If your dealership has been hearing a lot about artificial intelligence, or AI, you’re in good company. The term crops up a lot, especially regarding self-driving cars or connectivity technology. But the truth is, AI has practical applications for your dealership marketing strategy today, and the possibilities increase every day as the technology continues to develop. So let’s get into some of the ways AI can improve your leads and sales today– and how it will revolutionize your future marketing strategy.
What is AI?
Artificial intelligence is a computer system designed to perform tasks usually done by humans. If that sounds like science fiction, think of the following incredibly common AI applications: Siri, or any personal assistant technology, uses AI. When Netflix suggests movies similar to ones you’ve watched, that’s AI. Rideshare services use AI to calculate price and match passengers. Chances are, AI already features into your routine– and a Pew research report predicts that by 2025, AI and robotics will impact almost every facet of daily life.
AI Applications for Dealerships Today
Auto dealerships today can already implement highly effective AI applications for lead generation and engagement on their websites:
- Targeting, and retargeting. With the help of AI, targeting places your ads in front of an interested audience. The technology tracks the interests of online shoppers, both before and after they visit your site, so that probable customers for your dealership are more likely to find out about it, both in searches and while browsing other sites.
- SEO. In addition to paid lead generation, a good SEO strategy can bring organic traffic to your dealership website. How? With AI, of course. Search engines use artificial intelligence to scan and comprehend websites in order to present them in the search results of interested customers. The more your dealership website is organized and designed with car shoppers’ questions in mind, the more relevant it becomes to users and the higher your SEO rankings will become.
- Smart popups. You don’t want every visitor to your website to see the same content and offers every time– instead, each shopper should see the sales, specials, videos, and photos that are most relevant to their preferences and buying stage. AI can provide this level of customization by monitoring your website visitors’ behaviors and using the data it collects to engage each customer with content they actually want, at a time they are likely to want it.
Taken all together, AI for marketing today enhances the dealership’s ability to provide a personalized shopping experience for customers– an ability that has become crucial given today’s shopper’s strong preference for customization. Dealerships that offer personalization will increase their leads and boost sales, like so many businesses across industries.
This focus on the personalized and relevant is the drive behind developing AI for dealerships. AI technology aims to eventually provide comprehensive personalization for car shoppers throughout the entire buying process: before, during, and after the sale.
Before the Sale
We know that customers do huge amounts of car research online, checking out everything from new vehicles to tech options to financing. Car shoppers, especially at early research stages, have a lot of questions, and often answer them online before calling or visiting your dealership. Even if customers wanted to turn to the dealership for preliminary questions, most sales and BDC teams lack sufficient time to answer. AI aims to engage shoppers on dealership websites long before the sale, answering their questions, educating them, showing them content they want to see, and building loyalty so that when they are ready, they will buy with your dealership.
During the Sale
Studies show that customers face many frustrations when it comes to the actual sales process: they want a faster, more convenient, more straightforward process– and AI can be the solution. By automating, customizing, and bringing the sale online to the furthest extent possible, AI can streamline and expedite what is arguably car shopping’s most tedious and exhausting step.
After the sale
AI can personalize follow-up after a customer makes a purchase at your dealership: it can remind buyers about upcoming service or maintenance, let them know about product updates or recalls, or educate them about the features of their new vehicle– all without taking the time of the dealership staff. It allows dealerships to keep in touch and keep top of mind– which brings customers back and increases revenue.
The future of AI for dealerships promises amazing convenience and service– and today’s available AI applications are a great start for generating more leads and providing a superior, personalized customer experience on your website. More customers, and happier customers, means more sales.
Devorah Wolf is the Content Marketing Manager at AutoLeadStar, a conversion optimization platform for the auto industry.