It is no surprise that today’s consumers are increasingly engaging in chat and messenger apps. A recent survey reports that 89 percent of consumers also want to use instant messaging to communicate with businesses and 66 percent prefer messaging over any other communication channel.

So, what are chatbots? Chatbots are a conversational ad format that use artificial intelligence (AI) to converse with consumers in real-time. For client-facing, big-ticket industries like automotive, the implications — and potential payoff — of integrating chatbots into their marketing strategy will be hugely beneficial.

Here are three ways chatbots transform the way consumers make car buying decisions:

1.  Discoverability and Awareness

Dealer sites offer a range of important information for potential customers to absorb as they navigate the early stages of the car buying process. However, today’s auto dealers are at the mercy of traditional digital channels like paid search, display, and email to drive traffic to their site to engage with their customers.

Chatbots in apps like Facebook Messenger, which has more than 1.3 billion active users every month, reach a broader audience of potential customers. Messenger bots also allow dealers to extend the most valuable features and capabilities of their website into the channel in which consumers are primarily spending their time.

Becoming discoverable in Facebook Messenger means dealers can simplify how customers access the information they need during the initial stages of the car buying process. Consumers can respond to their friends’ latest chats while simultaneously prequalifying for a finance offer.

2.  All the Answers, Without the Pressure

Consumers can face much stress and pressure while trying to buy a car, so unlike traditional online experiences, chatbots can solve customer problems more efficiently and effectively.

Engineered with AI technology to dynamically respond to a range of simple to complex questions, chatbots guide conversations with consumers without relying on human input or intervention. Chatbot technology can automatically generate answers to custom and dealer-specific inquiries such as browsing inventory, determining car trade-in value, checking credit scores to pre-qualify for finance offers, or making appointments. Customers can leave a bot conversation feeling satisfied that they have received relevant information and answers to their questions, before they even enter a dealership.

Car-buying customers are not the only ones that benefit from the ease of chatbot technology. By automating the research and discovery process, chatbots streamline early stages of the dealership’s sales cycle. Because customers are empowered to self-qualify, chatbots can help dealers drive more qualified buyers into their dealership and, ultimately, closer to the point of purchase.

3.  Always-On

In today’s digital economy, consumers expect more from businesses than simply ease and accessibility.  To stay competitive, businesses must be prepared to deliver a meaningful, customer-first experience. As an always-on solution, chatbots pave the way for auto dealerships to catch their target customers’ evolving expectations.

Beyond the perks of arming consumers with key, qualifying information, chatbots provide interested car buyers an on-demand, personalized experience, 24/7. Customers don’t have to wait for a salesperson to respond to an email inquiry, or deal with a flurry of phone calls. Instead, chatbots enable consumers to take control over their car buying experience and seamlessly glean the information they want, in the channel they want, whenever they want it.

As you can see, chatbots can enhance a customer car-buying process by providing a meaningful, personalized experience, which is important as consumer demands continue to grow.  And what if an interested customer is ready to speak with a human? All they have to do is ask.

To learn more about chatbots in the automotive industry, reach out to Robin at