I can’t stress enough the importance of a clean, up-to-date marketing database. Data inaccuracy harms your efficiency and effectiveness and makes you look like an amateur– no trait any potential customer is looking for.
This problem isn’t unique to dealerships, but as other industries adapt and change with consumer expectations, automotive retailers are falling behind.
Adapt and Attract
Take online retail, for example. Amazon adapted to contemporary consumer expectations of convenience and transparency by offering all the info a customer might want on one page: customer reviews, costs and discounts, product details and images, and more. By offering this information upfront, customers don’t need to leave the site to learn about the product.
What does that mean for your dealership? Within your dealership management system (DMS) and customer relationship management system (CRM), your customer and vehicle information are continuously updated. That information should be unified so it is the same no matter where you or your customer access it. As a simple example, your digital ads (Google, Facebook, etc.) should showcase exactly what’s on the lot.
Additionally, leverage that unified information by allowing customers to create a profile or account on your website to customize their experience. You can suggest recommended vehicles or services (think Amazon’s “additional items you might like” feature) while echoing messaging you’ve delivered via other channels, keeping your brand presentation consistent.
However, just having a firm foundation to work from is barely scratching the surface of what accurate data means for your business. It’s possible, via predictive analytics, to take a proactive approach and create brand-new revenue opportunities.
Consider the well-known case from several years ago in which Target inadvertently outed a pregnant teenager to her parents with marketing derived from her buying history.
This is an unfortunate (for her) but effective example. Target was able to identify a potential buyer based on past behavior, using predictive analytics to correlate hundreds of more variables than any one person ever could. In short, that’s the power to nudge potential buyers in the right direction before they even know they’re in-market.
For your dealership, predictive analytics helps you identify customer needs before even they are aware of them, disrupting the usual buying cycle to put customers back into the sales funnel quicker and keep your dealership top of mind.
Of course, much of this hinges on your ability to engage and convert at a meaningful rate online. Walmart and other retail giants often achieve conversion rates of over 40 percent thanks to their mobile-first web mentality and their strength in transitioning customers from online to in-store.
To that effect, here are a few best practices to keep in mind:
- Always optimize for mobile, both to maximize your Google search result ranking and to capture customers using their phones.
- Keep customers engaged on your website, such as with prepopulated lead forms and relevant content.
- Keep in mind that, in an age where customers visit the minimum number of dealerships possible to buy their vehicle, your job is to stand out from the competition by offering something unique, advertising it clearly and effectively, and meeting customer needs.
Clean up Your Data – Then Act on What It’s Telling You
Maintaining clean and accurate data puts your dealership in a great position to succeed day in and day out, from meeting customer expectations to creating brand-new revenue opportunities by implementing predictive analytics.
Back this strategy up with engaging web optimization choices to make sure you can convert those potential customers you do attract, and you’ll have built an operation that competes aggressively for every last revenue opportunity.14
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