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Cloudinary for Automotive: Why Automotive Brands Are Turning to Media AI and Automation

Purchasing a car online was once considered, at the very least, a risky proposition. Conventional wisdom had it that you had to go “kick the tires” in person, before committing to a big-ticket purchase that will impact one’s finances for some time to come. 

Like everything else, car buying has changed. In 2022 the automotive industry saw its e-commerce popularity skyrocket. In the U.S. alone, the percentage of customers who bought cars online nearly doubled from 32% to 61%. 

A recent Kelley Blue Book report found that 74% of new car buyers and 71% of used car buyers were satisfied with their online car buying experience, up from 62% and 60% respectively from a year before. The reason? Speed. From research to purchase, the process was generally considered faster. 

The mindshift from in-person to  online car shopping, has meant automakers and dealerships have had to revamp their e-commerce experience. At Cloudinary, we already help several auto brands and used car marketplaces deliver visually stunning experiences. That’s why we are a trusted ally to power digital automotive experiences that engage and connect.

Car brands of the future need to first keep current with digital trends in the car buying experience. They must evolve digital strategies to include more personalization, better data and analytics usage, and improved usage of AI and automation. These technologies all work together to create a seamless experience for shoppers across all digital touchpoints.

The challenge is how to keep all touchpoints connected and working correctly. Automotive brands need to ensure their digital strategy commands the consumers’ full attention. Driving immersive experiences, even as shoppers switch between devices, demands media-centric innovations and a digital transformation. 

To succeed, the digital transformation process needs to be carefully orchestrated. Marketing and web teams must work together to streamline workflows and create media-rich shopping experiences. This includes functionality such as letting users digitally customize their cars’ exterior and interior colors and see their creations in 360-degree spin sets. 

Implementing engaging digital auto buying experiences requires:

  • Optimized content libraries. Businesses can upload content directly to Cloudinary and use AI to render ongoing edits, sizing, and deployment to web or mobile experiences.
  • Simplified image routing and management. Graphic assets – such as color palettes and trim options – can all be easily managed and automated for use via Cloudinary. This makes it easier and faster than ever for users to create their dream car online. Used car marketplaces can also use this service to complete a photoshoot of a newly arrived vehicle and upload images to their site as quickly as possible.

Fun fact: A third (35%) of automotive buyers state they’d buy the same car brand again. Whether someone buys a car from an online marketplace or a dealership, the purchase begins the  relationship between the buyer and that brand. As a result, brands must ensure the customer journey doesn’t end after purchase. 

Creating meaningful user experiences throughout the ownership lifecycle drives customer loyalty – and revenue. With Cloudinary, brands gain a competitive edge with auto-responsive images and video, and a consistent experience that loads fast on any screen, anywhere. These rich visual experiences help bring auto brand stories to life and keep customers coming back.

Millions of vehicles globally are connected to mobile networks, such as in-car entertainment, navigation systems, or e-commerce services.

From online to in-car, these visual experiences drive demand and convert users. Whether automotive brands use digital assets in the supply chain to help build vehicles, or to deliver content to a driver or passenger in the vehicle itself, they shouldn’t have to compromise on quality and performance. That’s why Cloudinary also offers integrations with various enterprise-grade technology providers to ensure drivers get the content they need.

Online car buyers are increasingly more flexible: A 2022 study shows that online car buyers are more likely to move ahead with their next-preferred choice if their first is unavailable, suggesting that online car buyers are more flexible than ever. Cloudinary can help your automotive brand or marketplace optimize content to simplify the purchase process — regardless if your brand is a buyer’s first or last choice — creating loyal customers for life. 

Contact us to learn more about Cloudinary’s automotive capabilities.

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