Car Shopper to Car Dealer: ‘I Saw Your Message on My Phone.’
Edwin Acevedo
Copywriter | PR Coordinator

Car shopper to car dealer: ‘I saw your message on my phone.’

The Road Code provides auto shopper engagement tools that delight car shoppers and wow car dealers. For six months, Rode Code President Paul Brocky and Vice President Tom Catuosco tested BKON beacons inside cars and in strategic locations around the car dealerships, and they managed the content with our PHY platform. This allowed visitors and anyone nearby to discover and directly access information about financing, inventory and service specials, all from their mobile smartphones. The solution is pure Physical Web, without the use of an app. The notifications are passive, so no one’s phone gets buzzed with annoying push messages. It’s a car shopping experience that puts the customer in the driver’s seat.

About the Customer

The Road Code is a New Jersey-based online vehicle marketplace that connects car dealerships with car shoppers through digital and mobile technology.

The Challenge

In New Jersey, car dealerships are closed on Sunday. These dealers – as well as those in other states – needed a meaningful way to connect with car shoppers who visit auto lots on Sunday and after hours, when there’s no one around to start the sales conversation.


“Beacons are helping us engage customers on a Sunday when all N.J. car dealerships are closed. It’s a great passive way to keep our message going even when we’re not here. I’ve seen my online traffic and inquiries increase since getting a beacon. Looking to get more soon.”

RONNY KASABRI
General Sales Manager,  Corp Auto Sales (Road Code customer)
West Milford, N.J.


The Solution

  • The Road Code beta-tested BKON beacons and the PHY Physical Web platform for six months. They installed two to three beacons per dealer.
  • They experimented with content, beacon placement, and strategies including:
    • Promotions for discounted oil changes and other service offers
    • Financing information for specific vehicles
    • Different beacon placement: at the dealership, inside a car in the lot, inside vehicles on display inside shopping malls. near the highway, on the edge of their lot near adjacent business such as laundromats and restaurants.
    • Customized automobile landing pages with information like mileage and vehicle history

“Beacons have been a great and inexpensive way to promote our lot. I’ve actually had a customer come up to me and say ‘I saw your message on my phone.’ I was sold after that!”

BRUCE GASKELL
Sales Manager, Cars on 15 (Rode Code customer)
Lake Hopatcong, N.J.


Results

Effective, affordable proximity marketing. “We’re a customer engagement company,” Brocky said. “We have other products as well, but this one seems to be the one that really, really gets dealers excited. When they hear about the potential of the notification showing up on the customer’s phone, they get really excited, especially for the price point. The absolutely love the price point. They love the fact that it works in the background. They really don’t have much to manage, since we do all the management.”

Fast feedback. Brocky and Catuosco started getting great feedback from the beacon tests almost immediately. “Three out of the four dealers actually said to us they had customers come in and say, ‘Hey, I got a notification on my phone about your finance page, about your weekend special,'” Brocky said. “We’re like, hey, this beacon is actually working. As soon as we heard that, we were real happy with that.”

Incentives work. Brocky and Catuosco found that incentives, such as coupons and discounts, and information about financing tended to have the most engagement.

A-B testing. At one dealership, two beacons with the same message were placed about 100 yards apart. On one side was a Jiffy Lube. On the other side was a 24-hour laundromat. To their surprise, more people scanned the beacon near the laundromat. “I guess because the foot traffic was there all the time, it got a lot more scans than the Jiffy Lube,” Brocky said.

roadcode bkon beacon outdoor power boxGo with what works. “One dealership got really creative and took one of the beacons and they actually placed it in one of their vehicles inside a mall,” Brocky said. “Now the scans, the metrics, the analytics went through the roof after that. He gave us the idea. We see cars in the mall all the time. Think about the traffic walking through there. That was an amazing discovery we made with that one.”

Think outside (and inside) the box. They placed a beacon on a light pole near the highway, inside a plastic electric outlet box. During rush hour, commuters may be in beacon range for 10-15 minutes. “It was amazing, the metrics on those beacons vs. a beacon maybe on their used car section of the lot,” Brocky said.

Conclusion

“For the last six months, it’s been like, ‘All right, this is a cool product. What’s the best placement? What’s the best message?’ That’s what we’ve been trying to fine-tune,” Brocky said. “I can tell you this much, for dealers, it’s a pretty easy sell. They actually call us. The word spreads a little bit. They’re like, ‘Hey I heard you’ve got this product. I heard that it’s a good price point, I want in.’ So, we’ve been happy with that. And this product has taken off for us quicker than some of our other products.”

“Managing the beacon messages for our customers is a snap with the PHY platform,” Catuosco said. “It was the deciding factor in choosing BKON. We can easily schedule and measure the effectiveness of the messages right on the PHY platform dashboard.”

After the Road Code ran its beta test, Brocky and Catuosco tripled the number of beacons in their fleet. “It’s creating a real buzz with our clients and we’re looking forward to keeping the momentum going,” Brocky said.