What Do U.S. Dealers Need to do to Understand Their Customers?

By Deirdre Borrego

Keep Your Eye on Gen­er­a­tion Y

Gen­er­a­tion Y [cur­rent­ly esti­mat­ed at 80 mil­lion and a huge retail auto­mo­tive growth oppor­tu­ni­ty], also known as Mil­len­ni­als, are already start­ing to cre­ate a mas­sive change in the way retail busi­ness is con­duct­ed.

Gen Y Con­sumers Gath­er Infor­ma­tion

J.D. Pow­er research clear­ly shows that Mil­len­ni­als have a dis­tinct­ly dif­fer­ent approach to find­ing infor­ma­tion and mak­ing pur­chas­es. Rather than read­ing a news­pa­per, lis­ten­ing to radio, watch­ing tele­vi­sion, or pag­ing through a phone­book to research their next pur­chase or find a local retail­er, these con­sumers are more inclined to go online to gath­er infor­ma­tion before pur­chas­ing a prod­uct or ser­vice.

Dig­i­tal Mar­ket­ing Becomes Key

In the auto­mo­tive indus­try, this dynam­ic has already had con­sid­er­able impact on how auto­mo­tive mar­keters invest their finan­cial and human resources.

As Mil­len­ni­als mature, become wealth­i­er, and become an even larg­er pro­por­tion of the vehi­cle-buy­ing pub­lic (they cur­rent­ly account for 18% of new-vehi­cle sales, and are expect­ed to account for 22% by 2020, accord­ing to J.D. Pow­er data) the dig­i­tal space will become the sin­gle-largest oppor­tu­ni­ty for retail­ers to com­mu­ni­cate and influ­ence con­sumers dur­ing the pur­chase process. J.D. Pow­er data shows that 87% of Mil­lenials use the Inter­net in their vehi­cle-shop­ping process, com­pared with 79% for all new-vehi­cle buy­ers.

Deal­ers Must Engage Across Mul­ti­ple Chan­nels and Plat­forms

Gen Y con­sumers are uti­liz­ing all avenues of com­mu­ni­ca­tion, which means deal­ers must have a pres­ence there as well – effec­tive­ly man­ag­ing all inputs of rep­u­ta­tion man­age­ment, such as deal­er rat­ing sites, blogs, and social media.

To do that, deal­ers need a way to effi­cient­ly access and respond to con­sumer inquiries online and in social media—rather than trolling around on the indi­vid­ual sites—and be able to aggre­gate infor­ma­tion and cred­i­bly man­age their rep­u­ta­tion online. Devel­op­ing smart­phone appli­ca­tions is one way deal­ers can more effec­tive­ly com­mu­ni­cate with con­sumer inquiries, as well as direct­ly with cus­tomers.

Deal­ers, and automak­ers, have access to in-depth infor­ma­tion about their cus­tomers. They need to lever­age the infor­ma­tion about cus­tomer sales, as well as ser­vice and vehi­cle his­to­ry, to more effi­cient­ly man­age the cus­tomer own­er­ship expe­ri­ence.

Dier­dre Bor­rego is vice pres­i­dent and gen­er­al man­ag­er of glob­al auto­mo­tive oper­a­tions with Pow­er Infor­ma­tion Net­work (PIN) and J.D. Pow­er and Asso­ciates. Read the full arti­cle here.   



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