable success.

2. Consumers’ expectations and preferences around car buying are changing.

The fact that consumers are getting more and more comfortable with the idea of doing at least part, if not all, of the car buying process online came up in multiple presentations during Navigate. CarGurus Director of Consumer Insights Madison Gross and Consumer Insights Analyst Ali Chapman dove into the latest research on shopper trends from the soon-to-be-released 2020 CarGurus Buyer Insight Report as well as how the Covid-19 pandemic has shaped the next generation of car buyers.

Building on this idea that consumers’ preferences are changing, Josh Berg, VP of Product at CarGurus, walked dealers through getting started with digital retail. He emphasized the idea that Covid has accelerated consumers’ openness and preferences around digital retail, and that dealers must adapt accordingly. This wasn’t something that was new though – dealers from the US, UK, and Canada consistently brought up the ways they were shifting to digital in panel discussions throughout the event.

3. Employees are the lifeblood of your business, so take care of them.

While this was true before Covid, it’s more important than ever that dealers show their staff that they care. UKG CEO Aron Ain described thoughtful initiatives like virtual summer camps and tutoring that his company has implemented to help remote employees but explained that it costs nothing to simply check in with and take care of your employees.

Rachel Weed, Senior Sales Manager at CarGurus, echoed the sentiment in her presentation as she described how to address increased pressure and changing sales tactics salespeople have had to adapt to during this unprecedented time.

4. Maximizing your marketing efforts is crucial – and within your control.

In her session, Laurie Foster shared tips for increasing the value dealers get from marketing vendors, saving time, and driving more sales. She challenged dealers to be honest about their challenges, work transparently with vendors on objectives and metrics, and to ask more and better questions throughout the partnership.

Brian Pasch, Founder of PCG Companies, zeroed in on strategies for optimizing Google My Business listings for sales, service, parts, and collision centers during his presentation. From breaking out listings by department to maximizing keywords and categories, he gave dealers actionable tactics for increasing their organic traffic on Google.

5. CarGurus is here to help dealers get back to growth.

In their keynote, CarGurus COO Sam Zales and CPO Tom Caputo applauded dealers for their resilience and shared how the company has adapted to these turbulent times. In other sessions, CarGurus leaders dove deeper into the specific product offerings designed to drive efficiency and ROI for dealers. In Canada, they showcased updates to tools in the Dealer Dashboard. They also walked dealers through Area Boost and Onsite Display, two recently released products designed to address dealers’ greatest challenges.

Missed the event but want access to the content? Visit to view the sessions on demand.


Topics: CarGurus news, Navigate