Live Chat Revs Up Automotive Marketing in 2024

Live Chat Revs Up Automotive Marketing in 2024

Discover strategic shifts, like prioritizing digital marketing with live chat, to engage customers effectively and drive sales.

For many auto dealers, 2024 is shaping up to be a challenging year. According to Cox Automotive, the new vehicle inventory supply is near its highest point since June 2020. At the same time, dealers are seeing triple-digit increases in floor plan expenses, mainly due to increased interest rates, according to Auto Finance News.

Although the 2024 market outlook remains positive with an estimated 15.4 million SAAR, per-unit profits have declined 31 percent since February 2023, according to J.D. Power. Meanwhile, manufacturer incentive spending continues to rise, as does competition between retailers to attract buyers to showrooms.

Ramping up Marketing

Dealers are shifting strategies to address these challenges. Once again, belts are being tightened in some areas while spending in other areas, such as marketing, is rising out of necessity. According to Think with Google, 92% of car buyers begin their shopping journey online, so it makes sense for dealers to focus their efforts on digital marketing.

As more dollars are allocated towards driving traffic to websites, it’s critical to understand the importance of keeping customers on the website once they are there. The ability to drive someone to a website is one thing, but keeping that person engaged and guiding them down the purchase funnel is like the elusive pot at the end of a rainbow that delivers gold to those who find it.

The secret lies in first impressions. When prospects click on campaign links and arrive at your digital storefront, how are they being greeted? If a car shopper shows up on your lot and is not greeted by anyone, that person probably won’t stay long. Dealers have long understood the importance of frontline staff in customer engagement and satisfaction. Yet, many dealers fail to extend the same courtesy online.

Online Greeters for the Gold

With live chat messaging, every online shopper is greeted by a friendly and knowledgeable agent. Unlike canned responses from automated chat tools, responses from human agents are both relevant and valuable, keeping shoppers engaged and on your website for longer.

In addition to greeting customers, live chat agents are trained to help car shoppers with online research and guide them through your dealership’s online purchasing process. Most significantly, a chat agent’s goal is to answer a prospect’s questions to make the person more likely to schedule an appointment.

Live chat agents remind visitors about your dealership’s unique value propositions and deliver a streamlined, convenient experience that results in higher set appointment rates. Ultimately, isn’t that the goal of every digital marketing campaign?

Live online chat gathers higher-valued leads and behavioral insight and maximizes returns on every marketing dollar spent.

Opportunities in Fixed Ops

A bright spot for auto dealers in 2024 is the fixed ops department. Consumers are holding onto their cars for longer, creating plenty of opportunities for dealers to capture customer-pay service business. However, in 2023, dealerships lost service market share, according to a Cox Automotive survey. The primary reason given by respondents who didn’t visit dealerships was “trust.”

Opening a direct line of communication between a dealership and its customers is an ideal way to overcome the trust obstacle. Just as customers seek guidance during the sales process, they appreciate assistance when scheduling maintenance or repairs. By offering a fully equipped online messaging platform for service, dealerships can build trust, improve satisfaction and increase retention.

In 2024, embracing live chat messaging isn’t just a strategic move; it’s a necessity. When every interaction matters, you can ramp up your dealership’s marketing efforts by offering personal guidance and a friendly, convenient experience on your digital storefront. Live online chat is an effective tool for differentiating your dealership from the competition and driving results in both sales and fixed ops.

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