Machine learning is changing the automotive industry, creating opportunities for dealerships to get more personal and effective in running your businesses. Machine learning can fuel the 4Ps of Automotive Marketing™ (product, price, place, and person) in some remarkable ways. But the topic is not always easy to understand – so let’s break it down for you.
What Is Machine Learning?
Machine learning is a form of artificial intelligence in which computers train themselves to make smarter decisions. The self-learning comes from reading vast amounts of data (usually too vast for people to analyze quickly and accurately).
Netflix uses machine learning to make personalized recommendations to each customer by studying viewers’ habits to anticipate movies and TV programs you might not have thought of yourself. Spotify sifts through vast amounts of listening data – both yours and the people you follow – to recommend playlists that create true music discovery rather than simply replicate what you’ve been listening to already.
Is Machine Learning the Same as Artificial Intelligence?
Technically, no. Artificial intelligence is a broader term to describe computers emulating the way people think and act – including performing tasks such as speaking and walking. The ability for a computer to learn and decide what tasks to perform is machine learning.
How does machine learning make dealerships more effective?
Machine learning is the ultimate support engine to the 4Ps of Automotive Marketing. Machine learning helps dealerships make more personalized recommendations throughout the shopping journey and also makes it possible for dealerships to price their inventory in a more dynamic way. Potential applications include:
- Your website offers smarter, more personal product recommendations to each shopper based on each person’s browsing behavior, especially vehicles that might not have been obvious to the shopper. A website employing machine learning can rapidly combine a person’s interests in product and price, and can recommend similar products with more pinpoint accuracy.
- Your search and retargeting investments also become more personalized as your machine-learning-enabled CRM tools comb vast sets of user data.
- A dealer that employs a virtual service advisor can perform tasks such as scheduling service appointments proactively.
- A dealership dynamically prices its vehicles based on marketplace conditions, similar to how Amazon employs dynamic pricing to adjust the price of the books in its brick-and-mortar stores.
And those applications represent the tip of the iceberg.
What’s the benefit of machine learning?
Machine learning accelerates the purchase decision by recommending the right product and price at the right time. According to research/advisory firm Outsell, dealerships using machine learning report four-to-14 additional vehicle sales each month and a 22-percent increase in customer retention.[i]
How should I get started adopting machine learning?
CRM and pricing tools are getting better at employing machine learning already. Cars.com does not recommend any particular solution. As a next step, we recommend you research software packages that are market-ready. Even if you don’t select one, the process of searching will provide a self-education. You’re just a Google search away!
For more insight into how to build your business, contact Cars.com. We’re your growth partner.
[i] Outsell, “Automotive Marketing Future Trends: The Rise of Artificial Intelligence.”