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'Omnichannel is the route to success' - Sean Meehan, Boots

Car dealers need to balance consumer’s physical and digital expectations in order to strive ahead in an increasingly competitive market and crowded cyberspace, according to Sean Meehan, social media marketing manager, at leading High Street pharmacy-led health and beauty retailer Boots.

An omnichannel strategy will only succeed if it is combined with a commitment to analyse and apply customer–led trends, Meehan will tell delegates at this year’s AM and Auto Trader Digital Marketing Conference, which takes place at Birmingham’s NEC on February 12.

By so doing, dealers will be able to better align their marketing campaigns with the consumer’s preferred purchase journey, thereby increasing the likelihood of a search to enquiry to sale conversion.

Meehan said: “It sounds logical and the concept is simple, but operating a successful omnichannel strategy can be extremely complex and time consuming as it literally brings everything together – from website searches to live chat conversations and a visit unannounced to the showroom - in one place for the consumer tailored to the individual and without them having to continually provide their data and explain their requirements. It requires the collation, amalgamation and analysis of data on a grand scale, yet the ability to bring it back to micro level. To be successful, the execution needs to be consistent across both physical and digital experiences.

“As well as expecting a tailored approach, consumers also feel a connection with their local community and despite the globalisation of retail, generally, they prefer to buy local. This localisation when it comes to marketing and building a rapport with the consumer is essential in the omnichannel process and becomes even more pronounced once a dealer has won the individual’s custom and moves onto working to retain their loyalty. The sophistication of digital means marketing managers have the means to be highly targeted and adopt a local angle when they undertake campaigns including Facebook targeted ads and using browser history and data footprints to connect with the would-be car buyer.”

US-based customer experience consultancy SDL’s recent global study found that 90% of consumers expect a consistent customer experience across all marketing channels whilst nearly half (47%) became frustrated when their in-store experience was different from the impression given online.

“It underlines the cornerstone of omnichannel; consumers expect a seamless experience whether they are considering your used cars on your website or in your showroom browsing your display vehicles. Seamless automation is better and this is already becoming more prevalent in franchised dealers as technology enables sales executives to dovetail a consumer’s browsing behaviour with their in-store experience, by referring back to a model they may have configured online, for example,” Meehan said.

Meehan, who clocked up automotive experience at the likes of Halfords, Zenith and Hitachi Capital before making the switch to the High Street, will draw on all layers of his experience to explore omnichannel, how it differs from multi-channel, best practice and future trends. He will use case studies from the wider High Street to provide further insight on how retailers are balancing and interweaving the bricks and mortar experience with online interaction.

Tickets are available to dealers and manufacturers, with a limited number of supplier tickets on sale. To book, please contact Emma-Louise Kinnaird on 01733 395133, email or visit

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