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How leveraging data enhances the car buyer journey — Vanessa Ton & Jade Terreberry

Out of all the factors dictating the car buyer journey, the online and in-store experiences are the most important for dealerships to get right. But with the arrival of new technologies, strategies, and consumer preferences, it can be challenging to stay up to date on what vehicle shoppers are really looking for and how effectively the retail automotive industry is meeting those expectations.

On this episode of Driving Solutions, host Jim Fitzpatrick is joined by Jade Terreberry, senior director of strategic development at Cox Automotive’s Autotrader and Kelley Blue Book, and Vanessa Ton, senior manager of research and market intelligence at Cox Automotive. Together, Ton and Terreberry share findings from Cox Automotive’s 14th annual Car Buyer Journey study to help dealers and OEMs gain a deeper understanding of the current automotive market and how the consumer experience has evolved over the last year.

Key Takeaways

1. Ton highlights the importance of understanding consumer behavior and market trends as the industry shifts toward normalization in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic. She notes that certain channels in the car buyer journey have shown impressive resilience throughout the last several years.

2. Both Ton and Terreberry stress the critical role an elevated consumer experience plays in driving industry growth. To improve the car buyer journey, dealers must focus on personalization and sophistication to cater to the diverse needs of different customer segments.

3. Data-driven decision-making is more crucial than ever to effectively manage digital retailing in the retail automotive sector. Dealers and OEMs should leverage digital tools and data analytics to refine their marketing strategies, improve efficiency, and ultimately enhance the car buying experience.

4. Better infrastructure and development are needed to support the electric vehicle transition, tasks that OEMs are mostly responsible for. However, dealers must also understand and cater to the distinct preferences of electric car buyers if the market is to grow, underscoring the need for more data analysis and better awareness of consumer trends in the retail automotive sector.

5. Ton and Terreberry advise dealerships to prepare for future success by emphasizing forward-thinking strategies, taking advantage of market share opportunities, efficiently managing expenses, diversifying revenue streams, and continuously improving the car buying experience. Embracing digital transformation and e-commerce can also help dealerships future-proof their businesses as they advance through the automotive industry’s next stage of evolution.

"We also have to recognize that we are right on the verge of a buyer's market that we have not seen for a really long time. And so there is this necessity for us to have our dealers and our OEMs get back into the mindset of a push market, using all that data that they have at their fingertips to hone their skills and get good at some of the things that that they haven't had to do in a long time to sell cars. And a lot of that comes down to refining and improving the shopping and buying experience for consumers." — Jade Terreberry | Cox Automotive

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Colin Velez
Colin Velez
Colin Velez is a staff writer/reporter for CBT News. After obtaining his bachelor’s in Communication from Kennesaw State University in 2018, he kicked off his writing career by developing marketing and public relations material for various industries, including travel and fashion. Throughout the next four years, he developed a love for working with journalists and other content creators, and his passion eventually led him to his current position. Today, Colin writes news content and coordinates stories with auto-industry insiders and entrepreneurs throughout the U.S.

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