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AI, CDP, Hybrid Retailing? The Auto Retail Buzzwords to Know


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Between disruptive technologies, like AI, shifting consumer expectations and online car buying – it’s safe to say the automotive retail industry is constantly evolving. As the industry continues to change, so do the latest buzzwords. Currently trending buzzwords are not only reflective of the current and future state of the auto retail industry but can act as a call to action for dealerships to incorporate into the business strategy.

Becoming familiar with the latest industry buzzwords does not mean watching countless TikToks, as entertaining as that may be. The Cox Automotive team has done the legwork, researching data points, conversations, and dealer and consumer feedback. While some may be familiar, the important thing to consider is going beyond throwing around the latest lingo but incorporating these buzzwords into the business strategy. As a result, dealers can cultivate deeper customer loyalty, attract new customers, increase brand awareness, and capture a greater market share.

Industry Buzzwords to Incorporate into Your Business Strategy

Here are three of our favorite industry buzzwords to incorporate into your business strategy. For a full list, dig deeper here.

Buzzword #1: AI (Artificial Intelligence)

While the emergence of AI ubiquity may feel sudden, it now touches just about every industry – and the automotive industry is no exception; AI will continue to be a hot topic well into the future.

My colleague, Marianne Johnson, chief product officer leading technology, data science and product development here at Cox Automotive, recently participated in the Impact Summit: EVs and AI in Detroit and explained how Cox Automotive is already using AI within its products to improve efficiencies and profitability for our clients. She also penned an informative Op-Ed on AI in Automotive News and was on the Automotive News Daily Drive Podcast, where she reminded us that while AI has been contributing positively to automotive retail, there is so much more on the horizon. She is absolutely right!

Historically linked to autonomous vehicle systems, AI is streamlining the entire automotive marketplace today. AI leads to access to more data, enabling dealers to get the right car in front of the right buyer at the right time. Dealers can use AI data to serve personalized messaging and can also help with retargeting as it continues to drive brand awareness and profits.

No longer a futuristic concept, AI is here and will continue to deliver value to automotive retailers.

Buzzword #2: CDP (Customer Data Platform)

CDP has become the most popular acronym to emerge in the auto industry in the past year and for good reason. CDPs are extremely valuable in today’s consumer-centric landscape and provide dealerships with a clear view of their customers’ likes, dislikes, purchasing history and provide a roadmap to curate a personalized experience.

Consumers want to feel understood and have personalized retail experiences. CDPs provide a plethora of data that can be used to not only perfectly curate a buyer’s experience but can also anticipate customer needs and provide a deep understanding of the lifetime value of their customers.

Buzzword #3: Hybrid Retailing

Many car buyers appreciate the convenience of being able to browse online for their next vehicle, however, that doesn’t mean an exceptional in-person car buying experience should be forgotten.  To meet all their customers, dealers need to deliver a seamless and personalized experience online and on the dealership floor. This can be accomplished by consolidating all available information about each customer into a singular profile, regardless of how they entered the dealer ecosystem. Encourage sales teams to connect the dots both online and offline—and how to pick up where the customer last left off.

The beauty of hybrid retailing is that the dealership team can keep the deal moving no matter how or where the consumer chooses to complete the deal. And for the fully automated future of ecommerce, it’s best to build a 5–10-year business plan mapping how the business will move in that direction.

Cox Automotive is investing and innovating in hybrid retailing and will have more to share on this topic in the coming months.

The Staying Power of Buzzwords

Staying up to date on the latest buzzwords in an industry that is constantly evolving can be challenging. However, current industry buzzwords are not fleeting moments; they serve as key indicators for the automotive industry’s future direction and should be leveraged strategically to drive your businesses forward. Dealerships that not only keep up with the latest trends but also utilize them to create value for customers will position themselves as industry leaders and lead to long-term success in the market.

Jade Terreberry is the senior director of Strategic Planning for Cox Automotive, with a focus on the consumer brands Autotrader and Kelley Blue Book. She joined Cox Automotive in 2015 after truly growing up in the automotive industry. She has spent much of her life and career working in the dealership and automotive industry, helping dealers solve the challenges of the business today and plan for the future. This post is an excerpt from Terreberry’s article “The 10 Actions Auto Industry Buzzwords are Driving Dealers to Take in 2024.”

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