Big data is a big deal for dealership sales and marketing these days. Shopper data, specifically, has become a hot commodity for automotive professionals looking to influence an increasingly fractured and independent car buying journey.
Dealers using solutions like Signal, are actively putting shopper data to work to increase monthly sales. One dealership we partner with utilized shopper engagement data to increase Corolla sales by more than 2x in one month. This type of success isn’t isolated to that one dealership either. We work with dealers every day to enhance sales and marketing performance (you could say it’s kind of our thing). That said, here are three best practices we have seen work well for top performing dealers using shopper data to increase sales.
Inform Stocking & Merchandising
The dealers we partner with are able to measure inventory engagement and cross-reference sales data to optimize their stocking and merchandising strategies. These insights are useful because they make it easy to identify weaknesses and opportunities.
For instance, the dealership we mentioned above asked for our help figuring out why their Corolla inventory had low engagement despite high market demand. While there was plenty of interest online, and Corolla received a lot of SRP views, shoppers were not viewing VDPs or submitting lead forms. After a little investigating, we found that the advertised lease price was the highest in the area, causing shoppers to seek better deals elsewhere. After the dealership updated their price to align with the market – and launched a geotargeted digital campaign – the dealership sold 18 Corollas in one month, which was 150% above their monthly sales goal. Pretty neat, eh?
With those results in mind, try this out for yourself. Do you have a certain make or model that’s not selling well, but aren’t sure why? Go through your available reporting data to see if you can troubleshoot the cause. If you have a lot full of vehicles with low demand in your market, it’s naturally going to take longer to move that inventory. On the flip side, if you have high demand vehicles taking up permanent residence on your lot, merchandising may well be the source of your problem. In any case, looking at your performance data can hopefully point you in the right direction.
Identify Top Channels with Multi-Touch Attribution
Do you know which channels are driving the most revenue for your dealership? If you are still relying on last click for attribution then you may think that you do, but you also could be wrong. Multi-touch attribution has been a hot topic in the auto industry for some time now, especially because it exposes the limitations of heuristic models like last click.
Just as we are about to talk about with the customer journey, the dealers and groups that are crushing their sales goals are the ones who have gone past talking about multi-touch and made it a reality. Armed with the insights from data-driven or multi-touch models, they are now able to accurately pinpoint the channels and tactics that are the most effective for their customers, and eliminate spend wasted on underperformers.
Our dealer partners are able to do this because they have granular performance data that weighs the influence of every channel in shoppers’ journeys. And the best part about it is that they can easily access this cross-channel data anytime in just a few clicks of a button. Having convenient access to all of this data can be a game changer for busy executives, managers and marketers who don’t have time to manually calculate or sift through a thousand reporting systems.
Really, our big takeaway here is that data-driven, multi-touch attribution isn’t really optional anymore. Between the beginning and end of the car buying journey shoppers interact with hundreds of touch points; it’s just no longer realistic to rely on oversimplified attribution models that don’t account for all of the interactions that influenced final purchase decisions. To really make attribution impactful for sales, you need it to evolve with your customers. However you choose to do that is totally up to you and what works best for your business.
Contextualize the Customer Journey
Everyone is talking about how fragmented and complicated the car buying journey has become; it’s something we talk about with our dealer partners all the time. The difference in our conversations is that we are actively helping our dealers understand and contextualize real shoppers’ journeys every day.
While it is important to understand that car buyers are changing, to increase sales you need to know the real life context of how and why they are changing in your market. Large dealerships and groups we work with know how important it is to know shoppers better than their competitors to stay ahead and grow sales. They are also activating shopper data every day to target customers in every phase of the journey with hyper relevant offers and experiences. As we mentioned with attribution – and really digital strategies in general – you need to make sure you are evolving with your customers’ needs to be effective.
You don’t necessarily even need a solution like Signal to improve digital experiences for your shoppers and increase sales (although we have proof that it does indeed help…just sayin’). All you need to do is segment shopper data into hyper-targeted audiences. You can choose to segment based on where they are in the journey; whether they are looking for new or used vehicles; or as we recommend to our dealers, based on the specific make and model they’ve been researching. Use these audience segments to deliver relevant and dynamic messages online and a lot of shoppers will thank you by becoming your customers.
At the end of the day, the better you understand your customers and serve their needs, the better it is for your business. Technology will only continue to make life more complicated for dealership sales. The best thing you can do to set your dealership up for success is adopt a data-driven mindset and take advantage of the growing number of tools and resources that make you and your teams more informed, more efficient and more accountable.
To learn more about Signal and how it could help your dealership achieve better results, click here!