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Video: How auto retailers can modernize the ways they engage with consumers

Many of today’s automotive consumers do a bulk of their shopping online, so there’s extra pressure on dealers to make sure transactions are done smoothly and stay consistent to the digital experience. Add to this the lack of inventory and affordability concerns, and the room for error gets even smaller. 

To that end, dealers must ensure they have the right data to inform and drive each touchpoint: from enriching consumer identity data to improving call answer rates, to delivering connected and secure car-buying experiences. Joining CBT News to share how dealers can better optimize their operations is Satyan Merchant, Senior Vice President of Automotive at TransUnion.


Auto Dealers and Digital Retailing: A Modern Marriage


Key takeaways:

1. As consumers face vehicle affordability and inventory challenges, it is more important now than ever for dealers to be mindful of how they interact with customers. Consumer expectations have changed over the past few years and were accelerated by the pandemic. Consumers expect to shop for any product when they want, where they want, and how they want. Often, that means shopping digitally. So, auto retailers need to modernize how they engage with the consumers.

2. Customer identity data is the underpinning of any consumer experience. When it comes to identity, auto transactions are different from many other digital experiences. Vehicles are high-dollar purchases and consumers go through many changes during the buying experience. CRM data is commonly outdated and missing information. Identity is critical in understanding who the consumer is, and what their preferences are. If the core of that data is incorrect, then it is difficult for dealers to meet them at the right place, and at the right time.

3. Acquiring this sensitive data means that dealers must protect it as part of their overall identity strategy. Forward-thinking dealers looking to optimize their advertising efforts are finding new opportunities in safeguarding personal data. Using a Clean Room from TransUnion allows dealers to collaborate and share data with OEMs in a secure way, for example.

4. While industry data supports the concept that consumers are open to a fully digital car buying experience, only a fraction of transactions are taking place fully online today. So, how do dealers bridge the online to in-store experience? TransUnion’s approach is founded on these pillars:

1. Know the identity of the customer during the transaction
2. Consumer contactability across channels and generations of customers

5. Vehicle affordability continues to be a challenge, and many dealers and lenders are leveraging prequalification, allowing consumers to shop and compare monthly payments. Yet, there is still some friction with this process. TransUnion helps solve this with its pre-qualification tools. Pre-qualification lets consumers know what they can afford up-front in the process.

"The consumer wants to know what they can afford, and they want to do it in a way where they're not spending 10, 15 minutes filling out a form." — Satyan Merchant