December 27, 2010
The Social Influence
In 2010 the face of digital marketing continued to evolve with many new developments and potential directions ahead in 2011. A recent article in the Business section of Mashable, the top source for news in social and digital media, discussed predictions for the future of digital advertising.
Most notable for those of us in the automotive industry may be their #3 prediction: Influencers Will Be the Celebrities of the Social Web, the idea that many consumers are making decisions based on what they are reading on social sites, like reviews and comments on Facebook, Twitter, and others.
In our previous interview with Stephen Higgins, Social Media Manager for AutoNation, he stressed the importance of being in those spheres because of the influence the simplest comment on a social media site can have on consumer behavior.
The prediction that companies will be turning more and more to social media to market their brands rather than using outside marketing tactics is not a new idea, but certainly increasingly true as we move into the next year. Not having a presence in those areas is something consumers are starting to notice, expecting that even the smallest company or store will not only have a website, but also a Twitter account, LinkedIn, Facebook Fanpage, and more.
Facebook “Likes” may also be a more important factor in influencing consumers than the industry has yet to fully realize. The video below that was included in the Mashable article sums up some of the reasons why Facebook is so important.
December 20, 2010
This time of year customers are not only shopping for vehicles or accessories for themselves but also Christmas gifts for the car lover in their lives. There are many sites and lists out there describing great gift ideas for car lovers for the holidays. As customers are finishing up their last minute Christmas shopping, be sure you are prepared for the most wanted gifts on those lists.
Consumers are turning more and more to online shopping, and are increasingly more inclined to expect that dealerships will carry all of the accessories they might want, or at least be able to order them.
After vehicle purchase, as well as chats about parts and service, one of the most frequent requests coming into the Outsell Live Chat Center is about other general merchandise, everything from upgrading features on a customer’s vehicle to brand name T-shirts.
Common items on the car lover’s Christmas list this year are GPS navigation, satellite radio, warming seat covers, subscriptions to car magazines like TopGear, and portable vacuum cleaners for easy self-cleaning.
Good luck with Christmas sales this week for those open regular business hours and have a happy holiday!
October 25, 2010
Consumer Trends in the Chat Center
As a leading automotive digital marketing services firm, the hub of activity at Outsell is in the Chat Center dealing directly with our dealerships’ customers.
Some of the trends over the past year have been typical, such as customers looking to confirm availability on certain models, especially new models, and to get the best deal on pricing. The third most common question coming into chat is whether or not the dealership will assist a customer with poor or no credit, and if so, what types of programs are offered.
“Even if customers are doubtful they will receive help due to a poor financial situation, those chatters are the most likely to offer their information as potential leads in hopes of whatever assistance might be given,” said Customer Interaction Specialist, Sarah Tyler. Many people new to the Chat Center find this trend odd, but it is becoming a more and more common occurrence.
Economic times may still be difficult for many consumers, but financial lenders are finding other ways to assist with bad credit car loans. A recent article by Free Press Release Distribution said:
“With bad credit car loans, the financial lenders would not [always] evaluate the credit status of borrowers. However, the lenders might demand a collateral for the money offered as loan. This is a good way to secure the loan as the newly bought car itself can act as collateral.”
Customers consistently enter chat in the hopes that something similar can be worked out for them, and that they can avoid the usual large down payment or substantial APR associated with a bad credit car loan.
General Motors’ recent acquisition of the Texas-based subprime lender AmeriCredit on September 30th, now known as GM Financial as of October 1st, may make it even easier for some financially strapped car buyers to qualify for the loans they need.
GM’s chief financial officer, Chris Liddell, explained that:
“With AmeriCredit providing us niche capabilities in leasing and non-prime financing, along with the continued strong support of Ally Financial and others for prime retail and dealer financing, we’ve set up a very competitive solution for our financing needs…”
The automotive market may not be as closed to customers with poor credit as once believed, and Outsell anticipates that customers seeking bad credit car loan assistance will continue to be a large presence in our daily chats.