It’s no secret that digital retailing has been a hot topic in the automotive industry for the last decade. Dealers, OEMs, and a proliferation of technology companies have tried to crack the code to enable a seamless and personalized car shopping experience. Recently, the automotive industry has doubled down on meeting this new consumer demand by improving digital retailing solutions. These changes come about as more consumers have come to expect a seamless digital experience. In a recent video with Automotive News, I spoke with Tom Worobec on the latest digital retailing challenges and trends in the automotive industry and how Equifax can support this industry beyond providing credit data. Here is an overview of what I shared.
As car shoppers are researching and searching for their next vehicle, they want a frictionless experience and they want to understand early what vehicle and deals they qualify for. Dealers need to make sure they are getting essential consumer information quickly and easily while preventing fraud -- and maintaining a great customer experience at the same time.
Takeway #1: It’s a Balancing Act
As an automotive dealership, it is important for you to provide your consumers with a frictionless and seamless car buying process. The key to a seamless experience is deploying the right level of friction at the right points. Enough to ensure the customer is who they say they are without making it too invasive that they drop out of their search. This is a balancing act many businesses are facing when it comes to their customers' expectations. Especially as young buyers are making up more of the car buying pool. They have grown up in a digital world curated for them and their expectations around car buying are no different.
In order for dealers to meet these new demands, tools like frictionless mobile authentication can help dealers provide a better consumer experience for their shoppers. With frictionless mobile authentication, all a customer needs to do is enter their phone number to authenticate their identity. This simple process still allows dealers to calculate a pre-qualified offer with minimum friction points for the customer. Frictionless mobile identification allows a better consumer experience but adds friction when needed to help protect dealers from fraud. In the end this builds trust with the consumer and balances customer experience with protection for the dealer.
Takeaway 2: Dealers must capitalize on Digital Retailing
Consumers expect tailored messages and personalized lead responses. Technology solutions alone cannot create a personalized customer experience. Here at Equifax, we work with many of those companies to build or provide those solutions. Most of them will use Equifax credit data to zero in on what many call a “penny perfect payment.” This is where we are seeing innovation. Now is the time to personalize by leveraging data in a way to effectively streamline the sales process. What used to take multiple face to face encounters, now can be assessed digitally, allowing sales people to become experts on their customers beyond their credit before even meeting them. Making car buying seamless for both the customer and dealer.
Luckily, there's data available now that makes it possible for dealers to deliver on that expectation. The insights from this data will help you individualize your offers and give your salespeople insight into the customer before even talking to them.
Takeaway 3: Keys to Success in Digital Retailing
Knowing your customer and who they are is key to success. Empowering your customer to say yes by customizing an offer based on them will help you to succeed. Recently, Equifax did a study on the impact of delivering a prequalified experience to car shoppers of what we would call a soft pull on the consumer's credit file. We found that consumers who use a soft pull solution while shopping online are 31% more likely to purchase a vehicle in 30 days or less. 31% is a big lift, and demonstrates how this kind of data can be leveraged to help advance a sale.
How Equifax is helping our customers navigate the digital journey
Technology solutions alone cannot create a personalized customer experience. At Equifax, we are helping our customers find innovative ways to help improve customer experience throughout the digital journey. Our advanced identification and authentication solutions can help dealers alleviate risk by verifying consumer identity, while also providing consumer insights to help target personalized offers and incentives for customers in the digital ecosystem. Dealers can also use our marketing insights to mine their own CRM database to find potential buyers or to find customers that are likely to come in for service which is more important now than ever. Dealers that identify potential service customers or qualified buyers and effectively match them with customized vehicle options and can move them through the process quickly and seamlessly are positioning themselves to continue to win in this current environment and beyond.
Finally, dealers are realizing that digital retailing is more than just a math exercise of calculating perfect payments online and being able to replicate that deal in the brick and mortar store. The most successful dealers are virtually getting to know their customers in real time; what their hot buttons are, how to speak to them and ultimately, what offers will resonate with them. Only Equifax can bring consumer insights into the buying process to ensure a customized buying process from the start to finish.
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To see my full interview with Automotive News Videocast, click here.