Artificial intelligence (AI) has integrated into business practices. AI is used to help predict customer preferences via algorithms online. AI also is used by companies to create digitized voice activated assistants that help guide customers; Siri and Alexa are just two examples.
While AI might seem sci-fi adjacent to some dealerships, there is one way that all dealerships can (and should) use AI. Chatbots or virtual online shopping assistants can be implemented via dealership websites to help customers who are shopping for a new car at home.
Why Should Dealerships Use Chatbots or AI Assistants?
Some dealerships might not be ready for the advent of AI. Why are chatbots or virtual assistants even necessary?
AI is here, and it’s likely here to stay. AI isn’t a futuristic story, it’s an everyday reality. If dealerships aren’t implementing this technology, they could be falling behind their competition and perhaps even isolating customers.
Chatbots aren’t as scary as they sound. These ‘bots aren’t the same as the type that some tech CEOs loathe. Bots on Twitter are essentially fake accounts; they are not real people.
Chatbots aren’t real people necessarily, but they are a bit of a normal expectation for the online shopping experience. The benefit of a chatbot is that the AI is programmed with all the information necessary for a shopper’s needs and questions.
Implementing AI chatbots also means that the dealership doesn’t need a member of their sales force to sit online and interact with customers on the screen. That job belongs to AI. The sales team is free to sell.
What Can Chatbots Do?
The purpose of the chatbot or personal assistant is to be an online representative of the dealership. These AI ‘bots are designed as customer service assistants. Most shoppers have come into contact with AI chatbots.
Typically, shoppers might just type in a question and this prompts an answer from the AI assistant. The user also could have a provided list prompts to choose.
Chatbots need to be programmed. This means that the dealership would need to invest in the technology. However, the investment could pay off in man hours that would be necessary to do the same job. Again, a member of the sales team no longer needs to sit online to act as the online virtual assistant.
AI Can Help Dealerships Predict the Needs of Customers
While chatbots might be a widely-embraced use of artificial intelligence for businesses and car dealerships, AI technology also can be utilized to predict the upcoming needs of customers.
The site myautoIQ details how streaming giant Netflix suggests content based on users’ previous viewing history. AI is at the heart of these intelligent suggestions.
How can the predictive abilities of AI be useful to car dealerships? MyautoIQ explains that AI can be used to better understand a customer’s buying preferences and it also can be used to offer individualized marketing for each customer.
AI for Ads: Many Dealerships are Using It
While some dealerships might be hesitant to dip their toes into AI, the tech may be unavoidable for those who want to compete. However, many dealerships might be benefiting from AI and not even know it.
Does the dealership advertise online via Facebook? Those ads can be targeted to specific consumers and even focused on a small geographic area. Ads can zero in on the right buyers for the dealership, and this can help boost sales and online visibility, too.
No one quite knows the secret recipe of Google’s algorithms and no one likely ever will (unless they actually work at Google). However, these algorithm’s target certain words, phrases, links, data, content and other details for every single page on the internet.
These algorithms allow users to see the best results at the top of their search query. While they weren’t always powered by AI, that is now changing.
According to the site AIMultiple: “…Google has incorporated deep learning into its search engine. And with its head of AI taking over search, the company seems to believe this is the way forward.”
Is Augmented Reality a Form of AI?
Auto manufacturers and dealerships might offer an augmented reality tool that allows car shoppers to preview any vehicle in their environment. Is augmented reality and virtual reality technology a part of AI?
Augmented reality and virtual reality are separate technologies from AI. However, artificial intelligence could be a part of augmented reality or virtual reality. This may come into play more in the future when these technologies become even more advanced.
The metaverse could be incorporated with predictive AI technology while visitors explore the metaverse in either augmented reality or virtual reality, but who knows what Meta and other companies will develop.
Can Dealerships Just Say No to AI?
Consider AI to be to the business of today and tomorrow what computers were back in the early ‘80s. Back when the computer was first introduced, no one could really fathom what they would—and eventually did—become.
Computers changed everything. That gross black carbon paper was no longer needed when accepting a credit card for purchases. Instead, a simple computer device does all the work. Typewriters are a beast of the past. Even paper documents were replaced by computer files.
AI might be the new supercomputer. Artificial intelligence is augmenting business and simplifying the search for products and services for customers. Suddenly, going online now results in new ads that are targeted to the individual.
Did you search for bandages? Perhaps you need ointment, too? Did you recently buy a new vacuum? You need some other cleaning tools!
AI offers predictive technology that dealerships can use to their benefit, too. Suggest different vehicles to customers or even service options. AI can be customized to each business’ needs and the needs and demands of its customers.
However, the simplest way that dealerships might find to implement this technology in the beginning is just by offering a chatbot to customers shopping online. Embrace the ‘bot and the AI virtual customer service specialist to decrease human resource costs and save sales team members time. Let them focus instead on the customers coming into the dealership.
With AI, dealerships can meet their customer’s needs and they can do it intelligently. While the idea of ‘bots taking over a website seems like science fiction, this technology is very much rooted in the here and now.
Once dealerships feel comfortable with AI, they might utilize the technology in other ways. Whether many dealerships know it or not, though, AI has already entered their world and their business. Dealerships advertising on Facebook via Facebook Ads are likely targeting those ads to a specific audience in a specific location.
Online ads now offer an intelligence that dealerships couldn’t fathom in the past. The right customer can be identified and the ad can just be seen by this specific audience.
Dealerships who are hesitating on using artificial intelligence might find themselves lagging behind the competition. As this technology starts to dominate the automotive industry, dealerships that don’t embrace AI in their business might be stifled by the ‘bots.