Today Cars.com announced a fundamental change to our site that re-imagines the car shopping experience. The new Cars.com Matchmaking Experience uses machine learning to give consumers personalized vehicle recommendations based on their lifestyle preferences. The more Cars.com learns about a person’s interests, the smarter and more personal the recommendations become.
As a result, Cars.com sends to dealers shoppers who are not only better informed but also more inspired to fall in love with the car of their dreams. Dealerships benefit not only from a more qualified lead on the lot but a more engaged customer online: A pilot of Matchmaking Experience has resulted in a 752 percent increase in profile creation on the site, 87 percent increase in return visitors, 225 percent increase in email leads and two times the number of page views per visitor versus the traditional search experience.[i]
An Experience Like Tinder
The Matchmaking Experience is the result of Cars.com adapting to consumer needs that are being shaped in industries outside automotive. Automotive shoppers expect the personalized and easy experience that they get on sites such as Netflix, Spotify, and Tinder. Even though seven out of 10 consumers are undecided about make and model when they shop for a new car[ii], nearly all online car search experiences force people to select make or model as the initial step in their journey — instead of first learning about the shopper and offering intelligent suggestions based on those learnings.
Cars.com is providing the personalization that shoppers want. Here is how the experience works:
- We first ask site visitors to tell us about themselves. People share their feedback with more than 15 different lifestyle preferences, such as whether they’re sun lovers, eco-friendly, or a big family.
- Cars.com delivers up to 20 recommended matches based on user preferences and sentiment analysis.
- People tell us whether they like or don‘t like the recommendations offered.
- Based on shoppers’ choices, the site applies a proprietary machine learning algorithm to make smarter recommendations until the shopper finds the car of their dreams.
Delivering Stronger Leads to Dealerships
With Matchmaking Experience, Cars.com appeals to both the emotional and rational sides of car shopping, combining the visceral thrill of discovery with the confidence of learning. For 20 years we have delivered to dealerships the most qualified customers in the market by giving shoppers a destination to become better informed about their choice of a vehicle and automotive retailer. We have also succeeded by adapting. Now we’re acting as a navigator, guiding shoppers through the multitude of makes and models after we first learn about the person at the center of the experience: the customer.
A Personalization Strategy
Matchmaking is central to Cars.com’s strategy to transform car shopping and selling through personalization. The new experience and campaign is just one piece of the larger plan. Within the last year, Cars.com also launched Salesperson Connect, a feature that connects shoppers to a salesperson before ever visiting a dealership; and Best Match, a new sorting feature that gives shoppers relevant vehicle search recommendations.
For more information on how Matchmaking delivers an even more qualified customer to dealerships, contact your Cars.com representative.
[i] Cars.com Internal Data, Matchmaking Pilot scaled to 50% audience, July 5, 2018-July 19, 2018
[ii] Cars.com consumer metrics, 2018.