Consumers have more tools at their fingertips than ever before in researching future purchases, this truth has transformed the automotive marketplace. Take the amount of online information available about vehicles and dealerships, add the emotional weight that comes with making what is typically the second largest purchase of a consumer’s life, and you’ll get a very educated, motivated shopper.
In the past, customers depended on dealerships to provide information about vehicles, and often followed family loyalty to buy from only one manufacturer. This is no longer true. Dealers who don’t recognize that times and customers have changed, who continue to follow their “we’ve always done it this way” marketing and sales strategies, will progressively pay the price.
Consumers, however, aren’t the only ones with fresh tools. By taking advantage of new technology, dealerships can connect with customers in meaningful ways and build rewarding relationships that benefit everyone.
Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning
Just as customers can research the market more effectively, dealerships can learn more about the automotive shopper’s needs and desires than ever before. During our day-to-day activities, both online and offline, we create data based on our searches, habits, and other actions. While there’s far too much data for mere humans to use in any meaningful way, marketing platforms powered by artificial intelligence (AI) can.
By using machine learning techniques — where the AI algorithms collect and examine data, find patterns, learn from them and then make predictions that become increasingly accurate, your dealership can gather information about your customers and prospects to anticipate their needs.
Getting to Know You
Personalization is a critical component in connecting with the modern consumer. When Netflix offers a personalized “Top Picks” for viewers, or Amazon gives an accurate “You May Also Like” list for shoppers, consumers are trained to anticipate this type of personalized experience everywhere else. They are rewarded for the time they spend with a company, which leads them to expect it with other business interactions.
With AI-driven marketing platforms, your dealership can enjoy this same type of relationship by directly targeting individuals with your marketing campaigns and reflecting where they are, either in the buying process or in the vehicle-ownership lifecycle. When you present them with relevant information aimed at their specific situation, your message cuts through the noise of your competition.
Automatic Processes, Automatic Results
Terms like “AI” and “machine learning” can seem intimidating, but the truth is the technology is advanced enough that, once in place, it requires only minimal involvement from the dealer’s staff. By putting marketing automation in place, your dealership can run consistent campaigns and not miss any opportunities that might occur with manual efforts when your team gets distracted or busy.
Even better, this type of marketing tool actually frees your salespeople to do what they do best— create relationships with potential customers and build rapport with their existing clients.
AI-powered platforms provide vital information about consumers that the salesperson can use to anticipate questions and objections, narrow down choices, and prepare their best presentations. Your service department can even offer reminders and specials based on the age and mileage of the consumer’s current vehicle.
With these tools, your dealership can offer a personalized experience for each customer and they will notice, remember, and reward you for it.
The AI-Assisted Personal Touch
The role of the dealership has shifted to where you need to be seen as a partner in the auto buying process, rather than the gatekeeper. Your advantage in this is the relationship you can forge with the customer by showing you know them and can serve their needs better than your competition. By using AI-powered marketing systems, your dealership can provide an amazing personalized service for all your customers and prospects — an experience they’ll truly appreciate now and in the future.