Are You Using Data and AI to Personalize Car Shoppers’ Browsing Experiences?

We’ve gotten used to our online browsing for products and services getting a bit personal. Do a Google search for deck furniture, for example, and the next time you log into Facebook, you may see photos and offers of patio furniture and furnishings. Sometimes, it’s even more subtle: we mention in an email to a friend that we like a certain brand of expensive shampoo, and ads for high-end hair care products begin filling our social media pages. Someone, obviously, is listening.

While the privacy implications are still controversial, most online shoppers have believe the benefits outweigh the drawbacks. Large retailers are continuing to ramp up tools like artificial intelligence to draw conclusions from our browsing and make suggestions that are most likely to result in a sale.

Vehicle dealers have been slow to arrive at this party. They’re missing opportunities. After all, vehicle shoppers usually begin their search online, and the technology exists to determine which photos of a vehicle were clicked on, what the search criteria was, and which vehicles were most likely to be viewed by an online shopper, according to a recent article by David Muller and Hannah Lutz writing for Automotive News.

“We think the bigger opportunity in the auto space is for folks to start to really look at individual, granular consumer data,” Devin Daly, CEO of SpinCar, which provides virtual walk-arounds for dealers’ websites, told Automotive News. “Thanks to the likes of Amazon and Netflix, consumers have become accustomed to “uber-personalized environments,” he added. But too often, Daly said, “they go to a dealer’s website and they have a completely static, non-personalized experience.”

Dealers shouldn’t be playing “catch up” when it comes to making the most out of data customers provide when they’re shopping online. Tracking this information and using it to customize the offers that shoppers see in the future – more targeted this time – can go a long way toward converting web-surfers to buyers. Online shoppers who were shown a personalized web experience are more likely to buy. A study of of 88 rooftops by showed there is a sharp rise in click-through rates to vehicle details pages as well as a bump in form and phone leads when personalization was implemented.

A good AI software tool will leverage AI and machine learning to source news and social updates on the shopper. These machine learning-based tools are often available as extensions to a dealerships CRM platform. With these tools, dealers can provide shoppers with smarter, more personal product recommendations based on both their browsing behavior and information that shoppers are willing to share about their lives.