Cars.com recently launched a new A.I. powered technology called Hot Car. To learn more, CBT News is joined by Tony Zolla, Chief Product Officer at Cars.com. He shares on how the company has been investing heavily in artificial intelligence with goals to both enhance consumer experience and provide dramatically improved insights for dealers to help them manage their business.
These advancements in technology help to solve complex problems and build products that are more accurate and predictive. Hot Car uses a proprietary machine learning algorithm from Cars.com to identify which vehicles are most likely to sell quickly, based on car make and model, geographic demand, time on lot, pricing and consumer shopping behaviors. Zolla believes that A.I will have a huge influence on the Automotive industry telling CBT News, “It will help drive efficiencies and intelligence into the car shopping experience for both buyers and sellers.”
Are you wondering how a technology-based algorithm can help both the consumers and sellers at the same time? We were too, Zolla gladly continues to explain. “The algorithm can accurately predict which cars are more likely to sell.” He says, “We then take that inventory and merchandise it separately by putting a badge on it that signals it’s a Hot Car.”
The “Hot Car” sticker strikes a match of urgency within the consumer as most shoppers do not want to miss out on the item or price they desire and gives them a platform that ensures they don’t miss a good car deal. At the same time, it also benefits the dealer by providing a higher level of engagement and lead conversion.
Dealers who have used Hot Car have seen a double-digit increase in engagement and lead conversion when utilizing Cars.com Hot Car technology. In fact, results show that their algorithm is more effective when used on a mobile device. This happens to be a convenient plus for everyone as we steadily see the automotive retail industry shift its platforms to reach the consumers where they are.
One thing that will not be replaced is the industry’s need for sales employees and dealership staff. He addresses how even though A.I. is an exciting time for the industry it has also instilled a lot of fear and doubt in many dealership professionals. Zolla feels like there is no need to worry about people being replaced by machines. In fact, he does not see it happening at all. He tells CBT Network, “One of the core beliefs at Cars.com is that human connections matter.” This is why it was important for the company to create a program that is more of an enabler than something that replaces the human connection.”