Long before the pandemic, the automotive industry was already looking down the road of widespread disruption. Multiple factors, including rideshare alternatives and general disinterest in vehicle ownership among younger generations, contributed to stagnant industry growth. In the U.S., total automobile sales for 2018 only increased 0.3% over 2017. All that was before COVID-19 created economic turmoil and a series of extended lockdowns around the globe. Automotive Industry: How Car Buying Is Changing. Traditionally, the process of buying a vehicle has relied heavily on dealerships. That is quickly changing. Vehicle shoppers now use digital platforms and mobile apps to research vehicles, compare features, and negotiate the price. Instead of being the center of the customer journey, dealerships are becoming the last stop—the place where buyers pick up the vehicle they have already chosen. How can the entire multifaceted auto industry, which includes automakers, dealerships, auto-services, IoT, connected vehicles, and more, benefit from this fundamental shift in the car-buying process? Personal Purchases Demand Personalization. Choosing the right vehicle is a highly personal decision, in addition to being a major financial decision. Consumers consider multiple factors based on their specific lifestyle and needs. For example: How many people usually ride in the car? Will they be driving in the snow? With kids in carseats? What about pets? Are they responsible for a carpool or transporting sports equipment? How long is their commute? Do they use their vehicle for work? How important is it to them to buy an electric vehicle? Car buyers are considering all of this and more, yet rarely is the customer journey hyper-personalized to their needs and where they are in the decision-making process. With a customer data platform (CDP), automakers and dealerships can personalize the entire purchase journey—from start to finish—and reach consumers before their decisions are final. CDPs help with one-to-one personalization across all digital channels. In addition, CDPs give dealerships and automakers visibility into the consumer segments most likely to buy and those who would benefit most from specific offers. CDPs Calculate Individual Propensity to Buy. By fully leveraging customer data, auto manufacturers and dealers can create a win-win experience for consumers. Here’s an example of how a CDP calculates propensity to buy and next-best-action to help the automotive industry deliver an exceptional buying experience. A prospect researches potential vehicles on dealership and auto manufacturers’ websites. Treasure Data CDP gathers this first-party data and combines it with second- and third-party data related to this prospect’s behavior and attributes (income, gender, marital status, city, state, etc). A unified, holistic customer profile is created. This is the single source of truth regarding this prospect. This profile is scored for propensity to buy specific makes and models. The prospect (either known or anonymous) begins to receive highly personalized ads and promotions plus information on local dealerships. This personalization is persistent across devices, browsers, and social media sites. As the prospect gets closer to making a purchase, he or she can be referred to a dealership or new online marketplace, like Shift or Carvana. At the same time, the prospect’s information can be shared with the preferred marketplace so that a salesperson can reach out. An appointment is scheduled to test drive the vehicle and finalize paperwork and financing at a location convenient for the prospect, which might mean having the vehicle delivered to the prospect’s home or office. The new customer is then nurtured along a post-sales track for future vehicle service, and upsell and cross-sell opportunities with the goal of turning a one-time purchase into a loyal customer relationship. The Future Is Data Driven. A CDP helps auto manufacturers answer questions that up until now were hard, if not impossible, to nail down. Things like: Who are my high lifetime value customers? Which channels are most likely to drive conversion? Which offers are relevant to which consumers? What is our ROI on social marketing? How effective is my website at driving transactions? These insights allow automakers to increase sales, reduce marketing spend, and improve profit margins all while providing consumers with an unparalleled personalized customer experience and a great value. To learn more about how Treasure Data helps industry leaders reinvent the car buying experience, visit our automotive solutions page.