Posted by Isolde Decker-Lucke
Car dealerships face stiff competition for local sales, especially in markets with multiple competitors. A car is a long-term investment, and consumers are going to explore their options extensively before making their final choice. This is where location intelligence and acting on foot traffic analysis can influence the sale.
Automotive manufacturers that invest in location intelligence and focus on building location-based opportunities are setting their local dealers up for success. Location intelligence refers to the learnings and insights gained through analysis of customer and prospect patterns of movement. This knowledge builds a complete picture of the customer - their interaction with various dealerships, their lifestyle and brand preferences, frequently visited locations, and more. Armed with this information, auto brands and local dealerships can narrowly target offers and advertisements to their ideal customer in the appropriate place.
Dealerships and auto brands can better communicate with and understand their customers when they have data-based knowledge of what their customers are likely to respond to or engage with. Location intelligence provides specific insights into trends and patterns in consumer behavior, including where they shop or socialize, and their particular demographics. Understanding who current customers and prospects are can inform where and how to best interact with them through tailored offerings and advertisements. This can be done on a local or national level. If the data indicates that owners of a certain auto brand are also live sports fans, an event or competition that incorporates tickets to an NFL game might be a good decision to build loyalty and attract new prospects. Location intelligence makes sure marketing, advertising, and partnership dollars are used efficiently to interact with target customers.
With location-based marketing, companies like auto dealerships or larger car manufacturers can provide offerings to customers based on where they are. If they are visiting a competitor down the road for example, they can serve them with a 10% off coupon to try and convince them to visit their dealership instead. Location technology also enables the targeting of devices that frequently pass by a certain dealership. These people may be casually thinking about buying a new car and a targeted offering might be the thing that gets them to take that next step and drive onto the lot.
Skyhook provides the ability to geofence and monitor competitor dealerships to gain insight into consumer foot traffic patterns and loyalty levels. Geofencing is a virtual boundary “drawn” around a real physical location in a software-based geographical information system (GIS). Once a location is “fenced”, one can monitor the fence to determine which devices or how many “things” crossed it, and then take corresponding action. In this scenario, dealerships can build geofences around specific competitors and can see the percentage of their customers that are visiting those dealerships, and compare their foot traffic against that of competitors. This knowledge of the local landscape can prepare dealerships to understand if their promotions are working as well as those of their competitors. They can learn a lot by monitoring the reaction of consumers to various marketing campaigns, and create personalized experiences, offers and promotions that are tailored to an individual customer's interests. Personalization can then lead to higher loyalty levels.
Providing unique offers and targeted experiences is great - but they have to be measurable or there isn’t any proof that they are impacting behaviors. Being able to see if these offerings are driving people into dealerships is incredibly important when deciding if running the same type of targeted advertisement is effective. Brands can see if campaigns actually determine real-world actions. For example, by geofencing a billboard advertisement and the corresponding dealership, dealers can tie views of the billboard to in-store foot traffic.
Growth is key - but it is a huge investment and risk. Dealerships that are looking to expand can use location intelligence to identify the best place to open a new dealership. By leveraging demographic data collected from mobile devices, car dealerships can see where their target consumers are already spending time. Dealerships can then use that data to choose an area where there will already be heavy foot and car traffic by their intended customers, keeping their dealership top of mind.
An automobile is a considered purchase, and customers take their time exploring their options to find the best deal that meets their needs. Gaining insight into where else these customers are looking and how you can win them over is an essential step towards closing more deals and making sales that will leave both the customer and the dealership happy.