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Tracking the customer’s buying journey

Posted by Ashley Karr on February 7, 2019

Know your customers’ digital route

In today’s digital age, there is almost no end to the amount of information customers can find online during their shopping process. Yet, the majority of buyers still visit showrooms to test drive vehicles and make a purchase.

To be able to reach these shoppers early on and steer them to your showroom though, you must first understand their digital journey—and analytics help make this possible. Whether a customer visits a manufacturer website, social media profile, third-party shopping site, or something else, analytics allow you to keep tabs on their digital footprint. When you tap into that information, you’ll be able to understand exactly how customers have made their way to your dealership’s website—and from where—so you can begin to tailor your messages accordingly and drive more traffic to your forecourt.

Consistency is key

If you were to walk through a supermarket or large furniture store, there would be a prescribed route for you to follow. As a customer, you might not be totally conscious of it, but plenty of thought would have gone into which products were placed where and what you would see during your journey around the premises, with a view to generating a good experience and maximising profitability. Think about the position of special offers in prominent positions, such as at the ends of aisles, for example.

The same applies online. Any business, be it a grocer or a car dealership, ideally wants a consistent message and a clear route to their homepage across all their channels. That’s because consumers that view a consistent message or story across multiple channels increase their purchase intent by 90% and improve their perception of that brand by 68%, according to an IAB study. While this may sound obvious, it is not uncommon for retailers to fall foul of this.

Many apply different styles, tones, and tactics to different channels; an online advertisement, for example, could be completely distinct from, say, social media feeds. At worst, the two could even be contradictory or one might feature out-of-date information.

Use analytics for the bigger picture

The first thing to establish is where your web traffic is coming from. Again, the sources are bound to be numerous, but a set of analytics results would be a good place to start and will likely illustrate where the bulk of leads originate. If digital isn’t your thing, then lean on your website or software suppliers to explain it.

Your next move is to examine how your brand appears across each of these channels. Such is the scope of online operations that this will likely involve discussions with senior management at your dealership. When you have a clear idea of what is being projected where, you then have an opportunity to revise it for the better. If you discover inconsistencies, or things that just don’t look as though they tally up – different designs, information or promotions, for example – now is your chance to synchronise the whole operation, and shape your digital image into a coherent format.

Tailor messages to your buyers

As with any business, the customer has to come first, so along with rendering your online messages consistent, it’s important to also make them as relevant as possible. While they come in all shapes and sizes, you know your customers better than anyone else, so you’re best placed to dictate a strategy that accurately targets them (and within it, a differentiated audience, as you’re likely selling products at different price points).

If, for example, style is a big focus for your brand, then a campaign that’s heavy on the images, rolled out across all digital channels, is probably a better bet than text-heavy communication, while those short on time will appreciate punchy messages, or maybe even video round-ups.

Mechanical matters are the final element in the consistency game. Every social media post, blog, or video should have a path that directs the customer to your website and, ultimately, to visit the showroom. Industry experts agree that businesses with the most successful online operations are those that reflect their brand at every stage, leaving customers with an easy digital route and in no doubt about the retailer’s message.

Topics: analytics, customer journey, shopping process