As dealers, vendors and more gathered for NADA 2018 in Las Vegas, Cars.com launched its new social targeting product, as well as announced it will make available to its customers Conversations — an AI chat solution.
Conversations is the first integrated Dealer Inspire product announcement since Cars.com purchased Dealer Inspire and Launch Digital Marketing for $165 million in February.
Cars Social, designed to attract more leads through Facebook and Instagram, leverages Cars.com audience data and targets consumers on social media who previously researched inventory or expressed interest in similar vehicles in the market, the company explained.
Targeted social media users will see a social ad with inventory imagery from local retailers that fits their search and shopping preferences. Then those ads will redirect shoppers to their corresponding VDP pages on Cars.com. Further, a team of social media account managers will be available to dealers to “optimize campaigns and set up data s.”
“We know millions of people across the country, including Cars.com shoppers, spend a significant amount of time on social platforms, and a smart use of social media advertising moves shoppers through the sales funnel,” said Alex Vetter, president and chief executive officer at Cars.com. “We want to help dealers extend their reach and connect with these buyers wherever they shop.”
Further, Dealer Inspire product Conversations is described as a managed chat solution built with artificial intelligence and “synced with a dealership’s inventory”.
The Conversations platform was developed by Dealer Inspire, and will now be integrated with Cars.com through a Conversations Starter package.
All new chats will be answered by an AI chatbot named “Ana,” which can greet customers, answer frequently asked questions and schedule appointments. If she doesn’t know how to answer a question, she will transfer the customer to the dealerhship’s team or Dealer Inspire’s Managed Chat Call Center to expand on the response and capture the customer’s information for the dealer.
“AI is the next frontier in automotive,” said Vetter. “Cars.com intends to lead the industry by applying AI to create a smarter car shopping and selling experience for consumers and dealers. Conversations is the first AI chatbot that integrates seamlessly into a third-party site and a dealer website so that dealers can connect with consumers whenever and wherever they are shopping.”