By Eric Brown, CEO, inSearchX
What if you woke up tomorrow and the path to purchase no longer existed?
Today, we use our internet-connected devices to visit websites and curate content we find interesting. But this process is getting INVERTED as our AI-enabled devices curate content we request or that they anticipate, organize, and display for us.
But as virtual assistants take on more of the shopping process for us, what sales and marketing processes, technologies, and tactics fall to the wayside?
The quick answer – everything!
When an AI-powered device or shopping platform gathers content from your website or database then presents that to an auto shopper, the first casualty is a website visit (or at least one by a human). In fact, a website visit is not even needed. Simply one device queries another device’s (server) database and then assembles, manages, and presents the data to the consumer.
So, when a virtual assistant or AI does the work for the auto shopper, it takes away a variety of actions such as website visits, VDP views, Google searches, keyword usage, display ad views, form fills, emails, search/retargeting, chat (at least not by a human), and phone calls.
And the list goes on and on. So, how do you engage auto shoppers if they are merely an IP address generated by a device the consumer commands? What does this mean for your business?
Good news! This is a huge margin opportunity. Here are three examples to start.
First, these AI-powered platforms remove friction and frustration from the path to purchase for consumers. These platforms find the right car and the right deal in minutes, if not seconds. This eliminates a process that today’s consumer may take 90-plus days to do. If you accelerate discovery and thus inventory turn, think about what happens to your dealership margin.
Second, the cost to engage these auto shoppers will be dollars per sale, not the hundreds spent today. This means absolutely zero dollars spent on wasted audience reach or 15-year-old boys clicking on your SEM ads to see your latest sports car. AI platforms are “professional shoppers” using data to go right to the data source, they do not need advertising to create awareness and navigate discovery. This proficiency drives down the cost of engagement simply from the proficiency of AI discovery.
Third, margin strength through price alignment. On your website, all of your vehicles are priced to the top of the bell curve for consumer demand. In other words, your price is set to appeal to the largest cohort of auto shoppers. This is necessary today because you need an ROI on your advertising investment. Thus, you need the highest possible response rate.
However, in every bell curve, smaller cohorts are willing to pay higher prices as the product or service better aligns with their needs. Think, consumers who buy their milk at Walgreens because they don’t want to navigate the traffic at Publix. This is true with your inventory and its respective prices. There are, in the “bell curve of in-market shoppers,” consumers willing to pay more for your inventory.
AI will better align consumer need/desire with your pricing and drive up your overall margin. The right car, at the best price, for the right consumer. Of course, vendors have been making this claim for years, but AI finally gets us there. Or said differently, there is only one steering wheel in a car, and only one person will drive it off the lot. AI will find the right person with the best possible margin opportunity for you at that moment.
Like any evolution or revolution, new technology will disrupt and challenge incumbent processes, technologies, and vendors. But, just as the invention of the automobile drove down the cost of transportation and disrupted the livery industry, AI will do the same and again create an entire new industry with all its potential and opportunities.
The AI train has left the station, are you with it or under it?
Learn more about how to embrace the AI disruption by joining Eric Brown at Digital Dealer 27 Conference& Expo (Aug. 19-21, Las Vegas, NV) for his session, “The Path to Purchase Is About to Become Obsolete.”
About the Author
Eric Brown is founder of inSearchX an AI-powered product search platform, he also founded Dataium, industry leader in behavioral data analysis, acquired by. IHS Markit in 2015 and is former President of LotLinx. In 2012 was named Nashville, Tenn.’s “Innovator of the Year” and has appeared as a data expert on Fox News and spoken at a variety of industry events, such as NADA, JD Power, and SAE Global Leadership Conf.