Artificial intelligence (AI) presents exciting opportunities for growth and improved efficiency, especially in the retail automotive sector, where the ability to rapidly process data has become key. Unfortunately, the technology can also create more problems than it solves if applied incorrectly, making it essential that car dealers choose the right technology partners.
On this episode of Driving Solutions, host Jim Fitzpatrick is joined by Devin Daly, co-founder and CEO of Impel, a firm designing AI-powered tools for the automotive sector. For years, Daly has helped develop crucial tech solutions for retailers and manufacturers alike, overcoming massive pain points facing both sellers and buyers. Now, he discusses the common pitfalls of current machine-learning platforms and the steps dealers can take to maximize their return on investments in regard to AI.
1. In a relatively short amount of time, AI has made many positive impacts on the retail automotive sector. Daly explains that AI tools help reduce organizational drag by automating certain labor-intensive tasks. This results in greater productivity, improved efficiency, higher employee satisfaction, and better customer service.
2. While popular AI platforms present multiple opportunities, they can also result in negative consequences if used without care. For example, if one were to write a store description using ChatGPT to appear on Google, the tool is likely to get many facts wrong without the proper input. Daly notes that ChatGPT is not intended to produce results for businesses but rather to provide natural-sounding conversation.
3. Impel’s AI platform was created using a blend of large language models, is trained on automotive data, and integrates with current dealership systems. This offers fewer limitations, increased accuracy, and more functionality for car business professionals compared to tools designed for other purposes.
4. To protect against poor outcomes, Impel has implemented an optimization layer into its platform that helps verify answers to user inputs and prevents “hallucinations,” patterns created through misinterpretations of data during the machine learning process that can lead AI tools to make mistakes.
5. Dealers must choose their tools carefully to take full advantage of the benefits offered by AI. Using platforms intended for general use or with a high likelihood of generating inaccurate responses can create more problems than they solve, putting additional pressure on employees who must comb through AI-generated content for errors. On the other hand, industry-specific algorithms, such as Impel’s system, that use safeguards to prevent inaccuracies are a much better option for improving efficiency and functionality.
6. Using customer data platforms (CDP) in conjunction with AI poses additional benefits for both car dealers and manufacturers. Daly notes that CDPs often struggle to generate actionable insights on their own, leaving businesses to conduct most of the analytical process. AI platforms, however, can not only analyze data to deliver deeper insights but can also feed information back into the CDP, supplying additional context to the consumer data stored online.
7. Impel is working on features that will help more dealers and manufacturers integrate with CDPs. The company is also looking to help dealers handle the entire customer life cycle more efficiently through AI, with tools that maximize leads by filtering out customers with a low likelihood of conversion or recommend F&I products to buyers after their purchase.
To learn more about Impel’s strategy to improve the car buying experience through AI, visit their website or catch them at booth #4655W at the 2024 NADA Show.
"Really, what AI is all about is offloading the menial, repetitive tasks that a human is typically required to do and offloading that to a machine to reduce organizational drag. That results in greater productivity and efficiency of dealership staff, and really a better customer experience, which results in business growth and higher profitability." — Devin Daly