Creating a Friction-Free Auto Buyer Journey with relevant and persistent AI conversations across online and offline channels.

Creating a friction free auto buyer journey

Today’s auto buyer journey is extremely complex with multiple touch points. But today’s buyers want this experience to be convenient, quick and simple, while at the same time need it to be be unique and personalized to their specific needs. 

With growing data access and smartphone usage means there is an unprecedented number of people coming online who are searching for cars. 

Customer research that was traditionally done in person by visiting dealerships is now taking place primarily on smartphones and online, flipping the traditional route to car buying on its head.

An Auto Gearshift Study 2017 by Google-Kantar TNS surveyed consumers who were interested in buying a car in India and found that 89% of all car purchases in India were digitally influenced—up 14% from last year. 

Friction occurs in the auto buyer journey whenever a buyer is faced with an additional step, incremental process, or inconvenience that causes them to abandon their purchase journey. 

Impact of Friction on Auto Buyer Journey 

Friction can occur online and offline, causing buyers to dawdle due to unnecessary waiting, typing, clicking, queuing, and form filling. This can adversely impact their experience with the manufacturers, which, in turn, could affect the auto buyer journey. 

Auto buyers prefer to follow the path of the least resistance and avoid anything that makes it challenging for them to move to the next step or make a purchase. This is due to the high cost of purchasing a car and auto buyers investing in a service that will last at least ten years. As a result, a seamless auto buyer journey is critical in instilling faith in car manufacturer services and efficiency to make the final purchase decision. 

According to multiple studies, auto consumer pain points cause friction across three main stages of the auto buyer journey: awareness, consideration, and intent, as listed below.

Unconsciously, car manufacturers may be introducing friction into the consumer experience, further extending to the auto buyer journey. 

  1. Awareness Friction: Every touchpoint, whether present or missing, compels a potential auto buyer to make an effort to discover a brand. 
  2. Consideration Friction: Every touchpoint, whether present or missing, necessitates a potential auto buyer to make an effort to examine a brand. 
  3. Intent Friction: Every touchpoint, whether present or missing, urges the potential auto buyer to make an effort to purchase a car from a brand. 

Customer Touch-points along the Auto Buyer Journey

Every interaction an auto buyer has with the car dealer or manufacturer on their way to buying their dream car, no matter how small or large, is a touchpoint. This ranges from an advert that the customer sees about the vehicle to the checkout process and a car arriving at the customer’s door.

Each stage of the auto buyer’s journey has its variety of touch-points, and the level of friction around them will ultimately determine whether the auto buyer buys the car.

Although touch-points form an experience, they are not static, one-way channels. The data collected from auto buyer behaviour through each touchpoint informs how the customer interacts with the brand during the purchase journey.

Today’s automotive marketplace requires superior technology and an unmatched ability to understand human behaviour. Every day, thousands of consumers purchase automobiles. Automotive brands are learning to fill this gap by introducing intelligent and efficient conversational AI tools like Convert to meet the growing demands of their customers. 

Ensuring Friction - Free Auto Buyer Journey with Conversational AI

Marketers are beginning to recognize the importance of having meaningful connections with customers. The marketers of auto manufacturers and dealers have realized that they need to understand, hear directly from customers, and take all the possible measures to get at the necessary data. However, the journey involves several manual listening or combing through transcripts. Therefore, reducing friction in the auto buyer journey is not easy, but if done correctly, can significantly increase the buyer experience, their brand preference and ultimately brand favourability. 

The marketers of auto manufacturers are making efforts to attain first-party data to automate processes that will allow them to serve a wider audience without possibly listening to tens of thousands of calls. They also face challenges connecting this to all the digital identifiers and optimising their marketing. Therefore, they take a spot check approach instead, leaving a lot of potential revenue tied up in the call centre.

The rising customer expectations are pushing change at an unprecedented rate. So innovative car manufacturers are turning to Conversational AI to beat challenges and surpass competitors. 

Here’s how AI is making an unforgettable auto buyer journey not only possible but also a competitive imperative: 

1. Improved Visibility Into Customer Sentiment

Marketers of auto manufacturers need to focus on the most effective channels at different stages, reasons for buyers’ frustration, and reasons for buyers’ falling off completely to create a compelling auto buyer journey.

While sentiment analysis is nothing new, conversational AI tools do it more accurately and in real-time for deeper, more meaningful insights into buyer attitudes throughout the vehicle lifecycle. Brands can capture and analyze data on customer sentiment at the moment, unraveling values and motivations that impact buying decisions.

Improved visibility into opinions along the auto buyer journey can highlight what’s working, what’s not, and why, making it easier to anticipate auto buyer needs and meet demands as they unfold.

2. Right Content, Right Time

It's easier to match your consumers with the correct content after you've figured out how they behave online. Your decisions about the type of content, messaging, and service offerings you present to them along their journeys determine whether you build happy, informed advocates. Get your content wrong, and the journey ends there.

The excellent news is ORI has designed Convert AI to help auto manufacturers develop better customer journey maps and storyboards for improved targeting and customized messaging based on where customers are and how likely they are to buy. 

A global two wheeler brand - Bajaj Auto, used Convert AI to lift their conversions by 14X.

You can view the case study here.

Conversational AI algorithms recalculate in real-time, allowing marketers to instantly place the best offers before customers, even as they change their minds. It creates a single, integrated customer profile using offline and online data, allowing you to personalise campaigns across channels and target customers with precision, based on their preferences, sentiment and first party conversational insights. 

3. Increasingly Smarter Bots

Gartner predicts that by 2021, more than 50% of enterprises will spend more per annum on chatbot creation than traditional mobile app development.

More intelligent and sophisticated virtual assistants anticipate auto buyer needs and build relationships that drive outstanding experiences. Today, they’re not only handling auto buyer inquiries and placing orders, but also engaging auto buyers throughout the entire lifecycle — from awareness to purchase and maintenance.

ORI created Convert AI - a conversational AI platform - to simplify the process of lead capture, assist in buyer and dealership sync, and provide in-depth insights. It engages with auto buyers, helps with product discovery, and convinces them for a test drive, all of this being fully automated. Hence, providing room to the sales team to focus on improving the post-test drive conversions.

Here is how Royal Enfield used Convert AI to improve test drive conversions for a new bike launch. 


4. Personalised Dynamic Pricing

The right price is often the deciding factor in a purchase, and ORI’s Convert AI drives real-time pricing — only personalized. Moving beyond yesterday’s dynamic pricing, this conversational AI tool allows unique offers on an individualized level. As customer preferences change, so will the pricing and comparison benchmarks, resulting in one in-store price and one personalized price for the auto buyer.

Personalized dynamic pricing allows extracting the correct information about buying behaviors as they occur, so you can present the best products to your customers at the correct prices and on the fly.

5. AI facilitates the buyer journey from product identification to decision.

Convert AI platform by ORI, can identify trends by analyzing search history and social media to provide better car recommendations. It can help car dealers and manufacturers increase their profits by optimizing their retail strategy by continuously assessing market performance via data mined from millions of high-quality customers and other sources. It plays a significant role by assisting brands in identifying cars that are selling well but have descriptions that are hard to understand.

The system also seamlessly integrated with CRM’s and Marketing automation platforms to 

6. AI enhances customer support.

The sheer volume and complexity of orders, queries, services make a personalized auto buyer experience expensive. Customer Support Agents cannot respond to every issue that the auto buyer seeks in their buyer journey.

Using AI-driven solutions, repetitive queries and issues are automatically resolved without sacrificing the personal experience many businesses are desperate to maintain. Conversational AI solutions are becoming more popular as a result of the large number of tickets that can be automated, relieving critical resources to be used on more complicated issues.

7. Post-sales is just as crucial as pre-sales

Making sure the auto buyer enjoys their purchase, maintains it, and potentially makes further purchases has become as important as the initial sale process. Auto buyers now expect a holistic experience, and post-sales and servicing are part of that journey.

Ensuring a frictionless experience after the purchase is one of the essential parts of the buyer's journey. It's also vital to make sure issues are resolved and a frictionless post sales service experience is created for the buyer.

Conversational AI helps auto manufacturers create a closer connection to their customers and automate the entire post sale process to create scheduled service updates, share best vehicle care practices and also possibly help build a community around the brand. 

Final Thoughts

Due to the higher and ever-increasing levels of complexity in the auto buyer journey, there are many more touchpoints between the customer and the business. This means there is more opportunity for things to go wrong and a higher level of attention to detail and care needed than ever before.

Not addressing this complexity risks loss of potential customers and reduced customer loyalty, and fewer repeat sales. However, this also means more opportunities for companies and dealers that use AI to bolster their offerings. 

As mentioned above, Conversational AI can help improve workflow and increase efficiencies while enhancing the auto buyer journey.

It is also important to bridge the gap between online and offline experiences, as customers want a consistent holistic approach to their purchases. Businesses need to ensure that the consumer experience is as frictionless as possible. 

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