The pains of buying a used car need little introduction. There’s the trial of finding the right one, followed by the tribulations of haggling and financing, not to mention the worry that you’ll end up with a dud.
But Carspring, the United Kingdom’s first online pre-owned car dealership, promises to pair you with the perfect car without the inherent anxieties of vehicular speed-dating. The startup has automated a customer journey that’s designed to make the entire process as smooth as possible. And with rave reports on consumer-review sites, it’s clear that customers appreciate the commitment to communication.
Leaning into a learning curve
Last year on Valentine’s Day, Carspring sent out their first email campaign, and that was all it took to convince the business that email marketing could work for them. Selling cars online requires a lot of moving parts, but with an open rate of 31%, the team was intrigued.
“Looking back on it, it wasn’t the snazziest email ever, but it was really effective,” says Joe Newman, copy editor and email marketing manager. “We saw conversion rates on our sites around 3.8%, which is really good for us when you compare it to our other channels.”
Their open rates continue to skyrocket and are double that of the industry average, reaching 25% or higher.
The move also freed up a lot of manpower. “With Mailchimp, email marketing doesn’t require development work,” says co-founder and chief marketing officer Peter Baumgart. “The creatives take control. The developers can focus on making our product better.”
Branching out into segmentation
While tinkering around with A/B testing, Carspring capitalized on a naturally occurring segment in the car industry: brand loyalty. “We see conversion rates as high as 10% on the site as a result of those,” Joe says.
Manual segmentation of a customer’s interest in car brands and a retargeting subject line like “[Name], still looking for a BMW?”, for example, worked well with customers who’d entered their interest on a dream car wish list form.