To state the obvious, We live in a digital world. And digitalisation has changed the way consumers buy cars. Whether it’s a new car, a pre-owned car or parts for a repair, the vast majority of consumers start their buying journey online.
This means that before a consumer steps one foot inside your showroom, they’ve already done their research online and have formulated an opinion on the make, model and specs of the car they want.
So it goes without saying that if you do not connect with consumers on your website and engage them throughout the research stage of their buying journey, you’re likely to lose out on potential customers.
What challenges do automotive companies face?
1. Continuous lead generation
Unlike ecommerce, SaaS and many other industries, dealerships don’t enjoy the luxury of relying on returning customers.
Why? Because buying a car isn’t like buying trainers.
It’s not a regular purchase and car buyers can often spend anywhere from weeks to months researching and deciding on which car to buy. As a result ensuring a constant supply of leads coming into your dealership is vital in the survival of your business and finding ways to stand out in a noisy market is key.
2. Customer loyalty is becoming increasingly challenging
The automotive industry is highly competitive.
That might be an understatement 😅.
And like you, everyone wants an increased market share and customer loyalty. Thanks to the internet, consumer choices are no longer limited to their immediate geographic area. This has made the competition fiercer.
And with numerous websites nowadays allowing buyers to compare costs, benefits and features across dealers, Customer loyalty is becoming a difficult goal to achieve.
3. A lack of personalisation
No two users are the same. And an increase in the variety of traffic sources highlights just how drastically the way buyers discover and interact with your brands has changed.
To win in today’s consumer world, dealers need to go beyond the standard practice of merely having an online showroom. You need to study the behaviour of your buyers (how they discover your brand, their device and communication channel of choice, the specific cars they’re looking for, etc) and accordingly engage them in real-time by asking questions or solving their queries.
The key being not to just be available but to interact with the right message at the right time via the right channel.
Why messaging is the key to your dealership’s success
Messaging addresses the issues listed above that you might be facing as a dealer.
Being real-time and available around-the-clock thanks to AI, messaging ensures that car buyers are catered to, anytime and anywhere, and engaged before you lose them to the competition.
1. Increased lead volumes
Dealers spend a huge amount of their marketing budget to direct visitors to their website and generate leads. I’m sure you know all too well. However, not many visits result in a lead. The average dealer’s website converts only 2-5% of its visitors. One reason for this is the lack of real-time interaction on websites.
Messaging helps you increase your website’s conversion rates and significantly reduce bounce rates. And with the personalised touch you can guarantee an increased possibility of a purchase and a higher level of customer experience.
2. Be there when your customers want you
The ‘always-on’ consumers today don’t have the time or patience to connect with dealerships via phone calls or by visiting them personally. Likewise, it is not possible for businesses to attend to every customer query promptly and be constantly available via traditional methods.
Messaging enables businesses to aid prospects around-the-clock.
And as purchasing a car is an important decision, buyers could need assistance regardless of the time of the day. With messaging you can connect with consumers and answer their queries in real time – just the way they expect.
3. Personalised buying experiences
Driving traffic to a great website is pointless if there is no human touch.
Live chat not only allows for around-the-clock interaction but also ensures a personalised touch for every buyer. With conversational experiences, dealers get a better understanding of their visitors and how best they can cater to their needs.
This allows consumers to ask specific questions and have them answered immediately, leaving no room for misunderstanding or friction. Making potential buyers feel valued and served increases engagement drastically. Which, in turn, helps in building customer loyalty.
The Albert Heijn move that dealers should follow
Heard of Albert Heijn? They’re Netherland’s largest supermarket chain.
Now I know what you’re thinking…. “What does a supermarket have to do with automotive messaging?”
Well, like most consumer brands, Albert Heijn keeps an ear to the ground when it comes to consumer trends. So when they realised that more and more buyers are opting for messaging over traditional channels like phone and email, Albert Heijn completely restructured their communication channels with messaging making up 80% of all customer interactions. A complete 180 from how customer communications at Albert Heijn looked just 24 months prior.
Their team was able to save time and better utilise resources, scale interactions without inflating staff costs, improve customer satisfaction metrics and continue to grow market share.
Today’s customers demand more from your dealership than they did in the past. And to future proof your organisation, going conversational isn’t just a recommendation but a must-have.
At Web1on1 we have a team of conversational specialists that can guide you on your journey to becoming a conversational dealership.