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Ride sharing. Corporate fleets. Short-term rentals. Mass transit. Ride subscription plans. The list continues to grow—and traditional dealerships are rethinking how they’re going to position themselves to win with consumers who are approaching personal transportation in a whole new way. Brand-new drivers are no longer forming lines at the DMV the second they celebrate their birthdays, and broadened consumer needs based on geographic location, changing family structures, safety, technology, and more are confirming that many dealerships today must restructure their game plans before moving forward.
Plan and Then Move Forward
Pausing for a moment to adjust your trajectory isn’t a negative thing. It simply means you recognize the need to reacquaint yourself with your customers and their changing needs. After all, they’re driving the marketplace and perpetuating innovation—and by getting to know your them and leveraging in-market behavioral insights, you’ll position your dealership for continued success.
Let’s Talk Tech
Technology touches just about every aspect of our lives now, and it’s reached the point where most people simply expect it to be there. Often, technology doesn’t even require our attention; it just works its magic and makes our lives easier. It’s no different for the automotive industry. We’re all watching companies like Tesla, Google, and Uber as they push the limits, prepare to put self-driving cars on the road, and offer to put drivers everywhere on autopilot. But what do consumers think? And even more importantly, how will your shoppers react? Will they trust these cars enough to let them drive themselves? The answers might surprise you, especially when it comes to the ways different generations are responding.
All eyes seem to be on the tech of the moment: self-driving cars—likely because there are some big names in the game. To understand consumer sentiment surrounding driverless vehicles, it’s important to first take a quick look at what’s on the horizon. Tesla has been working on an autonomous car for quite a while and now vows it will be ready to hit the streets by 2018. Its CEO Elon Musk adds more fuel to the fire by confirming all vehicles will now come standard with self-driving hardware, ultimately leading to fully autonomous driving. Google is also in the race with its Self-Driving Car Project and is focused on improving road safety while being able get people where they want to go with just the touch of a button. Uber is the newcomer to the crowd, having recently released a fleet of autonomous cars in Pittsburgh, allowing customers to now summon rides directly from their phones.
What’s your guess as to who’s jumping in line for the newest cars when they become available? They sound like rides millennials and Gen Z would go for, right? Exactly, but there’s more to the story. And this is where getting to know your customers becomes extremely important, because leaning into data and marketplace insights will help you discover what consumers are truly looking for.
It’s true millennials are attracted to the latest and greatest when it comes to technology, however, it’s not an open-and-shut case. There are skeptics among younger shoppers, with one 25-year-old quoted as saying, “They’re just money buckets. If I didn’t have my kid, I’d ride a bike.” Still others give a nod to the idea that autonomous cars might be great for highway driving but might cause problems on crowded city streets or on more adventurous off-road treks.
Surprising, however, are the reactions of some more experienced, older consumers. Seniors specifically expressed excitement about autonomous vehicles, seeing them as a safer way to get around. Citing problems with night driving, declining vision, slower reaction times, and even difficulties in finding parking spaces, these consumers look forward to checking some worries off their lists with the aid of technology.
Reviews are always mixed when new products and services are introduced to consumers. And whether your dealership is excited about new vehicle technology—or maybe even a little nervous—one thing is certain. When you anticipate consumer needs and focus on meeting expectations in a way that can’t be replicated, your dealership will rise to the top. In a world of constant innovation and stiff competition, it’s all about who can meet shopper needs quickly and accurately, as well as provide an over-the-top customer experience.
Let Data Lead the Way
Your best friend will be the data that lets you know what shoppers are looking for. And believe it or not, attaining, analyzing, and acting on great data isn’t nearly as complicated as it sounds. When you leverage intelligent consumer insights to get to know your customers, you’ll be able to provide exactly what they’re looking for, and the best part is, you’ll have perfect timing in the process.
Whatever makes and models you’re selling—and whatever service you’re providing—today’s shoppers expect you to know what they need. That means doing your homework and meeting them where they are doing their research and getting feedback, and it means investing in the latest technology that will help you get the best insights in the quickest, most efficient manner. Successful dealerships are getting ahead of the curve by implementing comprehensive, multi-channel platforms like AutoAlert’s data-driven One-to-One Intelligent Marketing to help them effectively target their best opportunities and offer the right offers at precisely the right times.
It's true the marketplace is changing; new products are emerging all the time. And when your dealership utilizes data and technology to engage with shoppers and predict what they’re looking for, you’ll gain an edge over the competition. With insightful consumer data and strategic marketing, you’ll reach in-market shoppers and deliver exactly what they’re looking for, effectively meeting expectations of shoppers in a modern market.