How a car dealership boosted car sales in an unexpected place – Pinterest

Pinterest is the place to go if you need inspiration for decorating, cooking, home improvement projects, summer fashion…the list goes on. But when it comes to researching a new car, Pinterest isn’t usually a shoppers’ first stop. It might soon be, if Pinterest has anything to say about it.

The platform believes that 8000000 of its users (aka Pinners) are car enthusiasts and 18 million The Pinners have at one time or another been on the hunt for a new vehicle. Combine that with what we already know about Pinterest users’ propensity to buy, and suddenly the platform doesn’t seem like such an unlikely (pun intended) vehicle for auto sales.

“People come to Pinterest with a buying mindset,” Kim Blommer, automotive industry manager at Pinterest, said in an interview with Retail Touch Points. “In general, Pinners spend 2X more than people on other platforms, so whether they come looking for new furniture or fashion or tableware, we see a lot of buying intent. It makes sense that these same people have an intentional mindset even for vehicles.

That was certainly true for Healey Brothers Auto Group, which was the first car dealership to try Pinterest’s catalogs feature. Catalogs allow merchants of all kinds to upload their active inventory directly to Pinterest and turn those e-commerce listings into dynamic product pins, making them more shoppable. In just Three months, Healey sold more than 150 cars as a direct result of its Pinterest campaign.

“Data sets [from this collaboration] opened our eyes – we learned that a lot of our shoppers use Pinterest,” said Jay Healey, a member of the third generation of leaders of the family automotive group, in an interview with Retail Touch Points.Once you know you have a big audience, it’s easy to tailor your message to that audience on the platforms they’re on and stop using a shotgun approach to spreading the word. inventory..”

Pinterest and Healey are pushing the boundaries of social commerce in their own way – Healey is trying to catch up with consumers in an industry that’s been slow to get started when it comes to e-commerce. Meanwhile, Pinterest continues to evolve its unique approach to social media and e-commerce, most recently with its acquisition of an AI-powered shopping platform. The yes and a content partnership with Made with taste. The results of their work together speak volumes about the potential of digital commerce efforts driven by an understanding of today’s consumer.

Not your father’s auto sales

Healey Brothers was founded in 1977 by Jay Healey’s grandfather, WS Healey, who began his career at General Motors. More … than 40 years later, the company today boasts eight locations in the Hudson Valley region of New York, with a ninth on my way.

Since Jay’s grandfather started the business, the car selling experience has changed a lot: “Customers want a streamlined and relaxed process when buying a vehicle,” said Healey, who currently holds the position of Director of Digital and Social Media within the company. . “No pushy salespeople with solid upselling techniques, coming back to the manager’s office seven times to present new numbers. Our customers demand transparency.

To serve this new generation of customers, Healey Bros. focused on e-commerce. Not only can customers actually purchase vehicles online if they choose, but they also have the ability to complete many of the more tedious aspects of buying a car online – trade-in appraisals, credit, customization of payment options – but always come to take a test drive and make a purchase in the showroom.

We are also constantly adjusting our advertising to match our processes, being as consistent and transparent as possible.“, Healey added, and that’s where Pinterest comes in. For an industry with a centuries-old tradition of more conventional advertising (think Christmas TV ads of cars with big red bows), social media is a bit of a mess. outside of the industry’s comfort zone, but Healey thinks that’s no reason to hold back.

“Everyone uses a smartphone and they’re on all these different social channels, often for hours a day,” Healey said. “If you don’t meet the customer on one of these channels, your message is not reaching them effectively.. TV doesn’t allow for that personal engagement with the consumer like Pinterest does, and it doesn’t allow you to track analytics, which is so important in today’s business.

The convergence of car sales and social commerce

Pinterest has already worked for several years with car dealerships to bring them to the platform, so the company knows that “seven out of 10 automotive shoppers on Pinterest use it for final purchasing decisions during their automotive buying journey,” according to Blommer.

Another interesting factoid from Blommer – people are 2.4X more likely to buy a new vehicle within a year of a major life event like getting married, having a baby, or getting a new job, and life events are among the “core use cases” that bring people on Pinterest.

With Healey Bros., Pinterest did something it had done for years with other retailers, but had never done before with a car dealership: it ingested the vehicle inventory catalog of the company, to showcase actual cars that are for sale on Pinterest. The partnership was coordinated by Healey Bros.’ media agency Dealers United, which worked with both parties to upload and transform the auto group’s inventory into “product pins” that include details such as the car’s description, price and availability. Healey Bros. also used Pinterest’s product feed feature, which automatically updates inventory data every 24 hours for greater precision.

“Pinterest has worked with retailers for years to ingest their catalogs, but we’ve never done this before with an automotive customer, so this was really a new frontier,” Blommer said. “As we see more and more e-commerce coming to the automotive industry, it was only natural that we extend this type of experience to Pinterest.and Healey was a flexible and committed partner in the process.

Within three months, Healey Bros. sold 153 cars that he was able to follow directly to the exhibition on Pinterest. Not only that, but Healey Bros. noted a 43% decrease in its overall cost for each vehicle sold since the start of the partnership with Pinterest. While other factors also played into those savings, Healey “attributes a large part” to the Pinterest effort.

Perhaps most interesting was that Healey Bros. found out it was reach buyers with a lower funnel — those closest to making an actual purchase decision — on Pinterest, not the upper-funnel consumers you’d expect on a platform seen more as a driver of awareness and inspiration.

“At first, we thought it would be high funnel traffic,” he said. “However, we have begun to realize that due to the nature of Pinterest as a planning platform, the user is more of an action taker, and the data confirmed it. Pinterest users also tend to have higher earnings [than other social platforms]and we were able to meet them and get them to the finish line of a purchase by further tailoring advertising to what you can do with certain vehicles and then giving the end user the selection directly on our profiles .