Edmunds Teams Up With Subaru for a Unique 'Meet an Owner' Event | Edmunds

Edmunds Teams Up With Subaru for a Unique 'Meet an Owner' Event

Edmunds CarCode Technology Links Shoppers and Subaru Owners

Edmunds and Subaru are teaming up on a unique opportunity for Subaru shoppers to interact with current Subaru owners, ask questions and hear about their experiences with the brand. The "Meet an Owner" event is Tuesday, April 18, from noon until 11:59 p.m. EDT.

Subaru and Edmunds conceived the day as a promotion for the Subaru Impreza compact sedan, but it has since expanded into an invitation for shoppers to discuss any Subaru model with enthusiastic current owners, known as Subaru Ambassadors.

To make the communication as user-friendly as possible, Edmunds' proprietary CarCode technology will power the event. CarCode will let shoppers enter their mobile phone numbers to initiate a text conversation with an Ambassador. Shoppers will find ads promoting the event across Edmunds, on Facebook and on car-shopping websites outside of Edmunds. Prompts in the ads will allow shoppers to begin the discussion.

Edmunds CarCode began as the winning entry in one of Edmunds' Hackomotive contests for innovators and entrepreneurs. Now an Edmunds tool, it's a powerful technology that makes it easy for car shoppers to communicate with auto dealerships via text. Almost 7,000 dealers are available to car shoppers every day through CarCode.

"Prior to CarCode, dealers were spending a lot of time optimizing their website content for mobile shoppers but not providing mobile users with an easy way to connect with their dealership," said Nick Gorton, Edmunds vice president of product innovation and one of the creators of the technology.

"CarCode gave mobile shoppers an easy way to start a conversation without the need to fill out a long form. And the ways that dealers have integrated CarCode into their businesses has been remarkable," he said. "They're now using CarCode as a central portal to manage all of their threaded messaging conversations. It has grown beyond texting to accommodate shoppers who want to instant message as well as use Facebook Messenger."

But adapting a unique communication tool such as CarCode to Subaru's "Meet an Owner" project brought some challenges.

"When we started to think about the needs of a Subaru brand Ambassador, there were several changes that we knew we needed to make," Gorton said. "Given that the Subaru Ambassadors are volunteers, we needed to add extra measures to ensure the safety and privacy of both parties. We also wanted to make it clear to shoppers that they were going to be communicating with real owners, not dealership staff. This caused us to rethink some of the standard disclaimers and ensure that it was seamless for shoppers to start a conversation."

Why base the event on text communication? Subaru notes that millennial car shoppers in particular rely on their mobile devices to deliver all media. Around 86 percent of them have visited a social media site in the last 30 days and 74 percent regularly use their smartphones to access the internet. So it made sense to facilitate "Meet an Owner" communication through mobile devices.

And, Gorton noted, "We see this event as just the beginning of how mobile messaging will impact the car-shopping process. As consumer demand for instant answers continues to grow, we anticipate that more campaigns will gravitate away from email and toward the instant gratification of real-time messaging that only Edmunds CarCode can provide."

If you're car shopping and want to chat with a Subaru owner during Tuesday's 12-hour "Meet an Owner" event, you can get more information on Edmunds' page for the 2017 Subaru Impreza.

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