How AI is Transforming Dealership Marketing

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is infiltrating the daily habits of humans. Virtual assistants like Alexa and Siri can be used to power the home; with one simple verbal command, individuals can order food, turn on a light or even play a favorite song. AI also powers vehicles through technology, some self-driving functions and in-vehicle virtual assistants.

In addition, the power of AI also helps move car inventory for dealerships and aid buyers searching for their new vehicle. Here are three ways AI is transforming dealership marketing and how dealerships can use AI to harness sales power:

  • AI chat functions
  • Targeted advertisements
  • Predictive technology

AI Chat Functions

As consumers spend more time online to research and shop for vehicles, dealerships might enhance their online resources to help maximize customer service outreach for these virtual shoppers. AI can be used to create automated customer service functions—aka chatbots.

An AI chat function allows a customer or site visitor to type in a question and receive help. The AI tool analyzes the question and processes it in order to generate the best resources for the customer.

There are some downsides to chatbots, though. These AI resources could be limited in their ability to understand and process the data presented to them. In addition, customers could phrase a question oddly and this phrasing could skew results.

However, for dealerships with a limited staff, chatbots could offer a convenient resource for online customer service. The AI option also could help the dealership save money on additional staff and save time for current staff.

Targeted Advertisements Understand the Audience

Dealerships might choose to advertise via Facebook or other online sites. With online ads, AI could provide insight to reaching the best audience. For example, ads can be targeted to a specific age demographic or even a particular geographic range. AI helps the ad find the best audience to increase their ad’s effectiveness and overall impact.

For dealerships with a limited ad budget, using AI-powered ads can help them get the most impact out of their investment. Facebook offers a detailed explanation to advertisers about how the social media platform uses machine-learning to aid ad impact.

How AI is Transforming Dealership Marketing

Predictive Technology Helps Show Buyers What They Might Want

Almost everyone who uses the internet has probably received a recommendation or product suggestion based on a search query related to a recent purchase. For example, a platform like Etsy might send users an email to show them products that they might like based on previous searches or purchases.

These emails, ads and recommendations all use predictive technology, which is another type of AI. Predictive technology analyzes data to make suggestions based on the interests of users or from their search queries. An individual who searches for a reusable water bottle might start to see other ads from the company they visited or ads from companies that make similar products.

An individual who searched for ‘new cars for 2022’ might notice ads about new car models from dealerships in their area. In addition, social media users also could have ads targeted to them based on their history or other factors.

Predictive technology design could differ for each company, site or search engine. This type of AI, though, is prominent throughout the internet. In fact, it might be a nuisance to some users as predictive technology is indicative of data collection and analysis.

Types of Technology that Are Not AI

Artificial intelligence denotes technology that uses a program that can predict, analyze and/or understand data, user habits and/or even verbal instruction. According to the site BuiltIn, AI is “…capable of performing tasks that typically require human intelligence. “

While AI encompasses many different types of tasks, this technology isn’t a catch-all phrase for every type of unique high-tech function found online. Users might conflate other high-tech experiences with AI. What technology isn’t considered AI?

  • Augmented reality
  • Virtual reality
  • Interactive imagery

Augmented Reality

Augmented reality is not considered artificial intelligence, although some augmented reality experiences could include AI capabilities. However, augmented reality is simply a term used to describe a technology that combines the real world environment with digital graphics.

Augmented reality is accessed via a smartphone or tablet camera. The camera captures the environment in which the users want to visualize and explore the experience. Then the user can drop in the augmented reality graphics and begin the experience.

This type of technology can be used as a preview experience for clothes, makeup or even paint for a room. With augmented reality, users can capture a wall and see the paint color appear using the camera to navigate. Some augmented reality experiences let users drop in a model of a vehicle to explore it; a to-scale model of the vehicle could appear in a garage, a living room or anywhere the user wishes to explore it.

Virtual Reality

Virtual reality requires an individual to have either a headset or goggles to enjoy the experience. Once the user dons the headset, they are transported to another realm (visually). Virtual reality lets them use handheld controllers or other devices to navigate experiences.

A virtual reality experience could enable the user to enter a depiction of a showroom and walk around a new car model and even look inside it. Some video games are experienced in virtual reality, and users might fight enemies or walk around a unique world and feel as though they are part of the action.

Interactive Imagery

Interactive imagery is any image that lets the user explore it in 3D. For example, EVOX Images offers spin photos that are designed to invite exploration. Individuals can use either their fingertip (for smartphones or tablets) or a mouse to rotate the image in 360 degrees.

Interactive spin images can depict a vehicle’s interior, too. These photos are navigated in the same way as other types of spin photos. However, users can look all around the interior of the car to explore it. These types of images don’t include any type of AI technology.

How AI is Transforming Dealership Marketing

How Is AI Used During the Drive?

The rise of AI is hard for consumers to ignore. In fact, AI is becoming part of the drive as well as part of daily life. Again, AI is used in homes for technology like virtual assistants in smart homes and the hubs that control the home.

In vehicles, AI can be used in technology like self-driving features. While consumers cannot purchase a self-driving car or a vehicle that is fully autonomous, some electric vehicle models allow for some auto-driving functions. However, the driver still needs to be aware and in control when using this AI type of assistance.

Some car brands also have their own unique in-car virtual assistants. These AI assistants can understand simple voice commands that let the driver control aspects of their vehicle. Virtual assistants can help ensure that the driver doesn’t take their attention off the road.

AI also might be incorporated into other predictive technology options in cars like front crash protection and other safety features that require the car to anticipate or understand certain scenarios. In addition, future car technologies might include more AI powered features.

Nissan’s Invisible-to-Visible (I2V) technology is still in the design process. However, this technology will include elements of augmented reality and artificial intelligence. For example, I2V will allow the car to understand possible obstacles up ahead and find open parking spots. The technology also will include augmented reality features that are visible to the driver through special glasses; avatars of friends could appear in the car, and the technology could transform windows to make a cloudy day look much brighter.

Using AI for Dealership Marketing

Artificial intelligence allows marketing to be smarter and more targeted. This technology also is powering our daily lives and the drive, too. For dealerships, is AI the power for more sales?

Automated chatbots or chat functions can incorporate AI to provide online customer service functions. Customers could type in a question or request, and the AI bot processes the data to provide the best and most relevant response for the individual’s needs. For dealerships that are short staffed or who don’t have the budget to hire an employee to provide online customer service, these chatbots could be a convenient resource that helps them save money, too.

Dealerships with limited ad dollars might need to ensure that the ads they utilize reach the best audience to maximize possible sales conversion rates. AI is used to target advertising to the right demographic and the best geographic range. In this way, dealerships can reach the audience they need to hopefully enhance the rate of sales.

AI also can be used to predict the needs of consumers. For example, an individual could receive product recommendations based on previous purchases or searches. The car search could utilize this type of AI, too. A shopper who was looking at a small SUV might be shown similar SUVs in a dealership’s used inventory.

In the future, AI might provide even more automated resources for consumers while also helping businesses boost their reach and target the ideal customer demographic. Car dealerships can research how AI can help them harness their sales power to move more inventory.