How to cater to “now” consumers in the auto industry

“Now” consumers are those who want real-time customer service, so they can get what they want, when they want it. The slick efficiency of Amazon and Apple, for example, are at the forefront of this new wave of commerce but the automotive industry is lagging behind, delegates were told at Automotive Management Live earlier this year.

The latest generation of consumers, dubbed Centennials or Generation Z (Gen Z), not only desire this level of service but expect it, according to a white paper from brand and packaging firm Sun Branding Solutions. One of the key areas they have identified to better target and sell to Gen Z is technology.

Focus on Technology

“Gen Z is the most web-slick, app-loving generation of all time,” according to the Sun Branding Solutions white paper. Using technology to improve convenience is essential to all businesses, including those in the automotive industry. The paper states that by 2020 Gen Z will make up more than 25% of the workforce, meaning a huge surge in their spending power. They are the next generation of car buyers and manufacturers and dealers should be planning to meet their needs.

An example given in the white paper is a coffee shop using a loyalty scheme to gather data on customers. It knows James buys a latte at 10am every Tuesday and can send him a tailored 50% off pastries via text message at 9:45am, therefore encouraging greater spending but also improving customer experience and loyalty. Transferring that example to the automotive industry, we can track when your customer’s warranty is due to expire and send them a renewal email to extend their policy, while also offer additional products to help protect their investment.

There are a multitude of ways technology can help improve the customer experience at your business, boost customer loyalty and profitability.

Add-on products integral to digital offer

One of the simplest ways to improve profitability for your dealership is offering add-on products. Not only should customers be offered products to protect their new car at the time of purchase but also online prior to visiting the showroom. Online browsing of retailers’ websites is often aimed squarely at the sale of a vehicle, with customers turning up prepared with their information but not accounting for extras such as Cosmetic Repair Insurance.

If customers already have a figure in mind for their vehicle purchase they are much less likely to accept additional extras that protect their investment. With more customers using online research when it comes to buying a new car, offering add-on products at the outset will make them more likely to commit when they arrive at the showroom. Additionally, digital technology can allow retailers to re-target customers after the completion of a sale, offering discounts or other offers.

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