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How to Connect Your Plan to the Future of eCommerce
Nov 7, 2023
The Autotrader Team
While many dealerships work hard to reach shoppers, there are three compounding challenges that leave profitability in a dangerous place.
But when you know what the gaps causing potential problems are, as well as how to bridge them in today’s times, you’ll be able to plan both around and for them as you work towards building a solid foundation for how you’ll do business with the future of eCommerce.
The Main Gaps
It’s not always easy seeing gaps in your business and strategy, but most profitability gaps in the eCommerce landscape fall into one of these two categories:
Disconnected Solutions: Complex and misunderstood digital solutions need to be connected to truly unlock their full power. When this isn’t done right, you’re only getting a fraction of their intended impact and intended use, making it near impossible to personalize your marketing and experience.
Data Insights and Actions: We all want, need and use data to make critical decisions about marketing and our business – but it’s important to remember data is just numbers. Often times insights are not used to their full potential and aren’t activated, which severely limits your ability to effectively engage and convert shoppers into buyers.
When you connect both your data and your digital solutions, you can ultimately build a better shopping-to-buying journey and overall experience for both the consumer and your internal organization. And with consumers continuing to show that what matters most to them is a seamless, personalized experience, it’s time for dealers to plan for a more connected future in order to meet that demand.
Disconnections in personalization, data, and solutionsare leaving money and opportunities on the table.
The strategy behind bridging the gap and changing how you do business online refers to connecting your data and solutions to your consumer experience is to build that seamless, personalized journey we mentioned consumers wanting above. And the good news is once you learn how to do this, the end results are immediately measurable – your dealership should be able to see improvements in ROI in your marketing spend, higher customer satisfaction and CSI scores, and overall profitability.
Connecting the Dots: Keep the deal moving
In order to keep the deal moving, and help consumers connect the dots that hopefully lead them to you, dealers must plan and strategize for a connected eCommerce experience. Especially as it relates to their online to in-store experience.
As dealers, like you, move more of the automotive buying experience online, it’s important to keep the deal moving—even as consumers move from online, to offline, and back online again. Each time there’s a transition in the deal, there’s an opportunity for your customer to be captured by your competitor. And there’s an equal opportunity for you to capture what should be your competitor’s consumer if they’re not providing a personalized frictionless experience.
If a consumer experiences disconnection during the deal, they are likely to completely stop the deal. Bottom line: If your digital solutions are disconnected, and your data doesn’t sync, you won’t build the seamless shopping experience necessary to succeed in today’s times.
However, a transition in the deal also represents an opportunity to secure the deal.
Stay on Track with the Following Strategies
Consumers have come to expect personalization, especially in our highly targeted online world. It’s what builds, or breaks down, trust. And it’s what will capture their attention in a crowded and noisy online space – someone that knows who they are and what they want.
Personalized experiences are a part of everything modern consumers do. During the pandemic businesses had to raise the bar to connect with consumers virtually – and it drove significant change in nearly every industry. The automotive industry is no exception.
The bar was set high. And as we all know and have experienced ourselves… once the bar has been set high, there’s no lowering it. Each and every time a consumer has an interaction with you either online or in-person they have an expectation of it being better than the last. Connected data and solutions can help you meet that demand and continue to have the ability to raise the bar.
Connect Solutions to Your Marketing Strategy: Make sure your messaging meets the right people, at the right time with connected digital technology solutions. Now take that a step further and make sure it’s done in the right way!
Your dealership either thrives or struggles with data. At its core, the information that comes from your consumer data platforms isn’t useful just in itself, it’s what you DO with your data that matters. How you read and interpret it.
An important question to ask yourself is what solutions do you have that turn your data and insights into actions? Once you get those actions, how are they enacted on? Gaining these behavioral insights will supercharge your data into understanding and having the ability to market with focus on:
Who’s your shopper?
What are they interested in?
How likely are they to buy?
What is their budget?
This information should inform your online messaging, empower your sales team for in-person interactions, and build a personal and relevant experience for potential and existing customers.
Plan to Increase AI
The connected experience goes way beyond traditional, and even non-traditional, car buying. Efficiency for the dealership depends on your ability to build trust and transparency through data-based decisions.
While digesting insights via multiple data sets grows more and more complex, the role of Artificial Intelligence (AI) is becoming more promising. AI can help you connect the most important behavioral insights to the needs of your sales team. This will not only help your sales team take more targeted actions that matter to drive business, but help them get a more complete picture of the consumer to get them in the funnel faster.
When planning your eCommerce strategy for the future, look for connections and actions AI can help you make, especially when bridging online and in-store experiences to fast-track them and make them more personalized.
For the Road Forward
Technology is designed to deliver data to drive your business forward. But it’s very likely that your dealership solutions are disconnected, not capitalizing on what they were truly built for… to power your business and fuel your marketing. If they’re not set up to deliver the data in a way that is useful to your sales staff, it’s time to take a step back and do a hard reset.
As you do, you’ll have a huge opportunity to ensure that the level of personalization you’re bringing to the table is meeting your customers’ high expectations. Not just now, but into the future. The bar has been set very high, and there’s no reason not to aim to exceed it when you have the ability to by connected your solutions, data, insights and actions.
Autotrader provides you with qualified leads for people who want cars. We have the data that connects and activates your data, and we have the shoppers. We know what they want, and our goal is to match them with our dealer partners, driving quality leads that have the highest gross profit on average industry wide. We connect you with customers virtually, to move shoppers to you, so that you can focus on building and letting your brand shine.
Cox Automotive has the most connected and comprehensive view of the automotive industry and offers unmatched data and insights into consumer behavior, automotive trends and operational best practices. Whatever your goals, we can help you get there faster to stay a step ahead and successful in today’s marketplace.
For more insights on activating these capabilities and a deeper dive on unlocking the profit potential in your marketing automation, watch the full Bridging the Gap video / audio series.
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