Remember the good old days when you used to sell cars like candy bars? Well – those days are over and they’re never coming back. The internet changed all that, The pandemic put the nail in the coffin.
Technology rules today and businesses need to adapt in order to survive. This is especially true for car dealerships. The average price of a new vehicle now hovers around $50,000. With the ongoing inventory shortage, plus inflation and high-interest rates, competition is fiercer than ever. Your prospects are fewer and farther between, so you need to be locked & loaded.
There are already reports that consumer demand is declining,” said CarDealer Magazine. “It is true that some car valuations have started to drop slightly, but we have some tough and difficult times ahead of us.”
Car dealers are facing a new set of challenges and uncertainties like skyrocketing prices, continuing inventory shortages, and politically driven EPA regulations, do I sell an EV or ICE? Etc. Etc. But AI can help with the car buying experience.
Many customers don’t like salespeople or even stepping into a dealership, so that’s one plus for AI. There are already AI tools that help with that.
But with the stakes so high, are you going to trust a $50,000 purchase to an AI chatbot? Will an AI virtual assistant be able to close a deal? It sounds ridiculous but it might be right around the corner.
The typical annual operating cost to maintain a dealership is $4 million. This includes taxes, staff, marketing, lawyers, and accountants. So, a dealership could save a trunk full of money with AI. That’s another plus.
An accomplished salesperson can make a customer fall in love with the car, and there is no substitute for the interaction between a good salesperson and a customer. At least, not yet. And some people buy a car simply because of the salesperson. But AI can be used to improve the pre- and post-sale experience.
Autosuccessonline says that while most contact with customers – and the “human” touch that comes along with it – is handled manually in the dealership today, we are already seeing smart dealerships using AI and virtual assistant technology to automate many sales and service tasks.
“Persistent and friendly virtual assistants, designed to understand and interpret human language and responses, will increasingly be deployed to help dealerships stay on top of sales leads and move customers through the sales process, handing leads off to a live salesperson when appropriate to close the deal. After the sale, AI assistants will offer customers service reminders and courteous automated scheduling that leads to repeat showroom and service visits and overall increased revenue.”
With that in mind, here are 5 ways AI can be applied to enhance the customer experience and increase sales at car dealerships, according to Linkedin:
Car dealerships can use virtual assistants powered by AI to interact with their customers. These assistants can help customers with their inquiries and provide them with personalized recommendations. By using natural language processing (NLP), these virtual assistants can understand customer queries and provide intelligent responses.
Chatbots are very similar to virtual assistants. The main difference between a chatbot and a virtual assistant is design and purpose. While virtual assistants are made to handle a variety of requests, chatbots are typically more specific with their offerings.
Chatbots can be integrated into a car dealership’s website or mobile app to provide customers with real-time assistance. They can give answers to questions and help with their purchases without having to wait on hold or visit the dealership in person.
Plus, dealerships can create more targeted and personalized marketing campaigns. By analyzing customer data, AI can identify potential customers and create custom campaigns that speak directly to their interests and needs. This can increase the effectiveness of marketing campaigns and help car dealerships generate more leads.
“AI can be used to analyze customer data and predict customer behavior. By understanding customer preferences and buying patterns, car dealerships can provide personalized recommendations and offer promotions that are more likely to be of interest to the customer. Additionally, predictive analytics can be used to optimize inventory management, ensuring that the dealership has the right vehicle in stock.”
Enhanced Customer Service
AI can be used to streamline customer service processes and improve the overall customer experience. For example, AI-powered scheduling systems can help customers book appointments at their convenience. AI can also be used to monitor customer feedback and provide real-time support to resolve any issues.
Finally, here’s an AI platform that uses ChatGPT to create world-class customer journeys for car dealerships. Fullpath assists car dealerships when they sell a car, they help service departments and partner up with dealer management systems. Fullpath is an aggregator and integration partner that has all the integrations you need.
Remember the 10 steps to selling a car? Now with nearly 50% of all vehicle purchases conducted online or in the BDC department, those steps are reduced to four; meet and greet, walk-around, test drive, and delivery.
That’s bad news for the seasoned car salesperson but good news for the customer.
As technology gets more advanced, AI will be able to help car dealerships save time and money, and still provide a positive buying experience. Learn more about how AI can help your dealership by clicking here.