Motoinsight + TRADER

Friends and colleagues,

As you may recall, early last year Motoinsight joined a premier family of automotive technology brands owned by the private equity investment firm Thoma Bravo, including names like J.D. Power, Autodata Solutions, ALG, and, through a strategic investment by TRADER Corporation. This uniquely positioned Motoinsight to accelerate its growth notwithstanding unprecedented industry challenges over the last year and a half.

We helped our dealership and automaker partners innovate and deliver transformative digital retailing experiences with our MotoCommerce platform. We launched industry-first online buying capabilities on We set new performance records in practically every category across our business – customers, growth rate, engagement, revenue, and more. I am tremendously proud of each one of our 180 team members for their dedication, and I will be forever grateful to each of our clients and partners for their trust and business. Motoinsight is better positioned than ever to continue to lead, innovate, and redefine automotive retail.

As the next step in Motoinsight’s evolution, I wanted to share that Motoinsight will now be joined with TRADER’s other recently acquired software assets in a new business unit that will be led by Edwin Ulak as President. There will be much more exciting news to come on this front, but it is a major step forward towards our vision to deliver a unified technology platform for automotive retail. And so it is with great confidence in our team and future that I also share that I will be transitioning out of my role as CEO of Motoinsight as part of this evolution. My co-founder Radek Garbowski has been appointed to lead the Motoinsight business and team going forward. I look forward to supporting both Edwin and Radek in their new roles.

This transition is bittersweet for me as it has been the journey of a lifetime building Motoinsight over the last ten years from a few guys with an idea working out of a basement to become the market leader that it is today. I want to express a special thank you to our early customers, supporters, and investors for taking a chance on us – we wouldn’t have succeeded without you. To my co-founders Radek, Neal Shah, and Leslie Wong, thank you for taking this ride with me.

I won’t be going far though as I will remain a Senior Advisor at Motoinsight to continue to support our clients, partners, and vision. As well, I will be taking on a new role as Chief Digital Retail Officer at TRADER Corporation leading some exciting new initiatives in the transformation of I hope to share more on that with you soon.

Looking forward to even bigger things ahead for both Motoinsight and TRADER!

Talk soon,


Andrew Tai is the CEO and co-founder of Motoinsight, but his influence extends far beyond the company. A contributing columnist to The Globe and Mail and a prolific speaker, Andrew is a recognized authority on digital retailing within the automotive industry. Connect with him today to learn how your dealership is going to change, or see the future yourself at

Ready to sell more cars? See how your dealership can thrive online today.

What Apple cars tell us about the future of the dealership

Apple cars aren’t happening… yet. Contrary to early reports, Hyundai wasn’t planning to manufacture self-driving cars for Apple, and Tesla is once again the only California tech giant with a major stake in the electric/autonomous car game.

One thing is clear, though: big tech is interested in our industry like never before, and that means we have work to do. Silicon Valley titans have captured the imagination and curiosity of consumers in every industry, and they know how to turn those sentiments into sales. We need to be ready.

Has the industry gone completely digital?

In response to the initial COVID lock-downs of 2020, dealerships across North America did an incredible job of updating their practices to keep operating safely and efficiently. We were particularly impressed with the ways some MotoCommerce users were able to thrive! You can see their results here.

This was a good start, but a return to normal has slowed the digital transition. Our industry is built on tradition and instinct, and that worked for a long time. Even after innovative dealerships proved the potential of digital retailing in sales, marketing, and even inventory acquisition, many are still reluctant to give in to this new way of doing business.

As a result, we’re halfway between the future and the past.

The truth everyone can see but us

It’s clear to everyone that automotive digital retailing tools are the way forward – some dealers have realized it, but so have outsiders like Apple. The world was watching, and they see the potential that a newly digitized automotive industry has to offer.

Just look at the mainstream news coverage. Digital retailing exploded from a niche automotive discussion point to key talking point worldwide. ABC News, Forbes, Bloomberg, and others can’t stop talking about how much consumers love digital retailing.

"This shift to digital retail is positive for dealers who embrace it," Haig told ABC News.

The threat Apple poses to the automotive industry

The thing is, Apple (and budding tech/car companies like Lucid and Rivian) are digital natives. They understand how to create the perfect purchase journey for a consumer base that already shops primarily online. When they hit the market – and they will – everyone will compare their purchase process to yours.

How can we prepare for digital challengers?

To thrive in the new automotive landscape, we need to start today. By implementing digital retailing tools now, dealerships can ensure that they speak the language of e-commerce fluently by the time big tech comes to play. When that happens, these tech companies won’t have the competitive edge they anticipate in the online shopping game.

Use the advantages you already have

What’s more, research highlighted in the J.D. Power 2020 COVID-19 Vehicle Owner Pulse webinar suggests that customers still expect a great in-store experience even when they start shopping online. As with everything in life, car shopping needs to be a happy medium; customers want the option to combine online and in-store elements of the sale into their ideal purchase process.

This is what the best omni-channel digital retailing platforms offer, and what you can bring to the table. Your secret weapon isn’t just a widget on your VDP, it’s your ability to bring decades of in-person sales expertise to the digital sales process. We have some awesome tips on working with your team to create the perfect digital purchase process over here!


Tesla was just the tip of the iceberg. More and more tech companies will try to join the automotive industry, and they’ll bring with them a newer, more digital way of doing business. This disruption can seem threatening, but traditional dealerships have the home-court advantage. If we can combine that legacy with the right omni-channel digital retailing tools, dealerships can expect to thrive even through complete industry upheaval.

Ready to sell more cars? See how your dealership can thrive online today.

Do your automotive dealership customers really want to shop online?

Our friends at J.D. Power released a report that provides some detailed and intriguing insights on automotive consumer behaviour and the impact the pandemic had on the people you’re counting on to buy your cars. At a first glance, the report seems to say the exact opposite of what you’d expect: a decline in consumer appetite for an online vehicle purchase.

But hold on, haven’t I been saying for years that automotive digital retailing is the future? And didn’t consumers and dealers alike adopt digital shopping tools almost overnight in response to the pandemic? The J.D. Power findings seem to run contrary to everything we’ve heard from within and outside of our industry about this “new normal.”

Let’s look more closely, though, because the report goes in-depth on the specifics of your customers’ desires, and it’s something you should absolutely not overlook.

Do people want to buy online at all?

According to the report, anywhere from 37 to 51 per cent of car buyers expressed strong intention to complete individual steps of the vehicle purchase online. More recent research reported on by Forbes suggests that those numbers have risen to between 73 and 80 per cent.

what are your dealership customers doing online? forbes

Interest in online options varies from step to step, but what the numbers show is concrete: all customers want to shop your dealership online, they just can’t agree on how.

The good news is that they don’t have to! Let me explain.

How do we address all the different buying preferences?

Long before digital retailing became a necessity in the automotive industry due to COVID, it was clear that flexible automotive digital retailing was the only meaningful way forward. Rigid, predefined online purchase pathways promised a great experience, but delivered platforms that only appealed to a narrow selection of customers. We go into more detail about this problem in our article Is your digital retailing platform black and white?

Leverage omni-channel digital retailing

This is where a great omni-channel automotive digital retailing platform shines. Sure, only 33 per cent of those surveyed by J.D. Power said they would complete all aspects of purchasing a new vehicle online, but nearly half said they would be interested in placing a deposit from their computers. By offering no digital solution or an online-only purchase tool, dealers stand to lose the 46 per cent of customers who want what we all want: choice.

Buyer satisfaction hit an all-time high in 2020 when shoppers finally got the freedom to do more online and less in the showroom

Combine the strengths website and your showroom

Just like everyone wants something a little different in a new car, everyone who walks into your showroom or visits your dealership has a different and unique set of priorities when it comes to the purchase itself. Some people need to hear the sales pitch in person, but are more than happy to go home and place a deposit online. Other customers want to do their own research, but need to look you in the eye before opening their wallets.

Need some inspiration? Here’s our list of five companies who do a great job of meeting consumers needs online and offline.

Appeal to everyone

Flexible omni-channel is what makes that a possibility, and what appeals to the 77 per cent of consumers who, according to J.D. Power, aren’t quite ready to do everything online just yet. When you empower your consumers with the freedom and transparency to choose what parts of the sale to do when – and where – you create the purchase environment they’ve been asking for since before social distancing.


When the world gets back to normal – or at least, “new normal” – consumer expectations are likely to change again. And they’ll keep on changing and shifting, as they always have. But with flexible digital retailing, you don’t need to know exactly what your customers want; you can give them the best tools available, and let them show you.

Source: 2020 Canada COVID-19 Pulse Webinar_Wave 6 June 3-July 1, J.D. Power

Ready to sell more cars? See how your dealership can thrive online today.