Just as automobile assembly lines have become so advanced that workers often need technical degrees, running a modern dealership demands equally complex knowledge, and not just in the service bays.

The digital marketplace where consumers expect immediate gratification now extends to car shopping, as showroom visits have dropped and online shopping has increased.

Those consumer clicks and swipes must be met with equal confidence and capability by the dealership, says Noah John, co-founder of AutoScores, a predictive-analytics firm.

“Successful dealerships realize they have to bring in technical expertise to supplement their team because so many of their sales now are driven by SEO (search-engine optimization), SEM (search-engine marketing), analytics and social media,” he says.

Dealerships that succeed digitally “are recognizing they have to be little mini Amazons and start hiring software engineers and digital marketers. The dealers that are able to invest in dedicated, technically versed employees are reaping the dividends.” 

John recommends dealers seek candidates from universities, possibly offering internships to computer-science or mathematics majors.

But dealers must be ready to pay the price. “Technology and e-commerce are not just an auto dealer thing, it’s in every industry now,” he says. “There’s a high demand for this knowledge.”