- Cars.com will now match car shoppers with their ideal salesperson through a new tool called Salesperson Connect, which follows up on the brand's use of an artificial intelligence solution last summer to match car shoppers with their ideal cars, according to details shared with Marketing Dive. Salespeople who have been matched with potential customers through Connect report an 89% higher close rate than they saw previously.
- The software presents shopper reviews, ratings and personal profiles of salespeople at dealerships to prospective car buyers, who make the choice and set up an appointment. A recent survey by Cars.com found that nearly two-thirds of customer respondents said a salesperson who can relate to them personally and understand their needs would have an advantage in closing a car sale.
- A digital campaign for Salesperson Connect is now underway, and Cars.com says it is helping to drive over 1.6 million shoppers to the right salesperson. Agency R/GA created the humorous campaign, which utilizes location-targeted streamed TV, paid social and online display ads.
Cars.com's Salesperson Connect, which mirrors the way that dating apps like Tinder work in "matching" people and services together, is another effort by the brand to improve personalization through data and AI. The difference in this newly announced iteration is that, in most cases, cars usually still have a salesperson as a go-between, so the right chemistry between the buyer and seller can boost the chances of a closing.
The first version of the idea that launched last August with a campaign called "We Met on Cars.com" employed a machine learning algorithm to recommend cars based on users' lifestyle preferences. Users could choose from a variety of lifestyle factors, and the platform would make the match — with up to 20 recommendations for the right cars — based on the responses and sentiment analysis.
In a pilot of that matchmaking, Cars.com said there was a 225% boost in email leads and twice as many page views per visitor. That campaign was also created by R/GA, and included custom content partnerships with dating app Tinder to connect romantic matchmaking with this kind of car finding.
Cars.com's bigger focus on personalized tech arrives as many marketers fall short of properly tailoring their campaigns. Research by Periscope by McKinsey revealed that 40% of consumers across key markets believe messages from brands only sometimes feel personal. The push is also indicative of Cars.com's continued attempts to win over more millennials, who favor tech-ready convenience and apps like Tinder but are buying cars less frequently than older generations.