The automotive industry is built on strong relationships and trust. So the shift to digital presents a challenge: bringing that personalized experience to online shoppers without face-to-face interaction. With smart targeting personalization technology, dealerships can create a customized online shopping experience that builds trust, promotes satisfaction, and boosts leads and sales.
A personalized digital dealership provides the one-to-one customization of the brick and mortar showroom.
In this 20-minute webinar recording, DealerRefresh Founder Jeff Kershner along with host Ryan Gerardi sit down with AutoLeadStar Head of Business Development Ilana Zur to discuss “How Smart Targeting Can Customize Online Shopping to Boost Leads and Sales.”
In the recording we address the following questions:
- Why should dealers consider “Personalization?”
- What is Personalization?
- What are some examples of Smart Targeting?
- What is a Feedback Loop?
- How do you define Dealer Success with Smart Targeting?
Dealerships love to compete on the amount of new inventory they sell. However, the best margins in auto sales come from used cars. The problem is that digital marketing techniques for new cars just don’t translate well to promoting used cars.
Used cars are completely unique, there is limited OEM marketing support, and sometimes they’re completely off-brand to your dealership.
So how can you market these high-margin vehicles effectively and increase your bottom line?
In this recorded webinar, DealerRefresh Contributor Ian Cruickshank explains how to increase your bottom line by connecting in-market car buyers to your pre-owned inventory.
The following points are discussed:
- Why your new car marketing doesn’t work well on pre-owned vehicles
- What new marketing techniques to use and to avoid when promoting your pre-owned inventory
- How these techniques can easily translate for used in new car marketing
Despite changing consumer behavior patterns, many if not most dealers continue to evaluate third parties only on “hard lead” measures and discount others forms of influenced purchase behavior. Consumers want to be in control of their experience and they are reluctant to provide their contact information because they fear the repercussions of unwanted marketing and solicitation.
These influential experiences appear anonymous to the dealer looking through the lens of a traditional hard lead, and even when a flow of hard leads is provided, many dealers struggle to ascertain their value when they can’t attribute them to immediate sales, even when the leads are proven to have made a purchase elsewhere.
As competition in the automotive space increases and sales plateau, dealers will need a continually better way to understand the complexities of consumer shopping behavior and refined data to help cut through the clutter and focus on their marketing spend,
A Strategy, Goal, and Framework
After months of research and analysis, Cars.com has launched an attribution strategy that begins to resolve the conflict between how consumers shop and how advertisers measure and differentiate valuable data. While slow to adopt, the general consensus across the industry does acknowledge that the traditional way of measuring performance does need to change.
The goal is to provide automotive advertisers – OEMs and Dealers – with a better understanding and appreciation of the next generation of value measures that better reflects the connections with Cars.com Consumers, using a framework to demonstrate value and influence called Influence Drivers. The frame will continue to evolve and grow with the consumer and consists of Digital Drivers, Physical Traffic, and Revenue Signals.
NADA and its dealer members have experienced many major milestones over the past 100 years, and had the fortune of celebrating this in New Orleans last month at NADA 100. Being adaptable to changing circumstances has allowed NADA and its members to thrive. The traits of hard work, diligence and perseverance continue to propel dealers toward the future.
Whether or not you were able to attend NADA 100, DealerRefresh has you covered. As Assistant Editor I was on the beat broadcasting via Facebook Live all three days, snagging interviews with DealerRefresh Sponsors and other exhibitors from their booths, attending special events, and more. For a glimpse of what we were able to capture, which is literally but a mere fraction of everything that occurred at this year’s convention, here is a breakdown of the video material we produced:
Customer reviews have become a first stop for today’s savvy shoppers. Online reviews exist for everything from the quality of electronics and computer accessories to which linens are best for a guest room. While the glut of customer reviews can be overwhelming, they illustrate how much stock people put into reviews and how important they can be for any company.
Reviews may be commonplace now, but before the Internet they were harder to come by. Consumer advocacy phone lines, magazines like ‘Consumer Reports’ and old-fashioned word of mouth supplied much – if not all – of the reviews people relied on before making a big purchase. Since there was no way for consumers to effectively communicate directly, businesses did what they could to spin articles and published reviews to their advantage and marketing was focused primarily on appearances.
Today, of course, that has all changed since people can now post reviews on social media, video sharing sites and, of course, directly to many review-based websites like Angie’s List or Yelp. As a result, companies today not only understand the power of customer reviews – they do everything they can to encourage feedback from customers and to use those reviews to improve their services.
Ratings and Reviews of Industry Vendors
For an industry like auto sales, reviews go beyond fielding customer complaints and promoting positive reviews of dealers. Dealerships too are customers for dozens of automotive vendors at any given time, who can use their own voice not only to help out other dealers considering certain vendors, but also to hold vendors accountable. This kind of collaborative, community-based approach does more than simply connect dealerships, it can improve the auto industry as a whole.
So where can dealers go to to rate and write reviews on vendors in an authentic way?
As the Greek philosopher Heraclitus said, “The only constant in life is change.” People who work in the auto industry know this is more than just a catchy quote. The auto market experiences seasonal dips and surges and it is also affected by a number of outside forces. The economy affects how much people are willing to spend, environmental issues make buyers more critical of emissions and mileage and industry trends can all cause a downturn that seems to come out of nowhere.
So what can dealers do to be prepared for a downturn in business no matter what’s causing it?
For three days in the middle of October in the far reaches of the Bellagio Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas – the Conference Center – nearly a thousand of the auto retail industry’s more savvy dealers and thought leaders assembled to attend the industry’s most progressive dealer executive event – the 7th Annual DrivingSales Executive Summit.
During this brief and exhausting period were Keynote Addresses from global business leaders, Breakout Sessions presented with industry thought leaders, panel discussion, a Best Idea Contest, and the Innovation Cup. And for the second year there was the AutoVentures Summit.
This is a great time in the auto industry for dealers looking to capitalize on technologies that drive leads and grow sales from third-party automotive websites. Consumers have evolved and continue to command more and more seamless and transparent digital engagement with dealers, forcing companies and dealerships to evolve as well.
One such emergence over the years as dealership websites continue to improve in their ability to engage visitors, is the importance of driving quality website traffic. There are numerous tools and products available for dealers to generate specific types of website traffic, and the discerning dealer has much to consider when implementing tactics and techniques to attract shoppers online from third-party automotive sites.
Acquiring Shoppers from Third-Party Automotive Sites
When a shopper searches the web for vehicles, they initiate an experience that for most is bewildering. Studies and tests have shown that the average consumer does not intimately know or grasp the nuances of finding the best vehicle to meet their needs, and when they begin searching for answers, there is an abundance of information now available.
The web is littered with thousands of websites designed to take advantage of this by acquiring visitors through search and paid media and then monetizing this traffic through advertising, capture forms, and now by referring these visitors to paying dealers.
The problem for dealers, however, is that while they are paying to acquire these website visitors, qualifying this traffic and vetting it out to determine the true value of these website visitors is difficult. Practically speaking, dealers are relying on their websites to do the vetting. [Read more…]
As early as 2006, a little known sole-proprietorship known as Ai-Dealer was attempting to introduce the idea of an online shopping cart for consumers to purchase their vehicle on a dealer’s website. CRM trailblazer Brian Hoecht had begun working with a handful of dealers to integrate their DMS with his technology to support online shopping and financing directly on the dealership’s website. At the time, the idea was a stretch for consumers and dealers and the industry alike.
Fast forward ten years, there are now multiple companies providing dealers with the ability to allow website visitors the option to purchase online, each with their own unique approach and features. However, there appears to be quite a division in thinking throughout the industry as to the role that online vehicle checkout plays and what it means to the industry and to consumers.
Recently, while at the 21st Digital Dealer Conference in Las Vegas, I had the opportunity to conduct a phone interview with the CEO of one of these companies – Aaron Krane of Drive Motors, along with DealerRefresh Chief Editor Jeff Kershner. Drive Motors builds commerce experiences for auto dealers. During our conversation Jeff and I were able to get a glimpse of Aaron’s vision for how he sees consumers and dealers responding to this growing capability.
The new adage in the used car business is to buy a lot and sell fast. As one industry expert has stated, “Margin compression in used car operations means dealers must disrupt old practices that result in high vehicle acquisition costs and slow time-to-market speed.”
One way to improve acquisition volume and vehicle quality is to source inventory internally. This means not only sourcing trade-ins from existing customers and service lane customers, but also outright buying cars from consumers, alas having a buy center.
Establishing and growing a high-profit used car buy center within your franchise dealership that acquires used cars from private sellers and moves them quickly through (retail) or off (wholesale) the lot is proving to be a competitive growth strategies for many dealers.
Internally sourced units save auction fees and transportation costs, an average gross savings of $600 to $800. These vehicles are typically newer with mileage lower than auction candidates and they don’t need as much reconditioning so they’re frontline ready faster. Simply put, buying from consumers is more profitable.
Why then are the majority of dealers reluctant or hesitant to go this route? If dealers are looking to grow market share and improve profitability, why do so many balk at a method or strategy proven to be more profitable?