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How to make the year of “normal” your most profitable yet with AI

AI in 2024

AI offers new solutions to old automotive problems

Thanks to the explosion in generative AI applications, dealers and OEMs have a new and powerful lever to overcome barriers to operational efficiency and increased profitability at scale. Dealerships that have already prioritized implementing AI are poised for success as we move into peak season, but it’s never too late to consider adding automotive AI into your dealer tech stack.

Here are a few ways dealers and OEMs are leveraging AI in the automotive industry to boost profits and increase staff productivity:

  1. Warm up passive website visitors: Engage, warm up and pre-qualify web visitors with real-time hyper personalized chat experiences rather than rules-based chatbots that follow a stringent script, or live agents with long wait times and no after-hours availability.
  2. Enhance VDPs: There are basic solutions in the market that can remove backgrounds and edit images, but Computer Vision AI platforms purpose-built for automotive retail can create photorealistic virtual booths, intelligently denoise and enhance image quality, resize and correct perspective, produce dealer-branded backgrounds, and more. AI-powered automation is particularly useful in ensuring OEM-mandated requirements are met at scale across a dealer’s online inventory. Impel can even syndicate enhanced VDPs to third party listing sites and online marketplaces.
  3. Hyper-personalize retargeting ads: It’s no secret that consumers expect personalized targeting across channels. AI-enabled platforms markedly increase advertising quality with sophisticated retargeting solutions that personalize ads based on the specific features that each individual prospect values.
  4. Engage and convert inbound leads to appointments: immediately engage inbound leads with car sales AI on their communication channel of choice, 24/7. More advanced solutions like Impel’s Sales AI Copilot will answer specific questions, follow up with abandoned chats, and even set appointments for you!
  5. Increase customer lifetime value in fixed operations: Most dealerships don’t have the time, nor the resources to focus on proactive business development for their service operation or mine thousands of DMS records – and outsourced marketing partners are simply too expensive. This is a great use case for automated, personalized and proactive AI-driven outreach to reclaim lost revenue streams and strengthen customer loyalty.
  6. Speed up the response time and qualification of “buy my car” leads: Automatically engage every car acquisition lead, helping consumers self-inspect and sell their vehicle while freeing up dealer staff to focus on higher value sales activities.

How to avoid common AI pitfalls

When executed correctly, using AI in the automotive industry has compounding benefits. Dealerships and OEMs alike can compensate for labor constraints and maximize personnel productivity, appropriately qualify leads and ensure that sales and BDC teams are spending their time on quality opportunities and higher-value activities. AI can also help dealers enhance customer retention across the ownership experience by automating service outreach and DMS mining. And the best AI models only get better with time – leading generative conversational AI platforms that are purpose-built for automotive retail, like Impel,  are continuously learning and fine-tuning based on millions of customer interactions.

Dealership AI applications can make powerful improvements to customer experience too, but only when properly implemented. When considering adopting AI at your organization, here are key pitfalls dealers can address to ensure success:

  • Prioritize information security and data privacy: Leveraging AI without the right security controls in place exposes your business to hallucinations and jailbreaks that can cause irreparable reputational damage. It’s important to ask any vendor you evaluate what proactive measures they take to avoid these risks.
  • Choose industry-specific customized platforms: Publicly available or open-source GPTs that are not trained in your industry or specific business outcomes are more likely to hinder the customer experience than help. Be sure to find an AI solution trained on your specific use case and industry to avoid jeopardizing customer experience, dealer reputation, or your business performance.
  • Embrace AI deployment at scale: AI has taken the world by storm, and businesses across nearly every industry are tinkering with it, but deploying AI in small, ad-hoc areas of the customer lifecycle or through very narrow applications simply doesn’t achieve worthwhile results. For example, dealerships that are using AI just to finesse sales rep prospecting content aren’t likely to see significant business acceleration. Using a patchwork of automation or marketing tools (each with some form of “AI”) that aren’t seamlessly integrated also tends to result in inefficiency and sub-par results. In contrast, auto retailers that are bringing generative AI into the entire customer lifecycle under one unified platform are seeing quick time to value and operational efficiency along with an improvement in the customer experience. The most successful auto groups have deployed AI platforms across multiple departments and have scaled across their entire business over a short period of time.

Tip:  Choosing an AI platform that integrates with your DMS and CRM is foundational to holding meaningful conversations that actually accelerate deals. Impel’s AI communications suite taps into these systems, accessing real-time vehicle spec/availability updates, configurators & pricing engines, showroom/service scheduling applications, recalls, active promotions, inventory data, and VIN build data to optimize conversations.

  • Plan for and implement effective change management: AI is a transformational way to enable your team to significantly increase their productivity and effectiveness. Being intentional about change management and communication can make it an exciting shift rather than an intimidating one. Be sure to chart out and communicate in a timely fashion what tasks AI will take off of your team’s plate (and why that helps them), educate and communicate on the role of AI, and modify processes to amplify results and avoid duplicative efforts. This presents a great opportunity to guide your team towards doing more fulfilling work that will help them achieve their targets more efficiently.

Tax returns are starting to roll in, and there’s no better path to achieving operational scale than with generative conversational AI designed specifically for the automotive industry. See how generative AI conversations are accelerating the buying process today or  contact us now to see how working with Impel can help you hit your targets and protect your bottom line in 2024.