There's a lot of promise for how data can be used within the auto industry.
Computers can alert drivers to important service issues, target prospective car buyers with advertisements and instant messages on dealership websites and create a personalized shopping experience.
The current issue of Shift magazine, out this week, explores those ideas and the broad implications of data and artificial intelligence across the industry, from dealerships to connected and autonomous vehicles. I wrote about how data can unlock a seamless, omnichannel car-buying experience, based on panel discussions at an event last month timed with CES in Las Vegas.
I had similar conversations this month at the 2020 NADA Show, also in Las Vegas. Last week, I wrote in this newsletter that what I heard most often on the show floor was the need for dealerships to create personalized car-buying experiences.
Omnichannel retailing is intended to create smooth transitions within all the different ways a customer might be shopping for a vehicle, whether online or in person. The idea is to avoid situations in which a customer's progress toward building a car deal is lost because his or her data didn't save or transfer between platforms. Some in the industry say dealerships can do more to personalize shoppers' experiences by using the data it has about them to offer individual recommendations, the way Amazon does.
But inherent in that promise is risk. New requirements exist around data privacy and security that the industry is still working to understand. And some consumers are hesitant to trust an online transaction that requires them to give up some sensitive personal information. That puts the onus on retailers to demonstrate that the data is secure and that buyers will receive enough value in exchange — such as a more convenient purchase — to offset that risk.
One thing is clear: Consumers want a personalized experience, and the industry is taking note. The key is to capitalize on the promise without losing sight of the risk.