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  • Writer's pictureCraig Bono

Beacon use cases in Car Dealerships & Auto Body Shops

  • March 11, 2018

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Christopher, all enthusiastic to buy his first-ever luxury car, was standing in front of the Audi Q2 in a busy store. It was a busy day at the dealership and no salesperson was able to attend to Christopher. But boom, Christopher still received all the relevant specs and information about the car, on his phone. Thanks to technology, instead of being annoyed and leaving for another dealership, Christopher was impressed with the dealer for delivering the right information at the right time!

Well, Christopher is obviously a fictional character, but the scene I just narrated isn’t a fictional sci-fi movie – it’s all achievable with Beacons!

Challenges in modern car dealerships

For verticals like car dealerships, managing footfalls is not a mounting challenge. The bigger challenge though is customer loyalty and in-store experience for potential customers.

Every dealership has seen their share of super busy days and being there for every customer is next to impossible. In the narrative I described previously, in the absence of a beacon, there’s a huge chance that the potential customer is stuck waiting for a salesperson to answer questions or book a test drive. These missed opportunities and unimpressed customers can prove to be very expensive for your business – literally!

Why Beacons?

The modern customer is very different from their predecessors. It’s not surprising when they just whip out their mobile device to compare prices for a model. Customers today are busy looking for information, reviews, best deal and the most practical purchases, instead of waiting around to be wooed by a slick salesperson.

With these changing trends, beacons are undoubtedly the dealer’s best foot forward in extending a warm in-store experience to customers and converting them to buyers. Beacons are much more than just a fashionable add-on to your dealership. Considering the affordability of beacons, it’s the best way to reach out to all potential customers and give them what they need immediately.

A journey of a prospect in a beacon-enabled car dealership

What can you do with beacons in your car dealership?

1. Push notifications based on customer’s proximity

It’s the best way to make your customer feel welcome and attended. Just as they approach a car, the beacon attached to the car transmits a signal to their phone. What goes to the customer’s phone is totally your call. It could be any of these –

  1. Vital statistics related to the car

  2. Videos

  3. Best deals applicable

  4. Feature comparison with other models

This is especially helpful for high-end cars where videos, numbers and detailed images can bring about a huge difference in persuading a potential customer!

2. Booking a test drive

Queuing up to book a test drive can often be painful and frustrating for your customers, especially if the showroom is experiencing one of its busy days.

It’s so much easier to fill up the form and sign up for a test drive through mobile devices. When beacons are attached to cars, you can simply target the customer segment that has spent around 10 mins near a car, and then send a beacon notification to them with a link to book a spot for a test drive.

3. Personalized offers

Powerful data collection is every business owner’s (or marketer’s) dream. Once you know what your customers want, you can offer special deals via the app. Initially, you can just shoot notifications whenever a customer approaches a car. They will be automatically greeted with a limited time promotion. However, data can also be gathered to craft individual offers for later use.

4. Generate data for user analysis

Usually, while customers make their choices, you are busy noticing their choices and behavior. But with growing number of footfalls in the showroom, that isn’t quite a feasible option. With beacons deployed across the showroom, you can collect and analyze-

  1. Customer movements across the showroom (heat map distribution of the showroom)

  2. The popularity of a car model

  3. Views of a model vs. sale of a model

  4. Time spent on a specific car model

These analytics will help you take a decision on the showroom design – which model is to be parked up front, which model takes the Centre stage; resource management in the showroom and so much more…

5. Automatic social check-ins

Facebook check-ins are the new thing with most youngsters and one cannot deny the impact it has on your marketing. So why not make it quick and seamless for customers to check-in on Facebook, Foursquare, and other relevant social networks, when they walk into your dealership? Just as they enter, you could greet with a welcome message and a link to check-in on their favorite social media channel.

6. Make your dealership more accessible

However small the segment might be, but there’s always a customer segment around your dealership which is planning to buy cars in the near future. You never know if a limited period offer from your dealership could just trigger her to walk in and buy a car!

To stay ahead of the competition, you could always send few promotional messages to customers crossing your dealership. You have absolutely nothing to lose by doing that.

7. [Bonus] After work hours sales conversations

Car dealerships across the world are using beacons in unexpected ways to boost their sales numbers. I just came across an amazing one in West Milford, N.J.

In New Jersey, car dealerships are closed on Sunday. They needed a meaningful way to connect with car shoppers who visit dealerships on Sunday and after hours when there’s no one around to start the sales conversation. That’s when beacons are super helpful!

With a simple landing page, a BEACON can be linked to an opt-in page for a MOBILE SMS Text Club which then directs the consumer to a Vehicle Detail Page(VDP).

Wrapping up

Beacons in car dealerships have been catching up lately and it has tremendous potential to boost sales, enhance customer experience and track back-intelligence. This Bluetooth technology is all set to revolutionize the way customers interact with your dealership and how you leverage digital engagement for the physical world.

Lastly, at this moment I’d like to share a compelling data point with you. Approximately 50% of a dealership’s customers will change retailers when their guarantee expires. Surveys, however, suggest there may be a way to slow down that churn. Better customer contact and modernized communication could retain over 20% of those customers who chose to switch dealerships. Now it’s simple math to understand the positive ROI of beacons!

Why get Beacons to your showrooms?

We believe that marketers should focus on what they are excellent at – executing targeted campaigns. That’s why we’ve created beacons that are ready to run campaigns out-of-the-box. No app or developer required – start rolling in less than 15 minutes!

If you are planning to try out beacons, take a look at Beacons with Craig Bono Social – 917-577-7927, they include everything you need to get started. Using Beacons, you can set up your own campaign, without a developer’s help!

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