How Automotive Marketers Can Fuel Online Car Shopping

Aug 1, 2019

With 92% of car buyers researching online before buying a car, it’s no wonder that the automotive industry is looking to transform their online sales. From fashion and beauty to home and tech, all the way down to groceries, more and more consumer goods can be purchased online with just a few clicks. The real question is – could the automotive industry move in this direction too?

The automotive business has traditionally been a brick-and-mortar industry, where customers pay a visit to the dealership, sit down with a car salesman, see their potential car in-person, and take a test drive around the block. For the automotive industry to shift to digital channels, marketers need to ensure they’re implementing online initiatives that effectively engage their customers.

Real-Time Personalization 

Marketers can leverage first-party data regarding customer preferences and product searches to deliver a customer experience that’s personalized in real time. For the automotive industry, personalization could be vital for customers to feel like they are getting the same one-on-one experience online they would get at a traditional dealership.

Automotive marketers need to be responsive to what customers are clicking on as they are scanning the dealer or manufacturer website. With first-party data, marketers can provide product offers and recommendations based on the similar interests of other customers. Studies show that 63% of customers express interest in personalized recommendations, so this is exactly the type of experience customers want and could potentially expect in this type of industry. Automotive marketers also need to make sure that personalization is consistent across all channels and touchpoints to ensure a seamless customer journey.

Support Cross-Channel Touchpoints

Automotive customers are undoubtedly jumping from touchpoint to touchpoint during the car buying process. About 42% of car buyers search inventory on the dealership website as a result of watching online videos, and about 84% of car buyers are on Facebook. With the range of consumer touchpoints available, it’s critical that automotive marketers leverage identity resolution (IDR) to recognize each customer as the same individual across channels and ensure consistency throughout the customer journey.

For instance, a customer may look at a car online and then suddenly leave the website. To draw the customer back to the site, marketers can leverage their first-party data into which car the customer was looking at and target that customer with a display ad offering a test drive with that specific car. This personalized approach that weaves together the omnichannel customer journey can effectively re-engage the customer and pull them back to their path to purchase – a successful remarketing effort.

Dynamic Remarketing

Remarketing is crucial in keeping customers engaged and drawing them back to visit their products of interest. If a customer spends hours doing research on a specific car, but then proceeds to leave the page without converting, marketers need to jump on the opportunity to remind customers of their initial inquiries. Essentially, it’s the automotive marketer’s job to drive conversions that already have fuel behind them.

Due to the specificity of one’s car preferences, remarketing can be the perfect opportunity to engage customers with an array of similar options that they may not be aware of. Automotive marketers need to leverage their first-party data here to suggest similar cars based on the customer’s previous searches, as well as other customer searches that mirror their own. By re-engaging customers with personalized, data-driven offers, automotive marketers can keep customers’ attention online and encourage subsequent conversions.

If the automotive industry wants to see success in their online business, automotive marketers need to focus on keeping the customer journey seamless and engaging. Implementing Customer Intelligence into their digital marketing strategy enables marketers to pinpoint their customers’ needs, while also giving customers the personal experience they would get at a traditional brick-and-mortar dealership. The IgnitionOne Customer Intelligence Platform facilitates real-time personalization, seamless cross-channel touchpoints, and the dynamic remarketing capabilities that automotive marketers should focus on.

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