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OEMs urged to understand the digital car buying journey better

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Vehicle manufacturers are being urged to make better use of customer data and scientific principles to improve their digital journeys, by Auto Zebra.

Following findings of its Online Readiness Scorecard, Auto Zebra is advising manufacturers' national sales companies to connect campaigns, web analytics and CRM data and “go beyond the main conversion points”, such as the test drive request form or configuration summary, to the level of micro-conversion points.

The company said that by understanding what customers interacted with on their journey, OEMs will be able to comprehend what happened during the process and why.

Auto Zebra launched in the UK last year to work with car manufacturers to use data and retail processes to help sell more new cars online. 

Tony Patterson, senior partner at Auto Zebra, said: “Understanding what influenced your customers' decision to buy (or not) on a granular level will tell you exactly how each of the channels, interaction points and individual buttons on the website contributes to the sale online and offline.

“Armed with this information, OEMs can prioritise roadmaps and reliably calculate the sales uplifts and ROI of improvements before they make them.

“It will also help to create effective lookalike audiences for marketing; optimise marketing budgets and campaigns; develop the right content; deliver better personalisation scenarios; and ultimately transform existing operations into a real omnichannel sales machine.”

Auto Zebra said it is also essential to eliminate false signals, such as differences between dealerships in follow-up timings and quality of response, and group customers into audiences large enough to be representative.

Image: Diagram showing the principles applicable, where customer interaction points are plotted against the customer life cycle curve (source: Auto Zebra, January 2021).

Tomas Honz, senior partner at Auto Zebra and author of the Scorecard, said: “The customer behaviours that really matter are already captured in the data OEMs already have.

“Scientifically interrogating the data will tell them precisely which audiences buy each model, trim and engine and more crucially, why.

“There are many quick wins which OEMs can achieve from in the beginning of 2021. In parallel with this, they will also benefit from a focus on building capability, so that at the beginning of 2022, they are in a position to say yes to these three questions: Do I really know what contributes to my sales? Does it match my spend and focus? Am I even in a position to answer these questions?”

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