As millennials continue to flood the automotive retail landscape, the “traditional” customer has become anything but. Loyalty is scarce and purchasing habits have become somewhat unpredictable compared to older generations. To capture these fickle consumers, it’s absolutely essential that you find new ways of selling, servicing, and retaining the customers you already have and do it now because your competitors already are.
Let’s face it. Today’s shoppers expect to find the information they want, when they want it. There should be no exception when purchasing a car. Dealers must be able to provide the information consumers want, period. Gone are the days of withholding information until the customer steps foot in your dealership. If you cannot provide the information they are looking for, they will just move on to the next dealership with similar inventory that can give it to them. So how can you communicate with and engage your customers long enough that they choose you as their merchant of choice? The answer is data.
The value of leveraging big data to operate more efficiently and profitably has been well-documented in our industry and most others. Top-performing dealerships are focused on integrating their wealth of data to paint a more holistic picture of customer behavior. Ultimately, this shapes follow-up communications that are more relevant and meaningful.
Using integrated technologies enables information sharing. For example, website and CRM integration, such as DealerSocket’s CrossFire technology, allows dealers to identify website visitors in their CRM platform and vice versa. When a match is confirmed, the customer’s contact and device information is updated and logged across all solutions in your technology platform. This creates a seamless flow of information that drives profitability across departments.
As a result, you can track customer and prospect behavior more efficiently during website visits to find out what they’re most interested in. For example, you’ll have access to:
- Total number of website visits
- Number of leads submitted
- Source of visit(s)
- Pages viewed per visit; which pages were viewed
- Date and time of last visit
- Date and time of last lead submitted
- Vehicle interests
Sharing this type of information streamlines the car buying process. Your customers and prospects receive only the most relevant and timely information, guiding them, ultimately, to a closed sale.
If a customer is tagged as recently “sold” in your CRM, he/she probably won’t buy a car from you in the near future, but there could be a chance to build a loyal, profitable service relationship by offering an incentive. If a customer is tagged as “open” or “lost” and recently looked at a particular vehicle on your site, you’ll be better prepared to follow-up with available inventory, incentives, and opportunities for a trade that benefits both sides.
This year, focus on learning how to best use data to your advantage. Your technology partner should play an integral role in educating you and your team about to create bulletproof processes, drive profitability across all areas of your business, and create long-term relationships with your customers.
Aaron is DealerSocket’s director of product management and one of the automotive retail industry’s go-to resources for strategic guidance pertaining to SEO and SEM, as well as digital analytics and dealership website design. Currently, he leads development and implementation of the organization’s product strategy for all digital and web solutions; he also manages integrations for DealerSocket’s automotive technology platform, helping dealers drive profitability across all aspects of their business. Aaron holds a degree in marketing and advertising from the University of Northern Iowa and holds Google AdWords and Google Analytics certifications.