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Summer 2022 Automotive Marketing Trends: Online Test Drives, Inelastic Pricing, and Virtual Assistants

In the automotive industry, technologies and business models are constantly evolving. For example, ZeroSum’s Market First Report shows that new vehicle inventory has adjusted to a new normal level of just above one million cars while average prices have risen for the last several months. To stay competitive, dealers must keep up with the latest automotive marketing trends and adjust accordingly.

 

 

Easy online shopping and mobile optimization are expected

Back in 2018, only 1% of all cars were sold online, while in the first half of 2020, that number rose to 10% (Google/Kantar). This rapid shift was accelerated in part by COVID-19, but the trend of online purchasing won’t be going away any time soon. In fact, after the pandemic, 65% of auto purchasers are expecting to have more online options permanently and 73% of purchasers are comfortable negotiating a purchase completely online. As a result, it is important that you make the process of researching, negotiating, and buying a car online as easy and accessible as possible.

 

 

Customer service is a key differentiator

Without much of a price difference on vehicles, dealers must differentiate themselves in other ways. A great way to put yourself ahead of the competition and increase the conversion rate of your foot traffic is to have stellar customer service. According to a study done by Autotrader, 54% of shoppers would be willing to buy from a dealership that offered their preferred experience even if it did not have the lowest price. The study also found that 72% of customers would visit dealerships more often if the buying process was improved.

 

For dealers, this means that providing a great customer experience once shoppers come in the door will likely lead to more sales. Another plus of good customer service is that satisfied customers are not only more likely to buy from you again, but they are also more likely to leave a good review online and refer your dealership to their family and friends. In fact, A Capgemini study indicates that roughly 85% of highly satisfied customers would purchase from the same dealer again.

 

 

Video serves as a substitute for test drives

With less consumers visiting dealerships in person, it is crucial that you are able to replicate that experience online. A Google study found that over 75% of auto shoppers were influenced by online video when making a purchase. Additionally, 64% of shoppers who watch online videos to inform their buying decisions say that new formats like 360-degree video would convince them to buy a car without test driving it.

 

Whenever possible, have video walkarounds of your cars on your website that provide potential customers with the same level of detailed information that they would get if they were looking at the car in person. When you have an interested buyer, take it a step further and have the salesperson take a customized video for that customer. Address them by name and highlight features of the car that offer benefits that they specifically are looking for. When you show a customer that you know what they need and have it available for them, they will be more inclined to buy it from you.

 

 

Artificial Intelligence makes marketing automation easier than ever

Why work harder when you can work smarter? In 2022, dealerships are using AI to help inform their business strategies and streamline operations. Here are some easy ways to implement AI at your dealership:

  1. Chatbots – Save time by allowing AI to answer some of your customers’ most common questions via chat on your website.
  2. Advertising – Utilize AI to better target and reach potential shoppers with your social, search, display, and video ads.
  3. Task automation – Automate repetitive tasks to free up staff to focus on running your dealership.

By taking some of the workload off yourself, you’ll be more available to focus on your customers and selling more cars.

Want to take advantage of the latest in AI technology but not sure where to start? ZeroSum can help. Request a demo today and see how ZeroSum fully manages your paid media for you at a fraction of the cost of other vendors.

 

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