Over the last year, the auto industry has had to practically overhaul strategy and accelerate retail innovation to meet fast-paced changes in consumer expectations. How OEMs and dealers craft and model the customer experience is transforming—from the moment when a customer starts looking for a new vehicle, shopping, test-driving, sale and every digital and in-person interaction in between.
Pickup, delivery and curbside service are all aspects we’ve become accustomed to these days for groceries or take-out, but now, these are the same things customers are wanting when purchasing their next vehicle too.
Epsilon’s business is centered on understanding consumers and these preferences through data. Behaviors and buying habits have changed a lot over the last 18 months, but to be completely fair, we’ve seen disruption in nearly every aspect of the automotive industry in the past few years:
- How people buy cars (there are 900+ digital interactions for every car purchased)
- Expectations of the dealership experience
- The sweeping transition to electric vehicles (EVs)—impacting not only what car someone chooses to purchase but also how that impacts our infrastructure
- An increasingly digital consumer; 72% of research around car purchases are done on a mobile device (Source: Google).
Thankfully, there is a tremendous amount of consumer data available today that can inform innovation and customer experience strategy. However, understanding these changes through data is only half the battle; making that data actionable in order to drive growth, revenue and loyalty is the other half.
Consider these recommendations when thinking about how to best improve customer experience across automotive marketing:
Keep up with the shifting pace of digital marketing
U.S. adults spent 13:38 hours per day online with media in 2020. Nearly 8 hours of that was spent with digital media. 63% of folks discover their dealership online as car shopping research heavily. And, by 2022, digital media will account for 60% of total US media time.
That’s a lot of time with digital media, especially knowing that 95% of vehicle buyers use online channels as a primary source of information.
If you’re not on the road to true digital transformation—especially with many currently available advertising identifiers going away—then you’re likely going to be at a major disadvantage. You can’t win at the dealership if you’re not first winning online.
Make EVERY consumer interaction personal
We need to treat customers as individuals and help them on whichever journey they want to take, but can you do that without first knowing who they really are?
Think about this: If you knew that a customer walking into your dealership for service has been searching for competing cars online, that would change the entire dialogue. And that’s just one example of how you can optimize the customer experience—and make better business decisions—with the right data.
That information is available, and there are solutions today that can support connected identity. This view of the consumer journey is not only possible; it’s automated and necessary in today’s landscape. Consumers hold all the cards, and they are telling us that they want an informed two-way dialogue—one where their favorite brands actually remember their past conversations and can anticipate what that person may need next.
Ensure personalization is at the center of the customer experience
Loyalty and repeat business are the rewards of knowing your customers well and treating them like royalty. 80% of people in the market for a new car are more likely to buy one when the experience at the dealership is highly personalized—so make the changes to make sure you’re doing just that.
It’s time to take best practices from the showroom floor and apply them to the ENTIRE customer experience. Epsilon can help auto brands – from the OEMS to the dealers – deliver their best customer experience. Learn more about how we work with the automotive sector here.
**Content from this blog is from CX AUTO 2021