How are customer insights driving sales in Car Dealerships?

Automotive, AI

It’s becoming increasingly difficult to differentiate one car dealership from another with almost all claiming to offer exceptional customer service, no haggle negotiations and various other value-adds, such as free servicing. So the key question is, how do you entice buyers to come to your dealership, rather than go elsewhere?

The answer lies in building stronger relationships between your prospects and your brand, and to do this, some dealerships are turning to artificial intelligence and messaging platforms to obtain deeper customer insights, which in turn is enabling them to make intelligent business decisions.

Advanced technology is fast becoming the backbone of new vehicle models and dealerships are reaping the rewards of that technology. As cars become more connected, they send upwards of 25GB of data to the cloud per hour. This data can then be translated into personalised experiences for consumers through behaviour prediction technology, which aids in dealerships’ marketing and outreach. Dealerships utilising this technology can craft a unique experience tailored specifically to their customer’s requirement, rather than a generic offering, where they feel they are ‘just another” customer.

By leveraging behaviour prediction technology, dealerships can accurately and quickly identify which customers are most likely to purchase, and more importantly, the reasons why. These technologies sort complex data through machine learning, and then refine that data through proprietary algorithms. This allows dealerships to easily access insights into potential consumers and their reasons to buy.

In other words, dealerships can easily and quickly analyse this rich information source and use it to anticipate timescales before consumers are ready for their next car purchase. They can decipher the consumer’s preferred features, make, model and whether they intend to lease or buy. This knowledge empowers dealers to create a sales experience tailored to the specific customer.

Driving the customer focus

Let’s take a step back for a moment and look at the research phase which begins when consumers are ready to buy a new vehicle. According to Autotrader, the top five activities conducted online by car shoppers include:

  • Researching car prices (71%)
  • Finding actual cars listed for sale (68%)
  • Comparing different models (64%)
  • Finding out what their current car is worth (63%)
  • Locating a dealer or getting dealer info (46%)


With so much research now being conducted online before buyers even step into a showroom, it’s crucial that dealerships turn their attention to ensuring potential customers are instantly provided with the information they need, which is why some forward-thinking dealerships are now turning to chatbot technology to bolster their customer service experience.

Available 24/7, chatbots can help potential buyers by providing EMI calculators and model information as well as enabling them to book test drives. Existing customers can also benefit by   being able to request damage repair quotes and schedule service appointments.

Chatbots are also helping to build customer trust. Buying a car is a big decision for most people, and it takes time for them to agree on the make and model they’ll finally purchase. Often, customers switch from dealer to dealer in search of the right car, pricing or finance option. Just as often, they seek out a dealership that offers helpful but non-interfering customer service which is exactly where chatbots come in, providing they aren’t programmed to bombard website visitors with offers and promotions.

Once a chatbot has answered the buyer’s questions, you’ll be well on the way to being able to personalise the customer experience.

Many dealerships utilise data they already have or can easily obtain from readily available sources. The most common pieces of consumer data that dealerships utilise prior to contacting a prospect, include ones they have on hand – basic contact details, vehicle interest, purchase and service history. With the help of behaviour prediction technologies and chatbots, dealers have access to much more than just that. Ensuring, from the first point of contact with a consumer (potentially through a chatbot), dealers are now armed with knowledge of the consumer’s preferences, that will allow for a more enjoyable and successful sales experience.

By understanding what consumers are researching and the questions they are asking, dealers can make sure their outreach (and the help and support they offer) is precisely personalised to the clients’ interests. This means potential customers will now receive more relevant deals, prices and availability through the medium of targeted marketing, when their need for a new vehicle arises.

But these insights aren’t just exclusive to car dealerships. All aspects of the automotive services industry are beginning to benefit from deeper insights generated by big data.

As the UK’s largest car part dealer, ECP turned to ANS to gain deeper insights into their business. The organisation had already collated years’ worth of data, but this was fragmented and stored across multiple systems, making it impossible to extract meaningful information. By partnering with ANS, ECP have been able to process this data in a cloud environment that is offering flexibility and scalability, enabling them to analyse and compare data and provide real-time updates on stock availability. This ensures they are purchasing (and offering) the right products at the right time and for the best price. To read the full case study, click here.

Posted by Simon Chilcott