Reflect Teams With Universus Media On Auto Dealer-Focused Digital Signage Solutions

May 4, 2018 by Dave Haynes

An auto industry-focused media publisher in Toronto and the Dallas-based CMS and solutions provider Reflect have formed a strategic alliance aimed directly at providing in-store solutions for auto dealers.

“This alliance makes it much easier for dealerships to bring a broad range of digital media into their stores, and for automotive manufacturers to incorporate digital content into dealerships to provide a true omni-channel experience,” says Niel Hiscox, President of UniversusDX, a subsidiary of Universus Media Group. “Our approach to enhancing the in-store customer experience always starts with strategy, and measuring business outcomes, and that aligns perfectly with the approach that Reflect takes with their customers.”

The partnership’s stated goal is to “help automotive OEMs, dealership groups, and individual dealerships transform the in-store customer experience for their new and used vehicle shoppers and service customers to a digital, interactive and integrated one.”

Automotive shoppers start their car-buying journey online, and interact with a host of powerful digital tools, video and marketing messages. When they arrive at dealerships, however, they experience very little digital content.

“UniversusDX has a strong track record producing automotive video and digital content, and they manage digital signage networks for mainstream and luxury automotive brands,” says Lee Summers, Chief Executive Officer, Reflect. “By joining forces we will be able to serve the Canadian and United States markets and provide incredible digital experiences for dealerships at scale.”

Summers says the focus of the alliance is on the auto industry, but suggest they could also do other kids of work, presumably also in retail – which has long been Reflect’s primary vertical.

This has been in the works for several years, as I crossed path with Hiscox early on when his team was starting to look at partner options. I’m pretty sure they went down the path with a couple of CMS options, but have clearly settled on a new one in Reflect. I don’t believe there were ever announcements with other options.

Reflect is very much a U.S. company, but has done work in Canada, notably with Cineplex prior to that company buying EK3, and mostly when the digital media side of Cineplex was known as DDC. I’ll assume this alliance is looking at the far larger scale opportunity of the U.S.

There are already companies like ABN and Unified Brand that focus on auto dealers, but what’s interesting here is the Universus side. The company has for many years produced content for auto dealer associations, like magazines, online video and social media. They are DEEPLY embedded in, at least, the Canadian side of the industry – and that subject matter expertise and content easily translates south of the border. There’s not a whole pile of difference in how, say, a Toyota dealer looks and runs in Niagara Falls, ON versus the one across the river in the Buffalo area.

I was wondering why on Earth Universus had a video guy down at DSE a few weeks ago. Now it makes some sense …

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