What is SMS marketing? And how is its growing prominence shaping the future of the automotive industry and the art of selling?

Whether a consumer is looking for a new car or a pair of headphones, the way we shop is changing. In recent news, Amazon announced its new store concept, where it lets customers just walk out with their desired items. This revolutionary way of shopping will require no staff and simply charge customers for their purchases as they walk out, using the same technologies found in self-driving cars.

And as more food shoppers opt for self-checkouts, this shift in consumer behaviour is reducing the need for sales and customer assistants. But don’t fear, this isn’t a bad thing for the automotive industry. In fact, it could even make it easier to sell. Here’s why…

The future of automotive is mobile

Love it or loath it, mobile phones are here to stay. Every month, there’s a new improved model released or a flashy app to sink your teeth into. We’re living in a mobile society, filled with millennials, adults and the elderly glued to these small gadgets.

So, it’s no surprise to learn that 50% of all car shoppers use their smartphones at a dealership and 1 in 4 of car purchasers turn to their devices every day to research vehicles.

Mobile is changing the way the younger generations interact, meaning they often prefer a more ‘hands-off’ approach when it comes to buying.

While mobile search for automotive continues to see a 51% year on year growth, this doesn’t mean the job of a sales assistant at a dealership is obsolete. Naturally, there will still be some people who require some added expertise and assistance in picking the right vehicle.

However, in light of the UK government’s 2040 car stipulations, an influx of consumers are starting to show a rapid interest in adopting hydrogen and electric powered cars. But as these types of cars are relatively unknown to the average consumer, there will undoubtedly be a sharp rise in mobile research on the matter.

So, where do you stand in all of this?

The key is presence

If the rise of the mobile society is to teach us anything, it’s to be seen rather than heard. The evolution of the automotive industry revolves around offering a more consumer friendly approach.

With the average young person spending five hours a day on their mobile phones, SMS marketing can help get your message across without coming off as pushy. In fact, findings from The State of SMS, revealed that 37.2 million people have opted in to receive business SMS, with this figure set to rise to 48.65 million by 2020. To help break this down a little further, just under 7 million consumers have opted in to receive automotive SMS marketing communications.

By using an SMS short code and keyword, you can organically grow your mobile database and start to interact with them on a more personal level. You’ll find more on this in one of our recent posts.

Once you have an opted in list, you can use SMS marketing to shorten the sales process. For instance, if you have new or used cars to advertise, you could send a text message with a link to a landing page containing more details. This will not only drive traffic to your website, but it’ll give consumers all the USPs and features before they even set foot into your showroom. Essentially, SMS marketing could make your job a lot easier.

As a result, you could then focus your communications around upselling and improving the overall customer experience when they do arrive to view the car.

Another effective way of using SMS marketing is by creating personalised vouchers and tickets. Automotive giants, Lookers, ran a campaign just last year using this feature. As a direct result of this SMS ticketing campaign, they won two national awards and made a profit of £74,000. This represented a return on investment of 4,000%.

There’s nothing scary about SMS marketing

Despite the future of car sales looking like a mobile-led experience, findings taken from The State of SMS indicate that the automotive industry is only using SMS at 45.62% of its optimum amount. This means that consumers are willing to receive circa 55% more communications via text.

However, by 2020, this figure is set to rise to 66.37%, which suggests there is a gradual change in wind happening in the automotive industry. In essence, if you’re not effectively using SMS marketing, your competitors are most likely getting the upper hand on you. Can you afford to let this happen?

One common misconception I come across with SMS marketing, is the fact that most dealers only have a small marketing team. So, adopting a new technology is perceived as impossible or time consuming. Although with the Textlocal Bureau service, you can outsource your SMS marketing campaigns and receive transparent reporting. Any added responsibility will be shifted, and in exchange, you’ll have a team of text messaging experts working their magic on your campaigns. Which in turn will allow your sales or marketing team to focus on other areas of the business.

Or if you’re worried that adopting text messaging can impact productivity, the Textlocal API is the solution. With your free API key and first-class support, you can link the Textlocal online platform up with your current CRM. It’s completely seamless and you can fire out your first campaign in no time at all. Problem solved.

On the whole, SMS seems like a no brainer. Especially when it boasts an average 98% open rate and 32% response rate. But at the end of the day, the ball is in your court. While research suggests that the future of car sales will be a heavily influenced by mobile, it’s up to you whether you embrace the change or continue as you are.

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