You can’t sell a car without an engaged shopper.Kris Cox (CEO of Cox Automotive Group)
With all the recent DealerRefresh conversations on making dealership websites better by reducing the amount of lead-gating clutter tools, I figured the 2nd stats drop from last year should be on engagement. Engagement is one of the most overlooked KPIs, but it is the most important. One has to appreciate that a customer will not turn into a lead or a floor-up unless they are satisfied their time is going to result in you providing them answers. And they cannot reach that satisfaction point without being engaged with the content.
In 2023, FRIKINtech’s illumiQUOTE app saw 83% of its total traffic from mobile devices. 36% of the visits came back (returning visit) to play some more. Each visit resulted in an average of 11 clicks/taps. These visitors were playing with their trade equity and payments on cars they could buy. Within the illumiQUOTE app, there isn’t anything else to get lost on. Visitors are only performing activities that relate to car purchases.
We use a variety of methods to bring the customer into the app. SALESiQ automates payment quotes from dealership CRMs and works exceptionally well when paired with WEBSITEiQ to show payments on dealership websites. SERVICEiQ automates offers to customers in the service drive to explore what their car is worth and see how their equity reduces payments on every car the dealership has for them. EQUITYiQ does the same, but focuses on past sold and customers whose lease is expiring. SERVICEiQ and EQUITYiQ send these offers via text first and email second, and mail is optional.
Over 1 million texts were successfully delivered last year. 11% of the responses were to opt-in for more texts and view offers. Not much data is published about the car business’ texting success rates in marketing campaigns, but other industries get excited about a 5% opt-in rate. Texting led the communication channels for deal conversion out of the service drive (SERVICEiQ).
Email led the deal conversion with past customers and expiring leases. With both these customers and service customers, there was a 44% open rate on emails sent in 2023. 13% (click-thru rate) of those customers engaged with the offer to play with their equity and payments within the illumiQUOTE app. QR-coded direct mail converted 8x stronger than traditional mailers.
There is a lot to unpack here. In order to get the full picture, you’d want to see the texts, emails, and mailers being sent. Then, explore the customer experience within illumiQUOTE. That’s too much to put in a post. Fortunately, the whole thing demos quickly because we kept things damn simple! And damn simple helps sell cars.
I should also add that in using your payment tool, we have recently been experimenting with adding a squeeze. Before we have always just allowed users to use the tool for their purposes, and, if they decide to send a lead, cool. Since adding the squeeze, we have actually been getting less leads. I believe the reason is exactly this: engagement. With the squeeze, we are actually reducing engagement which is the whole point of the thing. We have been working with Chris experimenting with it to find the right mix for the squeeze, but, in the end, I think we will just go back to no squeeze. I think giving the tool to play with and then saying, “Just kidding!” and taking it away from them unless they give us their info is having the opposite of the desired affect.Bill Vaughn, Kirksville Motor Company
Bill is referring to our WEBSITEiQ product above. And I think he is making an excellent case for why an engagement-first approach trumps a conversion-first approach.