Executive View: Seize the chance to secure more vehicle sales with AI

By Staff
4 Min Read

Tim Smith, chief executive of Automotive Transformation Group, shares his thoughts on how car dealers can get ahead in omnichannel and use artificial intelligence to their advantage.

Artificial intelligence (AI) continues to make headlines across all industries with Amazon Web Services (AWS) stating the number of UK companies adopting the technology has increased by 31% from 2022 to 2023. This rapid acceleration could see digital technology adding £520bn to the UK economy by 2030, helping the country to meet its ambition to become a tech superpower as early as 2028.1

Automotive retail is no different; it is increasingly seeking new ways to use AI to its advantage.

The question is why?

First and foremost, with its ability to automate time-consuming tasks, AI enhances operational efficiency. This could be a game-changer for automotive, as according to ATG’s survey of franchised retailers, a third of salespeople use 6-10 suppliers to complete a sale, with some using up to 40 – reinforcing the need to streamline workflows.

By using this technology, retailers can leverage AI to implement seamless processes that optimise their bandwidth.

The transition towards hybrid sales and consumer experience has also amplified AI interest. Many brands draw on AI to offer around-the-clock support for prospective leads in the form of virtual assistance. ATG’s business intelligence service, VEGA, confirms 42% of online purchases take place outside traditional working hours.

By offering customers an ‘always-on’ sales concierge, retailers can guide customers through their journey, nurturing leads into sales at all hours.

Another highly effective channel where AI can enhance operational efficiency and customer experience is marketing. ATG’s partner, Phyron, for example is leveraging AI to elevate stock listing imagery and vehicle advertisements. While simplifying video ad creation on an inventory level, this AI-driven content can be used to advertise all stock types through Meta’s Product Level Video (PLV) format. This was once a hugely time-intensive process where salespeople were often unequipped to create studio-quality videos for every car on the forecourt.

They would upload each asset to third-party channels separately and manually create targeted campaigns. Phyron’s AI-powered software has demonstrated to the industry how this labour-intensive process can be significantly shortened, with its ability to do the equivalent work of 2-3 full-time video marketing employees. This highlights how curated content can attract 50% more viewers and enable retailers to sell cars three to five days faster. And these benefits are delivered for less than the price of a cup of coffee, per car.

Technology like PLV also provides further sales opportunities. As the next generation of Meta’s Automotive Inventory Ads, it promises better performance on paid advertisements and higher conversion rates, according to Meta – who observed a 17% increase in conversions when combining images and video.

While Phyron has helped retailers produce imagery and video at scale, Meta’s ‘Dynamic Media’ can be deployed to identify which format is most likely to fulfil a retailer’s business goals. A dual approach like this can help retailers ultimately improve scalability and overall ad performance through optimised targeting.

The automotive industry is on a journey of discovery with AI. By automating manual-intensive tasks like video production and content syndication, retailers can enhance their internal efficiency, which is likely to facilitate a better customer experience and more sales opportunities.

With AI, the possibilities are as exciting as they are profitable.

Taking the right steps to implement AI will help retailers optimise salespeople’s focus, engage customers, and thereby increase sales.

Author: Tim Smith, chief executive, Automotive Transformation Group

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