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Car-Buying Has Changed. Here’s Why You Should Too.

For decades, the process of buying a car remained the same. Things didn’t change much even with technological advancements like the internet, which gave car-buyers access to more information. The industry was ripe for disruption.

The New Normal 

2012 saw a shift in the traditional process with the introduction of Carvana, which made it easier and more fun for consumers to buy cars. Soon, other companies, such as Tesla started to follow suit with innovative solutions to what was once considered an unexciting experience. 

We have now entered a new age of innovation, imagination, and ideas. If you feel like technology is changing faster than it ever has before, you’re right. Technology advancements are increasing exponentially. That’s why it’s so important to stay ahead of the curve and keep up with changing expectations. 

Every industry is being faced with a drastically different future – one that anticipates your needs before you even know what you want. We believe the future is smart, personalized, and efficient. 

The good news for dealers is that customers still need them. Much of the process has continued to stay “offline.” Things like test drives and servicing remain crucial in the buying journey. However, the key to success in this mixed environment  is a modern dealership that combines new technologies with strong support for the sales and service departments.

So, how do you transform your strategies to win over today’s consumer? 

Keep The Customer First

Changes in customer behavior have triggered improved sales processes across many industries. Personalization is the term everyone has been using the past few years. Companies that use personalization aim to make the buying stages more “human.”

It’s vital to get to the fundamental wants and needs of your customers in order to satisfy them. You can use behavioral data to find where the most value lies. Then, try to understand the journey. For example, a clothing retailer can see the process from the first website visit all the way to in-store and online purchases. If done right, personalization can increase customer engagement and loyalty.

Personalization presents a huge opportunity for new value. The key is in sending prospective customers relevant and timely messages.

This is made possible through an infrastructure that both supports and quickly adapts to customer feedback. Send a strategic, well-timed message to a prospect and you’ve won a loyal customer, but send a thoughtless one and you’ve alienated a customer forever. 

Some teams will rely on advanced analytics to provide personalized service. AI-powered technologies can help with delivering tailored recommendations, experiences, content, and offers.

Invest in the Right Tools

According to a Cox Automotive study published last year, 63% of dealers agree automation and/or AI is necessary to adapt to the changing dealership pressures. Across the board, leaders in the auto industry believe personalization technology will benefit them and their customers.

The right technology can mean a world of difference to your day-to-day tasks. This new world of digital disruption requires the auto industry to rethink the way they do business. The goal is to not only engage the customer at every step of the sales funnel, but to exceed their expectations as well. 

It’s difficult to know what combination of products will be the right fit for you and your team. 

There are several things to consider:

Cost of implementation

We’re not just talking about money here. Yes, you want to consider your budget, but more than that, consider the time it will take to onboard your team. We recommend working with a company that offers fast and reliable support.

Here’s another helpful hint: Find your champion.

Champions take on a new technology and help the rest of the organization follow suit. They help support leadership in their mission to implement new tools. The presence of a champion is very important to the success of a new product. You should find someone who has technical competence, knowledge about the company, and has the drive to help support the technology adoption. 

Business fit

You have to consider how the new technology will fit into your organization. Will it help you grow? Does it fit the needs of your customers? Look for a long-term partner who will meet your needs and grow with you. 

Avoid things that require a complex setup. Keep it simple if you want to avoid headaches and stress among your team. One technology might perfectly fit your needs, but require intense training and time investment.

Identify your most important goals and use these to guide what tools you need. 

Have a Multi-Channel Approach

Timing is key to winning over a customer. Your company needs to be at the right place and at the right time for a sale to happen.

One of the most important things to remember is that people are researching cars when your doors are closed. In-market buyers are looking for information on cars at all hours of the day, outside of the traditional 9 am to 5 pm.

An omni-channel approach engages buyers before they even visit your website. The modern day car-buying journey begins with one of several different digital channels, then progresses to visits to the dealership, and ultimately ends at the purchase.

It also helps dealers and OEMs to stay engaged with the customer after the sale. There are endless opportunities when it comes to personalized communication and offers. A constant data pipeline paired with increased engagement can create a customer for life.

Achieve your vision

Growing customer expectations and demands require you to adapt quickly and efficiently. The relationship between the buyer and seller has never been more important in today’s digital age. If you’re looking for a way to engage with your customers before and after their purchase, visit FunnelAI.com. You can find and connect with in-market buyers, while remaining customer-driven in your strategy.

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