This week Cadillac launches a new digital shopping program where potential customers are “matched with a personal shopper.” The online video chat is called “Cadillac Live.” It will also be used by Cadillac to figure out how better to sell Cadillacs. The goal is to get the person online to schedule a test drive at a local dealership.
Besides the obvious goal of getting people to test drive a Cadillac, its other purpose is to develop different “use cases” from the chats. What Cadillac is saying publically is it will use the sessions for dealership training, use in how-to videos, and to use for social media content according to Cadillac Chief Marketing Officer Melissa Grady. In other words, everything you say will be used in a number of different ways to help Cadillac figure out its buyers through several methods.
She told Automotive News, “We’re trying to really understand how do people want to shop so that we can be where they want to be. How they want to interact with us is really on their terms.” But that’s only part of the reason based on what Cadillac publically says it will be doing with the chats.
Digital shopping program was only 8% successful in Canada
According to Cadillac only 8% of shoppers in Canada, where the program was initiated earlier this year, scheduled a test drive. Based on that figure is it really a successful program, or a means to get more data about buyers from Cadillac?
The Cadillac Live program was first hatched in Canada in March. Now, a trial run in the US is offered to Cadillac dealerships in Texas, California, Illinois, New Jersey, and New York. There have already been 160 dealerships who have opted in.
A showroom in Toronto is used to guide users about a particular model’s features. They’ll use props such as strollers or hockey equipment to demonstrate things like loading and unloading while giving those chatting an idea of the size and space relationships of the vehicle. Technology and safety features will also be a part of the chat.
Shopping on customer’s terms, data mining on Cadillac’s
According to Grady Cadillac is doing this for shoppers because they usually do, “a lot of research and don’t have a lot of time. This really allows them to, on their terms, have a conversation. It’s a much better experience than just looking at a website, configuring a car. As you think of a question you don’t have to search for an answer. You have a person right there you’re having a conversation with.”
No selling is actually done on the site. This is supposed to take the pressure off of both the buyer and seller. But, the age-old questions about “how much?” won’t be elaborated on except to quote the sticker price or “price range.”
If the pilot program proves successful it will be rolled out nationwide in May 2020. If it’s not they’ll still have all of this valuable data to comb for other ways of capitalizing on these non-rehearsed, off-of-the-cuff, live exchanges.