If you’re like most shoppers today, you are surrounded by technology. You probably have a smartphone, a tablet and a digital assistant. You use the internet to do everything from watch movies to pay your bills to shop for groceries. And when it comes to big purchases, you have the ability to do a tremendous amount of research right at your fingertips.
Shoppers of all ages and demographics are taking advantage of this explosive access to knowledge, but millennials in particular have embraced this type of shopping, to the point of avoiding interaction with representatives. In fact, according to one study, 34 percent of millennials would rather have their teeth cleaned, and 26 percent would rather go to the DMV than call customer service. And why should they? Getting information online is so much more efficient.
What does this mean for your dealership? First and foremost, you have to be super knowledgeable. Your shoppers arrive at your store more educated than ever before. They do more than half of the car shopping process online, researching on your website and social media, checking out Google reviews and third-party sites, gathering information and refining their choices. So when they finally meet you in person, they’re not typically looking for an inventory tour or basic information. They need answers to their specific questions. And they expect you to have them.
But there’s a second outcome for your dealership: your dealership’s access to data — and the technology to use it — can help you beat the competition. If your dealership makes the effort to use data to your greatest advantage, you can set yourself apart.
Here are three ways to stand out:
Leverage the Data
Is your dealership utilizing big data? Big data can provide your dealership with crucial market insight and industry data, such as which vehicles perform best in certain regions at certain times. This type of knowledge can inform your marketing strategy, both for specific seasons and on a more general level.
Access to data also means your dealership can understand behavioral and demographic data. With the machine learning and predictive analytics tools, your dealership will be able to track when a shopper is in-market and determine the best way to approach them with relevant help and information. Data also helps your store segment customer lists for outstanding targeting. With access to all this information, dealerships can personalize their digital customer service, meeting savvy customers’ needs without even speaking to them in person.
Master New Technology
The car buyer is about to make a huge purchase, so they do their research — and learn all about the latest technology. That’s why your dealership staff needs expertise in the latest technology as well. A customer who asks you about something specific expects you to know the answer, and will not be impressed by a salesperson that is less knowledgeable than they are. That means your entire team should be up-to-date. Your dealership can promote this growth and knowledge by conducting training sessions and circulating office emails explaining the important new technologies hitting the industry.
Get to Know Your Shoppers: On and Offline
It is clear that your customers are using data to learn. Similarly, to provide customers with the answers they need when they arrive at your store, your dealership needs to learn about them. How? By using the best website and artificial intelligence tools to provide a highly personalized customer experience.
Online, AI machine learning and predictive analytics tools can show each visitor the content and information most suited to their needs and most likely to move them down the sales funnel. If all of this data is correctly transferred to your CRM, you can continue this process offline. Your CRM should always let you know what pages customers visited, for how long, and where they decided to fill out a form. The more knowledge, the more your team can create the ultimate personalized buying process for each shopper from lead follow-up to in-store visit.
When your dealership masters and utilizes the information accessible to you — whether in terms of industry knowledge, technology updates or lead details — you go far beyond enhancing your own knowledge: you can map better strategies, provide a better customer experience and reach more shoppers. Ultimately, becoming a data expert means selling more cars.