Parts Insider Interview Series – Insignia Group, Vehicle Personalization Consultants

In today’s Spork Marketing’s Parts Industry Insider Interview Series post, we’re talking with David Copp Stringer, founder and president of Insignia Group. Insignia Group consults with and teaches dealerships how to develop a successful vehicle personalization process. Here’s our interview with David.

Can you describe your product/service as if I knew nothing about it or the market?

Insignia Group provides software and consulting services for dealerships focused on vehicle personalization – a showroom process for offering customization to a new car buyer or service customer.

What’s your standard ‘elevator pitch’ for your company?

Insignia helps dealers with the 5 biggest challenges in the car business – the ones that keep GMs and dealer principles up at night: low new vehicle margins; CSI scores; high sales staff turnover; first service turns; and creating new F&I opportunities.

David Stringer, Founder and President of Insignia Group

David Copp Stringer, Insignia Group

Can you tell us briefly about your parts industry experience?

Prior to Insignia, my focus and interest was internet-based businesses and projects. We created a few online businesses in 1998 that were ahead of their time: Sitewear.com which was a online contract embroidery business where you could order hats and shirts with your website url. Milesforsale.com which allowed people to purchase and gift airline miles. So my interest in automotive catalogs really came from people finding me and asking me to build them a catalog…it rooted from there.

I began in the aftermarket replacement parts cataloging industry in 1999 when I founded what was to become Insignia in 2001. Originally the focus was automotive air conditioning catalogs, and in 2002 we were in the right place at the right time to shift our focus and build a niche around automotive accessories. We changed our name to Insignia in 2001 and essentially it was the same company.
We developed several lasting parts sites including acdelcopartsonline.com, which won Catalog of the Year in 2004 and an air conditioning online catalog for Visteon in 2000. In 2002, we launched GMAccessories.com and became the defector accessories catalog for GM dealers and distributors from 2002 to 2008. In 2013, Insignia received a patent on its visualization process and we now support 26 vehicle brands, thousands of dealers, OEMs, and distributors.

What is your favorite part about your job?

Making the tough decisions. My job is to be the last one out, and I take that very seriously. At my core, I am an entrepreneur that continues to be a part of re-inventing Insignia and moving it forward. This requires some tough decisions at times and though the actual decision may not be very pleasant (business is messy), I do find being the one left with the final decision to be my favorite part of the job.

Are there any common misconceptions that people have about the products or services you offer?

That we help dealers sell accessories online! Nope. Our focus is the showroom and the service lane. There are great companies that specialize in e-commerce and we have doggedly avoided that space. Our expertise is making that new car buyer over the moon by personalizing their vehicle before it leave the lot. Another common misconception is that vehicle personalization happens overnight! Poof – it all works. Nope. It’s not rocket science, BUT it is complicated! Getting parts, service, and sales to all work together is not an overnight thing. It takes time, attention, and persistence.

When you’re talking to potential customers, what are the 3 most important things you want them to know?

First, we know this works, and how to make it work. We have the experience and track record to prove it. Let the process work – don’t try to re-invent it because you are a car dealer…this isn’t our first rodeo. Second, this works in EVERY car dealership: big, small, foreign cars, domestic cars, rural America, downtown dealership with no place to park, it works for everyone. Third, we take care our customers. We have been told by customers that our customer service is “ridiculous.” They often say, “You guys go way over and above to make us happy.” And we do.

What do you attribute to your company’s success?

Focus. Insignia Group has focused on vehicle personalization since 2002. We take care of our customers, and we produce wild success.

How long has your company been in business?

In the vehicle personalization space since 2002. In business since 2001.

How did you choose your current business location?

The Charlotte area is awesome. However, many of the company’s principles lived in York County, SC, right south of Charlotte. Rock Hill, SC became our headquarters in 2008. We found it to be a community full of business-focused public servants and entrepreneur-minded business leaders. We have ingrained ourselves into this community by sponsoring the Rock Hill Technology Incubator, serving on many business-focused leadership boards and organizations and giving back to our community through time at schools and other public support organizations.

Where do you see the market for your product/service moving over the next 5 years?

Great question! There are a number of things that will affect our business over the next 5 years: driving habits, autonomous vehicles, dealership consolidation, accessory manufacturer consolidation to name several. With our system, which covers so many vehicle brands and accessory products, along with our field of consultants, which is the largest of any company in our space, Insignia is positioned to continue to help dealership maximize their profit opportunities on new and used car sales as the market evolves. Changes in dealership selling methodologies are happening whether it is online, or through better technology support, and Insignia is also there as well in partnerships and services that support the evolving dealership environment. As a company that has constantly adjusted to the marketplace, we are ready for the next wave of changes, whatever they be!

Takeaways:

If your dealership is ready to maximize sales with a proven vehicle personalization plan, take a look at Insignia Group. They are experts at getting sales, parts, and service to deliver your customers the car they really want and get your dealership the profits you need.

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