Dealership websites that track online shopping behavior
If you have purchased goods on Amazon.com recently, take a minute to go back to their website. Did you notice that it recognized who you were and even made recommendations for you to consider purchasing today?
If you book travel online, sites like Expedia and Travelocity are designed to use your shopping behavior to trigger special promotions and offers. Would it surprise you that travel sites mighty offer you a $20 a night room rate discount on the third visit to a particular hotels reservation page?
Personalization of website pages by online shopping behavior is common practice in the larger ecommerce industry so it begs the question, why should dealership website be a “one size fits all” design? Would conversion and engagement INCREASE if automotive web designers used online consumer shopper behavior and cookie data to personalize the shopping experience?
The answer is simply yes. A personalized website experience has proven to be effective in other verticals yet the automotive industry has just scratched the surface in personalization. The first vendor to knock personalization out of the park will gain significant market share.
Personalized Dealer Websites
TK Carsites a few years back introduced a website feature that changed the home page banner based on the search keywords used to land on the dealer’s home page. This feature was slick but the rest of the website shopping experience was “one size fits all”.
Today, the opportunities for personalization are endless. Let’s say a consumer visits a Chevrolet dealer’s website for the first time and clicks on the used car inventory search page. During their first visit the consumer searches exclusively for used Chevrolet Silverados. The consumer leaves the dealer’s website without submitting a lead or calling.
On this consumer’s second visit to the dealers website personalization could present a home page with three used Silverado’s featured and/or on sale. It could change the used car search page to default initially to display Silverados. Personalization could also change the home page banner to include a slide on new Silverado lease specials.
I use this simple example as a means to illustrate the potential of personalization. Of course consumers will search for a variety of used car models on a dealer’s website, but patterns can be distilled from the consumer’s click activity. If it is determined that the consumer is looking at cars under $13,000 then on a return visit, the dealership website can morph to showcase cars in that price range.
Taking personalization to the next level would be to integrate off-site consumer shopping behavior. Dataium introduced a data model that would capture consumer shopping data and search history that could be used by dealers and industry vendors to personalize CRM systems, website design, and engagement tools.
Dataium is not the only player in the market that has vital shopper data. VinSolutions for example, could be in a unique situation to benefit from consumer shopping behavior on KBB.com and Autotrader.com. I wrote about this potential back in September of 2011 on DealerRefresh.com: “Will Autotrader Build An Exclusive ZMOT Data Network?”
For example, a consumer searches for a used Ford F-150 on Autotrader.com and then decides to open another browser tab to visit the local ford dealer listed on the Autotrader.com Vehicle Detail Page (VDP). If this dealers was using a VinSolutions website, in the future the site might “morph” on the FIRST visit to showcase Ford F150 trucks on the home page, truck incentives, or trucks on sale.
This functionality does not exist today for VinSolutions customers but the potential is there based on VinSolutions being part of the Autotrader Companies. As an industry watcher and commentator, I see many exciting possibilities in the years ahead.
Another example would be Cobalt’s website platform leveraging shopping behavior on General Motors OEM websites. A consumer visiting www.Chevrolet.com and searching for information on the 2013 Chevrolet Impalas could be presented with a “Impala” morphed website when they visit a local dealer the following day that had the Cobalt platform. Again, this functionality on Cobalt websites is not publically available to dealers but could be a personalization outcome.
Personalization is the next big step for automotive retailing. After that would come better CRM integration with the shopper’s online search history. You get the idea, the degree of information that is available could dramatically improve the customer experience and I believe increase conversion.
Do you agree that personalization and data integration will be a game changer for the automotive retail website experience?