I've noticed two things recently while browsing for a newer Jeep to replace my 2011 Liberty.
First: Used-vehicle inventory pressure seemingly has reached my local market. Two months ago, I could filter searches to a smaller radius around my home and yield eight or 10 vehicles matching my preferred model year and trim level. Now, the results turn up one or two. I have to expand my search by 20 or 25 miles to get a broader selection — which gives me more choices, yes, but doesn't fulfill my interest in finding a local dealership with which to build a service and sales relationship.
Second: The algorithms have found me. My browser knows I'm looking at cars. I don't know that I would call myself "in market" yet, but ads are popping up in multiple places. On news stories I read. On Hulu commercial breaks during reruns of NBC's "This Is Us." Even on the Yahtzee game I play on my smartphone. (That last one really caught my attention. It wasn't a national brand but rather a local dealership, one I haven't contacted.)
I've slowed down my search, primarily because I'm not finding many vehicles in the market right now that match what I'm looking for. That will change, and I have the time to wait until I find the vehicle and the buying experience I want.
That experience includes personalization. As jarring as it was to see a video clip from a local dealership pop up while I was playing a mobile game, of all things, it signals that I'm on their marketers' radar. I haven't yet been shown inventory-specific ads; rather, the messaging is focused on the dealership's willingness to buy my used vehicle and offer home delivery.
I'll be interested in both of those things. I'm guessing they sense it.