Kia teams up with Gubagoo to boost digital marketing

Kia has partnered with Gubagoo, a conversational commerce service, to add another tool to Kia dealership digital marketing programs.

Gubagoo specializes in digital retail tools that allow auto shoppers to browse inventory on a dealership’s website and chat with the dealership. Themes, colors, fonts, scripts, images, messages and chat location elements are some of the customizable components.

But non-Kia dealerships don’t need to rely on their OEMs to adopt Gubagoo, recently acquired by Reynolds & Reynolds, to bolster their marketing and customer service. Jeff Vaughn, chief marketing officer of Cable Dahmer Automotive Group, Kansas City, MO, has adopted Gubagoo for his group’s seven storefronts and five OEM franchises, including Kia.

“It allows us to take our consumer experiences head-on (and) connect them with deeper experiences and applications that Reynolds has about making deals and signing deals…so we can bring the best to the consumer. as well as the backend dealer,” Vaughn told Wards.

“So now we’re on the verge of really delivering all of the e-commerce experiences across every part of the dealership, every part of the customer experience, the dealership, and other deep integrations with, for example, service and ability to access the chat.” Vaughn says.

Another standout feature is the ability for buyers to connect with actual dealer representatives 24/7/365. Gubagoo staff are trained for specific brands and dealers and respond to after-hours inquiries. And when dealer staff initiate a chat, Gubagoo staff can discreetly join the discussion and relay relevant information to the dealer.

Gubagoo dates back about a decade when the founders noted that customers on dealership websites had to fill out a form to get in touch. As the technology developed, the founders introduced personalized chat greetings based on customer interests.

“So rather than saying ‘How can I help you?’ it could detect the website user’s interest and say, “How can I help you with the Honda Civic?” says Ryan Osten, Executive Vice President of Gubagoo. “We launched it with some of the first dealers and it had an immediate impact…on lead-to-dealer conversion revenue and it just took off from there.”

As customer preferences shifted to more online interactions during transactions, the service was expanded to meet this need. Now, a variety of customization options are available for dealerships and the brand experience.

“One thing that car dealerships are very particular about is how they want customer experiences to be,” says Osten. “Our chat scripts are customizable, our messages are customizable, customer management is customizable. Over the years we’ve done that, we’ve built in a lot of customization to match dealership activities and preferences.”

This personalization is why Vaughan is so high on service.

“What we love is that the consumer starts talking and everything can be linked to online retail,” he says. “We can start closing the deal with the client…because you’re on the chat side of the conversation.”

“They really know our vehicles,” says Vaughn of Gubagoo staff. “They are automotive-oriented people and the quality of the chat is much higher than previous vendors.”

Kia dealers who adopt the Gubagoo website chat can enter the chat on to monitor and access these interactions. The conversation is transparent, Kia representatives say.

Kia dealers who do not use Gubagoo as their chat provider can access Gubagoo through a GLive portal that allows them to monitor and access their dealers’ chat which originates from

There’s a bonus for Kia dealers who currently use Gubagoo as their website chat provider: they can chat with customers who come through, just like they do on their websites.