Last week, AutoPoint headed to the 16th Digital Dealer Conference & Exposition in Atlantic City, NJ. We were very excited to see many new faces that were able to attend the Digital Dealer Conference for the first time as it visited the Northeast. Sessions were all well attended & attendees were very active in the exhibit hall investigating all of the technology & solutions available. The excitement was palpable as attendees shared their experiences and content via social media. The hashtag #DD16 at one point was even trending worldwide on Twitter and began receiving inquiries from television media.
Our Product Marketing Director, Brent Wolsey, had the privilege of educating dealers with his standing room only session “Millennials in Your Service Drive – Technology Is the Key to Success.” In his session, he shared how the car market is changing. This new era of consumers holds less value and enthusiasm for vehicle ownership than any prior to it. They are highly informed, technologically savvy and not mechanically inclined. These Millennials are more selective when making choices on where to take their cars for service.
Brent went on to share why Millennials are so important to the success of dealerships; they are the fastest growing consumer generation; represent $2 billion in spending today; and are also extremely educated; more Millennials have an MBA than those that don’t have a degree at all. And by 2025 they will represent 75% of the workforce.
Millennials research online & compare pricing more than any other generation. They are very much comparison shoppers. Millennials feel very strongly about the importance of getting a good deal and will do everything possible to ensure that they get it. They are not necessarily cheap, they just like to get a better deal.
To effectively reach Millennials in our service areas, mobile marketing and communication is a necessity. 75% of Millennials access the Internet from their cell phones. In his presentation, Brent stressed the need to create a customer experience that is easily accessible and scalable for mobile. Dealers should communicate with Millennials in the manner most appealing to them. HOW we communicate with them is almost more important than WHAT we communicate. Unlike previous generations, Millennials have been using technology their entire life. They expect dealerships to use it.
Some key points from the presentation that covered what dealerships need to do to ensure that they capture this growing generation include:
- Ensure your dealership can be found online. If it takes more than 15-20 seconds to find a phone number on your website, the consumer will move on to the next dealership.
- Adopt text messaging for service visits, status updates and service reminders. The ability to text consumers during the course of their service visit to keep them informed of the status of their vehicle is a necessity with today’s tech savvy customers.
- Ensure you have a process in place to collect consumer reviews in service as online reviews speak volumes to Millennials. Millennials will definitely share their experience with their friends online via social media networks and review sites.
- Create quality consumer engagement with your online properties using well-designed apps and mobile websites that keep consumers connected to the service drive.
- Give Millennials the information they need to approve services by educating them so that they can make informed decisions. They want to feel empowered when it comes to their vehicle. If they don’t feel as if they have enough information to make an informed decision, their decision will be to decline the service until they have enough information.
- When Millennials need information, they will turn to social media and ask their network for advice, as well as conduct research. They will use their social networks to determine if the service is needed, and if they are getting a good deal.
- Create quality, short content on social media. Use it to educate consumers about various services to help them better understand the importance of the service and how it will benefit them. Millennials will make decisions on their own if they feel educated. Reinforce service recommendations with pictures and video. These serve to create a sense of urgency, as well as to educate the customer, which helps them make an immediate decision.
The biggest mistake a dealership can make with Millennials is to insult their intelligence. Dealerships need to be transparent and give them a fair deal. They are the most informed consumer and do their homework before a major purchase. The worst thing you could do is to make promises to keep the customer informed of their vehicle in service, and then fail to do so.
Last but certainly not least, Brent shared how dealers can create loyalists out of Millennials by following these suggestions:
- Don’t create “too-good-to-be-true” offers or over price something just to haggle later. Millennials will know whether your pricing is reasonable or not before making a decision.
- Engage them using the tools and technology that they like.
- Create an engaging customer experience that makes them feel valued.
Thanks to all of the dealers who attended Brent’s session and thanks to the administrators of the Digital Dealer Conference for another fantastic event.
If you weren’t at the show or didn’t get a chance to attend Brent’s session and would like a copy of his presentation, click here.