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Capitalize on the Holiday Shopping Lift All Year Long

Gifts are top of mind this time of year, and many dealerships are hoping to receive a big one as we kick off 2019: exceeding sales goals.  

Initial shopping indicators are positive. Dealertrack data showed a 53 percent uptick in auto credit application volume on the most recent Black Friday compared to prior Fridays in November. Dealer.com data showed a 4 percent increase in vehicle detail page views and 7 percent increase for mobile visits on this year’s Black Friday compared with other Fridays in November.  

This increased activity is great news for dealerships. With a few simple and smart actions, the spike in car shopping can continue to provide good tidings well into 2019.  

To carry the holiday shopping lift into 2019, dealers and their teams need the right CRM and data practices to make meaningful connections with car shoppers that can be converted into sales. They need to make sure customer leads – gifts waiting to be opened in 2019 – aren’t squandered because of poor data management. 

So what can a dealer do to capitalize on the shopping traffic of the holiday season? Data hygiene must be a top priority. Ensuring your CRM is only populated with clean data gives sales teams the recent, personal and accurate customer data they need to uniquely tailor each customer’s shopping experience – giving your dealership an advantage over the guys down the street who haven’t updated their data in months. 

Dealerships can ensure their data is clean by logging every customer interaction – both online and in-store – and periodically updating or deleting dirty, outdated data. One particular area of focus should be duplicate data in a CRM, which can drag down customer satisfaction as well as sales success rates.  

Let’s say, for example, a salesperson enters a customer into the CRM under a nickname, “Danny,” but the manager later enters the same customer under his legal name, “Daniel.” Now, Danny has two separate customer profiles in the CRM, meaning he receives two emails, two mailers and two phone calls every time a marketing campaign is launched or a follow-up task fires in the CRM.  

Not only does this duplication bother the customer, putting your CSI scores at risk, but marketing to the same person in the exact same way twice also wastes marketing money, putting the dealership’s bottom line at risk. 

Software integration is key to eliminating this type of duplicate data. Integrations between your CRM and other key dealership software platforms, such as VinSolutions Connect CRM’s integration with vAuto’s inventory management software, reduce the need to enter and re-enter customer data – thus reducing the risk of duplicate, dirty data.  

These software integrations can also help dealerships improve the customer experience by providing a more comprehensive view of a customer’s history and recent activity. But to really improve customer experience, expand customer data collection beyond clicks and calls. Capture personal details, like hobbies, careers and interests, that paint a more detailed picture of what type of vehicle might be the right match. Maybe a customer likes to fish on the weekends and needs a vehicle that can tow a boat. These details help build stronger relationships, which results in higher customer satisfaction and retention. 

We all know this is a busy time of year for dealerships, but by cleaning data and adding a personal touch, dealers can maximize profits and ensure customer satisfaction and relationships. This hectic holiday shopping season can provide a gift that keeps giving all year round.  

This article originally appeared in WardsAuto. 

Mo Zahabi

Senior Director, Product Consulting

Mo Zahabi is the Senior Director of Product Consulting at VinSolutions and Dealertrack, where he educates dealers on best practices and ensures their offerings exceed industry expectations. Mo has applied his strong foundation in technology-based applications to the automotive industry for the last 18 years. Prior to joining VinSolutions in 2008, Mo was a respected Internet Director and eCommerce Director for two different automotive groups.

Connect with Mo Zahabi on Linkedin or shoot them a note.

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