While inventory, or lack of it, has been the talking point amongst dealers and OEMs for the past few months, the long-standing conversation with dealers and the manufacturers for years has been around dealership traffic. Dealerships want more customer traffic and they spend time, effort, and money with internet follow up, BDCs, and technology vendors to achieve it. OEMs want to measure traffic counts and traffic quality to better understand if and how their advertising is effective in moving the needle.
For nearly 15 years, Automotive Broadcasting Network has been providing immersive in-dealership experiences for customers along with right place, right time advertising to promote upselling and cross selling for every dealership profit center. Engaging showroom customers with compelling content on managed digital signage networks has always been our specialty. We have now developed a new product, ABN Traffic, to count those customers and provide dealers and OEMs with the visitor data they have been seeking for so long.
ABN Traffic is a small piece of hardware installed centrally in the dealership that detects customers’ smartphone signals to measure showroom traffic and provide powerful real-time insights.
A local client of Automotive Broadcasting Network, Nimnicht Buick GMC, has been piloting the product for several months.
On a recent visit to the dealership to see how the pilot was progressing, General Manager Jackie Lynch told us about how he used the data compiled by the device to fill in what he believed to be a process gap by his team.
Here’s what happened:
It was March. It was spring break in our area and one of the largest PGA Tour events, The Players, also happened to be going on in town at the same time. Not necessarily the greatest week to be selling cars. Or so the team at the Nimnicht Buick GMC thought.
Defying expectations, the team sold 47 cars in that timeframe. As pleased as Jackie Lynch was about the sales, he was disappointed that his team only logged 68 visitors in the CRM for the week. His team is good, really good, but a close rate near 70% was pretty high.
The data on the ABN Traffic dashboard also showed 68 visitors, so now Jackie thought both the CRM and ABN Traffic were incorrect. Our team worked with him and the dealership’s BDC manager to dig deeper into the data, and what we found validated and explained the count and the high close percentage.
The vast majority of the 68 logged visitors for the week was be-back traffic. Since these customers already knew what the dealership was offering, they returned primed and ready to buy after having weighed their offer or shopped the market a little.
“I was really glad we had ABN Traffic to help us make sense of the numbers,” Jackie Lynch said. “It gives me a really good idea on how to advertise during Players week next year. And, it reminds my salespeople to follow up more persistently with prospects who have already visited the store. Those are just deals waiting to happen.”
The moral of the story is CRM data alone is not enough. Capturing a customer’s information and understanding their behavior are two completely different things. While a CRM entry, assuming it gets made, will record a visit, the car or cars the customer viewed, and maybe have some notes on their level of interest, ABN Traffic records vital information like dwell time and number of visits. This provides a more developed picture of the effectiveness of your marketing, your processes and your team’s execution, ultimately validating your CRM.
“We appreciate having data we can rely on to help us plan campaigns and strategies to reach our customers. We review it daily to measure our short-term effectiveness then look at it for the whole month to evaluate our ad spend versus our results.,” Jackie Lynch told us.
“We also use it to plan our month. We set our sales goals, and then, since we know our actual traffic counts and our close percentage, we can figure out what we need to do to get the right number of customers in the store to hit our goals.”
Your dealership’s CRM contains a great deal of information about your customers, but it does not tell you enough to make truly informed decisions regarding your business. It has an active collection requirement – a human being must enter information – and it only requires minimal information to constitute an entry. A passive data collector – one that is always working and requires no human interaction – like ABN Traffic, complements your CRM to help you move your business forward.
Like all well-organized and purposefully collected data, the information you receive from ABN Traffic will help you plan and budget as you look ahead. As in the case of Jackie Lynch at Nimnicht Buick GMC, it can also help provide clarity and validation around events that seem like they are one-offs. Had he been left with no explanation for that great sales week, the behavior would not have been repeatable. Now, he and his team have processes in place to better serve be-back traffic and are looking ahead to Players week next year with great expectations.
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