Customer personalization unlocks ways for organizations to better understand their customers’ interactions and preferences. Aswin Mannepalli, Global Director of Industry Strategy and Marketing for Automotive at Sitecore, met with Retail Technology Insider to discuss further the ways that personalization is helping automotive brands expand their knowledge of their customer.
Retail Technology Insider (RTI): What level of personalization is expected today in the retail sector?
Aswin Mannepalli (AM): 89 percent of customers today expect brands to understand them. To put it in more stark terms, the customer expects brands to know me, and my needs better than I do. Now, if you think about it, that’s a tall order. The implication is that what customers want digitally is what sales staff at physical dealerships take years to master.
RTI: How can automotive companies achieve personalization?
AM: Luckily, we do have the tools to achieve personalization. The heart of this personalization mission is the need to understand your customer; it all starts with data. With the customer’s consent, keep a record of their interactions with your brand. Ensure that this data is fed into your systems without loss to build a unified, true customer profile as you incorporate records of touches from every interaction. Then, act based on this data by doing experiments such as A/B testing and experimentation. All of the capabilities that I outlined will help automotive brands deliver on the promise of personalization.
RTI: What are some examples of automotive companies doing it right?
AM: One area that we see of great promise is vehicle configuration. It is a playful way for customers to disclose their preferences without ruining the experience with something obtrusive like a popup. We help major OEMs and dealerships stand up these configurators and marry these sessions with the 360 views of the customers. When a customer goes to the dealership after a configurator session, the dealership staff know everything they need to know to satisfy the customer.
RTI: What solutions or technologies make it possible?
AM: The future of personalization is about having a customer data platform (CDP). This first-party data is your own so that no policy change from the major search engines on cookies will disrupt your business. The CDP is a place to store all of your customer interactions. But the CDP isn’t only a storage area. I firmly believe in the Smart Hub concept, where not only can you hold the data, but you can rapidly analyze, experiment, and deliver the right offer that will resonate with your customer. More conversions and more cross-sell are some of the key performance indicators we see lots of lift in.
To learn more about automotive customer personalization, click here.