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Search engine to car engine: how marketers can create a seamless car buying experience

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Nov 05 2019

Addressing the future of Automotive Marketing

A leading consumer automotive index* tells us that 54% of car shoppers feel anxious or uncomfortable at car dealerships with 56% of millennials surveyed admitting that they would rather clean their homes than negotiate with a car dealer (that is not to mention the 24% who opted for a root canal instead).

The question: How can automotive companies get the buyer into the dealership and ready to test drive the car sooner?

The answer lies with automotive marketing: We know that 88% of car buyers’ purchases begin online. Which means, automotive brands must drive the digital experience from search engine to showroom floor to get the buyers through the dealership doors faster. Here’s how.

Fuel automotive marketers with CGI

The ability to blend the digital and physical world to create an unparalleled buying experience isn’t news to marketers. Regardless of industry, a seamlessly integrated multichannel approach is the do-or-die formula for just about any customer facing industry.

The automotive industry is one that is constantly upgrading design and features in order to stay ahead of the competition. It is expected that new colors, shape, interior and functionality will be available with every new model year.

“This is a nightmare for automotive marketing,” explains Jon Genese, VP Client Engagement for Automotive at Tag. “As we shift from analogue to digital, knowing that we still have print brochures for direct mail and the showroom floor, imagine the amount of work, shoot time, editing, pre- and post-production, creative and delivery that must occur to keep marketing materials up-to-date. Not only is it costly, it is also incredibly time consuming – a huge drag on speed to market.”

Computer-generated imagery (CGI) functions as an automotive marketer’s fully electric vehicle allowing new marketing assets to be produced twice as fast. To fill this market gap, Tag created the Configurator, an innovative tool that creates an integrated web-to-showroom experience and gives marketers the ability to deliver thousands of customized assets at a global scale, across all delivery channels. The Car-Go Realtime Configurator uses CGI to create stills, basic 360 animations, configurators, real-time dealership experiences, VR and more, with consistency across all assets regardless of the delivery platform.

With this function, master assets can be easily manipulated to incorporate color changes (interior and exterior), new design and functionality without having to completely recreate the marketing production process with each new car.

“Automotive marketers must be as agile and fast-moving as the cars they are selling, creating the customer experience that today’s buyer demands and supporting the sales team with the data they need to close the deal.” concludes Jon.

Use customization as horsepower

We know that 56% of shoppers are more likely to buy from a retailer that offers a customized experience. “This is my one-of-kind design” buyer mentality is more prevalent than ever. From jewelry to sneakers and now to cars, savvy shoppers want customized, personalized experiences and recognition from their peers that they’ve created something. What can the automotive industry do about it?

“CGI has been around for more than 10 years and like everything digital, it is just getting better,” continues Jon. “With CGI, the automotive industry can go beyond the traditional “wow” of the TV commercial and build a digital experience that gives the car buyer the ability to create their dream car, with a 3-deminsional virtual view, that shows colors, angles, design and depth, before ever having to engage with a salesperson. The buyer feels in control and proud of what he or she has created and the salesperson has in-depth knowledge of what the customer wants.”

Using CGI as a sales enablement tool, allows the auto industry to build a fluid integration between the online and offline experience, from web to TV and billboards, print ads and face-to-face interaction in the dealer showroom.

With Tag’s Car-Go Realtime Configurator, the car buyer can accurately build their customized car online, receive build price in real-time and then visit the dealership, where a visual demonstration of the custom-designed car can be seen onsite with an in-showroom tablet or in some cases a life-sized virtual reality experience.

“This is a sales enablement tool that influences the sale by giving the buyer the feeling of complete control of the sales process and the salesperson real-time insight into buyer choices and needs,” explains Jon.

 Let the customer be self-driving

The more tools the car buyer has to shape his or her own journey with accurate information, specs and design capabilities, the easier it is to persuade the customer to buy. If the buyer can then share his/her design for feedback across social channels, the probability of sale is even better.

“We understand the psychology of consumer behavior,” concludes Jon. “Buyers today want to feel as though they are in complete control of the decision-making process. The idea of dealing with a “salesperson” to discuss their specific needs can be off-putting. However, when the digital experience gives the buyer the tools they need to control the in-showroom sales experience, perception shifts, the experience improves and the sale is much more likely to happen.”

At Tag, we are constantly creating innovative solutions that nurture every touchpoint of the car buying experience to support the marketer and empower the buyer, giving automotive brands the ability to better understand their customer and the customer the ability to own their purchase experience. Car-Go Realtime is one of the most influential tools for automotive marketers today. It allows marketers to build a consistent online to offline experience, with the ability to easily control, manipulate and reproduce assets, within budget with minimal shoot time.

Schedule a call today to preview Tag’s Car-Go Realtime Configurator.

* Source: Beepi’s 2016 Consumer Automotive Index

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