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December 22, 2016

Digital disruption raising expectations of the automotive industry

The automotive industry is undergoing an era of digital disruption. With a modern, tech-savvy target audience, creating a high-energy, interactive and visual experience is no longer optional for automotive dealership showrooms – it’s a necessity. Static signs and posters simply do not captivate an audience anymore. Digital signage is engaging and interactive with the ability to be updated anytime, anywhere.

Digital disruption enables companies to provide a new level of customer experience. According to a Harris Interactive study conducted on behalf of Verint Systems, 88 percent of customers prefer doing business with a company that offers a quality customer experience over a company that has the latest and most innovative products. With the ability to create a wow factor in the showroom, digital signage enhances the automotive industries’ customer experience, leading to stronger engagement, increased loyalty and improved conversion rates.

The potential for digital technology to enhance the customer experience within the automotive industry is limitless. The list below covers only a handful of the many opportunities available:

  • Outdoor LED
    LED, whether this is in the form of an LED trailer or an LED display installed on the dealership’s facility, provides a high impact, flexible advertising option to attract passing traffic. Digital signage allows marketing teams to effectively and efficiently communicate messages to consumers with the ability to update content instantly.
  • Digital Screens
    Digital screens can be strategically placed throughout waiting rooms and showrooms. Keeping customers entertained in the waiting room with digital displays helps reduce perceived wait time while also creating a defensive marketing strategy for dealers by providing a dealership specific channel. Content for the screens can include current product and service promotions; latest model releases and features; up to date financing options; and generic information such as time, weather, news and social media feeds. By the time a sales person greets the customer, the customer would have already been exposed to numerous marketing messages. The screens deliver stimulating full color images or video capturing the interest of customers, creating a sense of curiosity and a desire to find out more. Video walls can be designed in different formats, allowing for large screens or custom designs and content, to have maximum impact, and deliver an in-store experience beyond the customers’ expectations. With the ability for screens to function independently and display different content or combining numerous screens to display one large vibrant video, marketing teams are provided with endless opportunities.
  • Interactive Screens
    Many of today’s customers are “digital natives” – those who have grown up with touch-friendly devices – and assume everything can be swiped, pinched and zoomed. Accenture’s Auto Digital report (2015) indicated that more than half of the respondents would be interested in an interactive touch display that provides information on the available models during a visit to a showroom, proving that today’s customers value the efficiency and speed of using self-service tools to find answers. Not only could an interactive screen provide extra details about a car, a dealership could also take it that step further and enhance the customer experience with an interactive car configurator. Using an interactive screen, customers could alter the model choice, accessories and colors and immediately see on a screen what their dream car looks like. As technology continues to advance, customers would also have the option to rotate the car and be able to view their selection from every angle, including close-ups of different parts of the interior. Strategically positioning interactive screens within dealerships will further assist in reducing perceived wait times and provide customers a sense of empowerment by putting them in charge of accessing new information which is relevant to them.
  • Beacon Technology
    According to research by Marin Software, “Consumers increasingly use smartphones at dealerships to research and validate brand choices pre purchase, driving a surge in mobile auto app usage in 2015.” Beacon technology allows businesses to tap into this vital marketing opportunity by communicating with customers on the one device everyone keeps close – their mobile phone. Messages can be pushed to a customer’s mobile phone when in a predetermined proximity of a beacon. Using a customer data base, dealerships can send messages to customers and potential customers when in proximity to particular models.

Digital disruption is the key to succeeding in the automotive industry. As Accenture’s report says, “Dealers who are innovative, aggressive in pursuing digital strategies that engage the connected customer, and proficient in communicating the right message through the appropriate digital channels at the right time, will become automotive disrupters that can sustain growth in the global automotive market into the future.”

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