AutoLoop Study Finds Customer Digital Engagement Is Leading Purchase Indicator
Standard measures of loyalty fall far short of the strongest predictor of all: the level at which a customer digitally engages with an auto dealership
CLEARWATER, FL – April 18, 2017 – AutoLoop LLC, the leading provider of auto industry marketing and customer relationship management solutions that successfully drive the Sell, Service, Repeat cycle, today announced that the level of customers' digital engagement is by far the strongest purchase sign for auto dealerships, according to survey results from AutoLoop's 2016 Digital Engagement (ADE) study.
"For years, dealerships and their marketing companies have relied on a variety of factors to identify and target loyal customers. Traditional indicators include the amount a customer has spent at a dealership, vehicle characteristics, financing methods and more," said Doug Van Sach, AutoLoop’s Vice President of Analytics and Data Services. "Our study shows these standard measures of loyalty fall far short of the strongest predictor of all: the level at which a customer digitally engages with an auto dealership."
Digital engagement is defined as any form of interaction by a customer with a dealer’s digital touchpoints, including visiting a dealer’s website, clicking on a display ad, opting into SMS text messages, downloading a mobile app, making an online appointment, watching a video, submitting an online review or liking a dealer’s Facebook page.
AutoLoop's study revealed that highly engaged customers, defined as interacting with a dealership’s digital property five or more times in the past year, are six times as likely to make a vehicle purchase and more than twice as likely to get their vehicle(s) serviced at a dealership, compared with customers who had low or no digital engagement with a dealership. Based on their Net Promoter Score® (NPS), highly engaged customers are also over three times more likely to refer a friend or family member to a dealer.
"Our study reveals that highly engaged customers are a significant portion of a dealer's business and an important source of future revenue," said Van Sach. "Additionally, digital engagement is a modern and highly predictive way of being able to identify customers with the highest value potential. Our findings reinforce the need for dealers to further their investment in digital tools to enhance and streamline the consumer experience."
Based on the study data, AutoLoop suggests an effective strategy for auto dealerships to boost sales is to focus on increasing the level of digital engagement with customers. One way to accomplish this is by giving customers more ways to digitally interact with a dealer, including interactive vehicle shopping tools, email newsletters, videos, social media postings and more.
The findings of AutoLoop's study are supported by a recent Think with Google report that tracked one consumer who had 900 digital interactions in the three-month period leading up to her decision to lease a minivan. "Think with Google's report shows there are numerous opportunities for dealers to ensure that their brand is both visible and useful to customers while they research online," said Van Sach. "A complete digital media strategy starts with a thorough understanding of the different levels of customer engagement. This includes the different ways in which customers use digital channels throughout the car-buying and vehicle ownership process. Dealers will be challenged to better coordinate the activities across all of their digital properties to create the seamless experience customers are now demanding from any retailer, including automotive and non-automotive alike."
AutoLoop's 2016 Digital Engagement (ADE) study surveyed 1,000 auto consumers and analyzed the purchase behavior of over 4 million customers representing 1,000 dealerships from across the U.S.
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Since 2005, AutoLoop has helped automotive dealerships nationwide increase sales, improve client retention and achieve overall higher customer satisfaction ratings throughout the Sell, Service, Repeat cycle. With the AutoLoop Customer Engagement Suite—an all-encompassing platform that includes everything from CRM and automated messaging to equity mining, service scheduling and more—AutoLoop is the industry’s first and only single-vendor, end-to-end marketing and engagement solution. An Inc. 500 company with nearly 50 million names in its database and over a billion individual communications initiated, AutoLoop is passionate about being America's best customer retention partner for progressive dealerships.