It is a common misconception among dealers that once a customer has purchased a vehicle, they will remain a loyal customer for the rest of their life. So instead of focusing time and energy on retention, dealers spend most of their dollars hunting for new leads.
Yet the average dealership’s retention rate is only 49 percent. While there will always be a place for conquest in the automotive industry, focusing too heavily on lead generation at the expense of customer retention comes at a high price. Research shows it costs between five to 25 times more to obtain new customers than to retain existing ones.
The average dealership will have 54 interactions with a customer over the course of a single vehicle ownership. Each interaction is an occasion to build a relationship and maximize future sales (and service) opportunities. This can be accomplished by sending individualized, relevant content to the consumer at the right time.
How can a dealership accomplish this sort of individualization short of asking their staff to write a tailored message to each individual in their database? Marketing automation.
Marketing automation software provides a greater degree of personalization and automated sending, while simultaneously letting consumers choose the types of content they receive.
This is a key element of retention; today’s consumer does not want to feel as though they are being sent a canned message or a pre-recorded response.
By utilizing a marketing automation tool, dealerships hold the power to connect with individuals through email retention at critical moments in their buyer lifecycle. Dealers can show they care about their customers’ needs by delivering a relevant message personalized just for them.
In the age of Netflix and Amazon.com, consumers are savvy and expect you to know them. Email retention programs are built to keep an eye on the customer journey and maximize your presence in places where people might change course and consider competitors. Establishing a dynamic, automated program can give dealers a competitive advantage that blasting generic emails out of a CRM simply cannot.
An automated email retention program can provide a transparent shopping experience for your customers and a more informed process for your dealership. Shoppers are not inundated with messaging that isn’t relevant to them, and dealers can be tipped off when consumers may be back in market and even alerted to what they may be shopping for.
Forty-eight percent of consumers subscribe to permission-based messaging to keep informed about their favorite brands and to help them make savvy purchasing decisions5. Consumers know their data is out there and understand that most retailers will use that information for their benefit.
Using marketing automation tools that utilize artificial intelligence, such as machine learning, gives dealers the ability to communicate with everyone in their database with individualized messages based on their unique interest and shopping behavior. Machine learning models are designed to automate, target, and personalize marketing initiatives dynamically, and can therefore accurately match communications to the various consumer phases, including when a previous customer may be ready to buy again.
Sixty-two percent of car owners say communication with the dealership throughout their owner life-cycle directly influences their next purchase. Increasingly, automotive industry leaders are utilizing automated email retention programs to give their dealerships a competitive advantage.