Car Dealerships

In the last few years, car dealers and marketers are betting that technology, and a healthy dose of enhanced personal interaction, can vastly boost the car buying experience. A group of car dealerships in Columbus, Ohio believed in the same.

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This car dealership in Ohio is over 100 years old and is spread over an 18-acre campus. The campus envelopes five different dealerships – Audi, Volkswagen, Subaru, Porsche and Jaguar.

We interviewed Andrew Marks, the marketing brain behind the success of the Ohio car dealership beacon campaign to understand how they used beacon technology to boost sales, enhance the experience and bring back customers; minor details about deployment, results and more. Here’s a write-up based on the interview.

LEGACY MARKETING CHANNELS IN CAR DEALERSHIPS AND ASSOCIATED CHALLENGES

What marketing channels was the Ohio car dealership using prior to beacon implementation?

Before ramping up to beacon technology, like most other dealerships, the Ohio car dealership also banked on physical ways of communication to attract and bring back customers. We used street-facing window stickers to display offers, car prices, inside car-view, mileage comparison, and gift cards for service discounts.

What were the challenges with the on-going marketing channel and why were you looking for an alternative?

The challenge with this physical style of marketing was the lack of engagement and personalization when someone walked into the dealership. Not everyone who walks in wants to be attended by a salesperson.

Not just that, we were also missing out on customers who never walked into the dealership or visited us in non-operational hours – when the doors were locked and the employees had left.

This is why we started looking for a solution that could transform the dealership into a smart interactive campus. We needed an infrastructure that ensures that even in absence of a salesperson, the cars could communicate with the visitors.

TEARDOWN OF THE BEACON CAMPAIGN AT OHIO CAR DEALERSHIP

What goals did you want to achieve with beacons?

Before jumping to a solution, it was important for us to understand what we are working towards. With beacon technology, we wanted to

  1. Increase footfalls to the dealership
  2. Enhance the dealership engagement
  3. Push the dealership app on the visitor’s smartphone, for future communication

How did you go about achieving each of your goals with Beacons?

We have used different beacons for different use-cases. This was made based on the transmission range and weather resistance parameters.

Increasing footfalls to the dealership

We used your long-range outdoor beacons to broadcast specials about the car. We are leveraging outdoor beacons to attract visitors who never enter the dealership.

Enhancing the dealership engagement

With your indoor beacons we were looking to do a couple of things to enhance engagement – Firstly, welcome visitors to the new car showroom. Secondly, create a self-guided experience for visitors who were evaluating the car options in the “new car showroom” section. These could be visitors who don’t want to be disturbed by a salesperson or intentionally visit dealerships in non-operational hours. Just as they enter the dealership, we offer them an engagement option – the visitors could either opt for assistance from a salesman or could explore around without having anyone to disturb them. If the visitor opts for assistance, then we simply notify a salesperson.

The indoor beacon setup creates an interactive buying experience where visitors get information about the new cars, the used cars and the dealership without having to engage with a salesperson.

Pushing the service app on visitor’s smartphone

Nudging visitors to download a service app from the app store involves multiple friction points. We wanted to build a solution that pushes the dealership app on the visitor’s smartphone without having to download it or go to the app store.

We have created a pocket marketing group what we call pocket apps. These pocket apps are full grown mobile apps but they don’t go into an app store. We put them on the smartphones using the beacons. So when a visitor walks into the service area or lounge area for any one of these dealerships, she immediately has our app on her smartphone. These apps remain on the smartphone even after she walks out of the dealership. In this way, even when she is not in our broadcast region, we can still push notifications and still have digital interaction with her. We call this process – auto app delivery.

We have built service apps for individual dealerships – Volkswagen Audi Subaru Porsche and Jaguar.

What does the beacon distribution in the dealership look like?

As I mentioned, the campus has five buildings – Audi, Volkswagen, Subaru, Porsche and Jaguar. Each of these buildings has three major sections – the service department, the new car showroom and lounge area. We have indoor beacons spread out in the service department, in the new car showroom and in the lounge area of each building. In addition to that, we also have long-range outdoor beacons on the periphery of the campus, spread approximately every 20 to 30 meters with messaging specifically designed for vehicles driving around.

Which beacon hardware did you use for achieving your goals?

We have used a combination of indoor beacons and long-range outdoor beacons to achieve our goals. The weatherproof long-range beacons, deployed on the periphery of the campus, transmitted car specials to 300 meters and the indoor beacons deployed in the service area, lounge area and new car showroom was fine-tuned to 20-30m depending on the use-case.

CHECKOUT INDOOR BEACONS AND LONG-RANGE BEACONS

After implementing an incredibly powerful campaign at Ohio car dealership, do you any advice on best practices for beacon deployment?

Some fundamental ways to enhance the visitor experience are –

  1. Use a series of markdown cards, which means layer the information rather than overwhelming visitors with a lot of information at once.
  2. Fine tune the messaging to suit the car brand. This is because, with every different car, you are talking to different demographics. For eg, someone who is buying a twenty-five thousand dollar Volkswagon is very different from someone who is buying a hundred and seventy-five thousand dollars Porsche or a Ferrari.
  3. As the extension of the previous guideline, it’s highly recommended to calibrate beacon range accurately. In most other industries, marketers are concerned about how far the beacons will transmit? In car dealerships, it’s the opposite! Here it’s not how far you transmit, but how precisely you can control the broadcast range. Create geofences to notify visitors when they are in the range of a specific car model or area. This could be as targeted as 8 to 10 meters.
  4. After several attempts at calibrating beacons precisely, what we’ve done really is transform a car dealership into a museum. When you walk into a museum you receive communication about the exhibit you are looking at, when you move to a different exhibit get different information. That’s what one needs to achieve at car dealerships too.

Where do you mount the indoor beacons?

We usually mount these beacons on a pillar or signboard near the car.

WHAT DO THE RESULTS LOOK LIKE?

After 7 months of deploying beacons, what are the improvements in the car dealership performance?

Your company has helped us accomplish a lot of things. Here are some of the most tremendous advantages of deploying beacons in our car dealership –

  1. The service app adoption rate is close to 75%, given that users do not have to visit the app store to download an app.
  2. Saves a lot of time and effort for service advisors because visitors usually schedule car services from the app. Without the service app, service advisors were constantly picking up the phone and answering service requests.
  3. Monitor the dealership traffic even in non-operational hours
  4. Get insights on what visitors are most interested in – which car, which service and more
  5. With long-range beacons broadcasting car specials all day long, the foot traffic to the dealership has increased by 20%.
  6. Get more return business – this includes trading in old cars for new ones and driving in for various services. The revenue from return business increased by 25%.
WITH BEACONS, CAR DEALERSHIPS ARE NOW MOVING BEYOND DOUGHNUTS 😉

Are there any Beacon features that give you an edge in the market?

“Schedule feature” on your dashboard has been incredibly helpful for us! We schedule multiple messages on beacons every day. We have messages for the morning, messages for the evening, messages for weekdays, and different messages for weekends. We have messages for when the dealership is open and when it’s closed.

So scheduling is tremendously important because when somebody visits a car dealership, they could potentially be there for three or four hours. They spend time, looking at the car, test driving the car, and eventually buying the car. If people are looking for a service, they are waiting on their vehicle, then they will be sitting there for two or three hours. So it’s critically important that the messages are scheduled ahead of time and are changing accordingly. We have a dedicated set of messages for people who come in in the morning to drop off the car at 7 o’clock. The beacon could notify them about getting a cup of coffee and doughnuts. The message obviously can’t be the same all day long – doughnuts are over by 10:00 am! So the message has to change. So by scheduling or by queuing up the broadcast messages, the beacons adjust its broadcast message based on day of week and time of day – that’s enormously important.

 

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Our App

Our App Platform

What is NearBee?

NearBee is a beacon-aware app that lets users discover proximity-based relevant content making it the best Nearby alternative.

NearBee uses the Physical Web technology to scan for devices within the proximity and displays the notification on both Android and iOS devices.

 

Our App, provides a seamless, non-passive, rich notifications complete with visuals to the end-user.

Features of the App

  • 1. Delivers non-passive notifications

    It alerts the users when proximity-based relevant content is available through a ringtone or vibration which can be determined by the end user. This increases the possibility of a consumer looking at and clicking on a notification.

  • 2. It allows for a visually rich notification

    Notifications complete with a powerful CTA and aesthetically pleasing images get delivered to the lock screen of both Android and iOS users.

  • 3. Reach out to consumers without spamming them

    Our App does not show duplicate notification unless the customer leaves the beacon range and re-enters after a couple of hours. Our powerful anti-spam algorithm enriches the end user’s experience.

  • 4. All notifications get delivered to the lock screen

    Proximity notifications means every notification makes it the lock screen.

Future Updates –

  • 1. The App will act as an app within an app

    When customers enter a particular store, NearBee’s UI will morph to reflect that business’s unique branding which means the in-app colors, content and icons will completely morph to stay true to their personal brand.

  • 2. Tailored and targeted notifications for loyal customers

    The App will not treat every customer the same.  Businesses will be able to target loyal customers with rewards and promotions.

  • 3. Send notifications to customers even when they are no longer in the beacon’s range

    NearBee will allow users to ‘follow’ businesses and receive controlled and timely updates from them even when they are no longer in the range of the beacon.

  • 4. Cashierless checkout: Shop online from local businesses

    Businesses will be able to integrate their Shopify and Square stores with the app allowing customers to shop online whether they are at home or inside the store. This will help customers avoid long checkout lines and facilitate free pickup of their order at the store.

  • 5. Retarget customers on Facebook and Google

    Brands and businesses will be able to retarget their customers on Facebook and Google using NearBee.

Empire Retail Solutions Beacon platform is a complete end-to-end solution

A 5-part solution that works seamlessly so that you can run proximity marketing campaigns effortlessly.

  1. Beacon Hardware
  2. Beacon Management
  3. Analytics and Content Management Platform
  4. NearBee for Android and iOS
  5. NearBee SDK for third-party app integration

Museums

Bring museums to life with location-based,
rich-media content

Gamify museum visits

Offer information about exhibits based on a visitor’s interest. Pose riddles, quiz visitors and conduct a treasure hunt using your app.

Gather visitor data

Understand the most popular exhibit by measuring the time spent by visitors at different sections of the museum.

Offer self-guided tours

Provide rich information on exhibits in the form of videos, audio clips and photographs. Offer more information on demand.LEARN MORE

Proximity Marketing in Real Estate

Proximity marketing campaigns up & running right away

Whether you need to attract visitors, engage with them, capture leads or sell your real estate property, setting up Beaconstac campaigns takes minutes not days.

Beacon Hardware Indoor Beacon

DEPLOY

1. Deploy best-in-class Bluetooth beacons at your business location

Your next apartm

|CREATE

2. Create interactive promotional message. No coding necessary!

Google Nearby notification on Android smartphone

ENGAGE

3. Send beacon notifications to consumers nearby – use NearBee or your brand app.

With beacon technology in real estate, connect with visitors in smarter ways

Drive engagement with media rich campaigns

Do more with Beaconstac campaign cards

Embed videos and GIFs
Aid property search with directions on Google maps
Push business cards
Add a tap to call button

Capture more leads with forms

Roll out interesting lead capture forms for real estate with ease – no coding required. Use our pre-designed forms or put your creativity to work, to create forms that get you more leads.

Got questions? Talk to our retail marketing expert.

SCHEDULE CALL

Recapture property visitors – wherever they go, online

Relax when visitors leave after a property visit! Retarget them the next time they go online, and get them back with relevant ads of your property on Facebook and Google.LEARN HOW

Direct visitors to your website, social media – or any web address

Whether you need to elaborate about your services, capture leads on website, or promote listings on social media, beacon technology directs visitors from location-based beacon notification to any URL.LEARN HOW

Analyse and improve your conversions

Beaconstac’s built in analytics gives you data to grow your real estate business. It shows you the footfalls on your property, number of leads your proximity campaigns bring in and more.

“As a provider of marketing solutions, our relationship with Beaconstac has allowed us to provide a cost effective, high engagement, marketing tool that gives our clients an edge above their competition. Our clients have increased their customer engagement by an average of 30 percent.”RACHEL SOTO, FOUNDER – GEOWRAPS MARKETING

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