If you’re only paying attention to the number of car buyers who knock on your door, digitally or physically, you’re missing out on some big opportunities.
As the director of data information at cars.com, Jeni Pecard, points out, you also have to know who those people are. At a recent J.D. Power Auto Summit, Pecard was joined by other industry experts who agreed that although the sheer volume of data to which dealerships now have access is vast, they’re often underused.
Let us consider three key types of data every dealership should be collecting – and using.
1. Historic customer and vehicle data
One brilliant way to predict car buyer trends and patterns is to look at historic customer and vehicle data, in a way similar to how insurance companies treat customers individually based on their track record to date.
How have they discovered your dealership? What route did they take towards the eventual purchase of a car? Have they responded positively to aftersales campaigns – and which ones? When is their next scheduled service due? By looking at key touchpoints, you’ll be able to identify potential for optimal profitability and invest on maximizing the customer lifetime value, by making drivers return to the dealership when their lease is up, when the service is due or just when you have a good offer up for tires change.
Thanks to platforms like OneDealer Omnichannel, you can now identify precise customer groups and send them personalised promotions leveraging multiple marketing channels. You can select the touchpoint that works best each time and even nurture them over time using perpetual marketing tactics.
What’s more, the most high-value customers you identify can be rewarded with complimentary vehicle history reports and other bonuses to further wed them to your brand, enabling additional activation channels such as word of mouth and digital referrals.
2. Visitor demographics
Digital marketing analytics today allows you to look far beyond the numbers of website visitors.
To maximise your return on marketing spend, you need to understand your audience’s age group, their location which digital channel they originate from and their behaviour patterns, as in what is their digital journey on your website and other trackable properties. You may think you can take an educated guess at these details, but modern analytics provide raw data that can be relied on and can form the proof for your hypotheses.
Demographics and online behaviour, in conjunction with basic customer and vehicle data, are your basic tools for identifying customer trends and targeting your marketing efforts accordingly.
3. Cost of ownership
The cost of owning a car extends far beyond the initial purchase price. This is understandably a major concern to buyers, which is why the ability to indicate potential lifetime costs for any car within your fleet will act as a differentiator for your dealership.
The ability to combine aftersales costs with general maintenance and tax implications will enable your sales team to provide a complete cost of ownership report for shoppers. Combined with historic customer data, you’ll also have the option to precisely target people whose level of spend falls in line with the TCO.
What do you do with all this data?
Obtaining the data above is a great first step, but using it correctly is where many businesses fall down.
If you’re collecting data about customer and vehicle history or the cost of ownership, for example, make sure that both your sales / call centre staff and management have immediate access to it. The most invaluable tool towards this end is an intuitive and accessible automotive Cloud CRM and Lead Management software.
Equally, why not provide a more personalised experience for car buyers if you know more about them? By thinking one step ahead and tailoring your website to their preferences or recommending the perfect vehicle before they’ve even started browsing your stock, you’ll demonstrate a customer-first approach that should turn them into advocates of your brand.
Focus on data quality
The amount of data dealerships can now obtain unfortunately also has its own inherent issues, such as the problem of double-entry.
If you’re running multiple systems, for instance, there’s a high chance staff from different departments will unwittingly enter duplicate or even multiple customer or vehicle data on different software. This can result in inaccurate data presented to customers and significant time wasted tidying up poor databases.
The solution is to implement a systems which integrates basic DMS components together with CRM, lead management, digital campaigns and other functions, effectively housing every single data touchpoint under one roof, and ensuring you’re able to orchestrate communication with other third-party systems that collect data about your customers.
The volume of data available to modern businesses will only increase, and if you’re concerned about your ability to store it securely and use it to your advantage, our tips above should put you on the right course.