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An Industry Shift: How the Car Shopping Experience Keeps Evolving

Force Marketing Blog Digital Marketing

08 Jul An Industry Shift: How the Car Shopping Experience Keeps Evolving

Written by Martin Federico

Due to significant advances in technology and media in the past decade, the way we shop for cars today has changed drastically. With so much information available at our fingertips, the internet allows shoppers to research every aspect of their future car, from mileage, price and even 360° interior views.

In fact, according to Adtaxi, 86% of car-shoppers conduct online research before stepping foot into any dealership, meaning the focus for automotive marketers has to be placed online now more than ever. Below are three key changes in the automobile customer journey that dealers and their marketing teams should be aware of:

Consumer Behavior:

The average age of a new car/truck buyer is currently 53 years old, and it is expected to continue to rise. On top of this, people are holding onto their cars longer, meaning they buy less often. This means that online car marketers have to capitalize on every chance they get to drive people through the doors of their dealership.

Because most decisions about a car purchase are made even before a consumer visits a dealership, key moments in the customer journey take place online. Moreover, only 1 in 3 car buyers know the exact vehicle they would like to purchase before beginning their research, but only 20% of these buyers remain with their pre-research decision, according to Cox Automotive’s 2019 Car Buyer Journey . This demonstrates the influence online research has on the decisions a customer makes.

How Consumers Research Cars:

When buyers begin to research online, third-party sites such as Kelley Blue Book and Autotrader still reign supreme. 56% of potential buyers will visit a third-party site before any others; 18% will conduct an internet search; 12% will visit an OEM site, and the remaining 14% will visit a dealership site first. Similarly, 46% of buyers will visit a third-party site as the last site before their purchase; 6% will conduct an internet search; 8% will visit the OEM site, and 40% will visit the dealership site as their last action. The key takeaway from this is that it is important for dealerships to maintain a presence on search and display networks, both on a local and national scale to reach every online car shopper.

The Increasing Importance of Mobile:

As smartphones become more prevalent, so will their use in researching cars. 59% of those who researched cars online used mobile over desktop/laptop, and 61% used their phones to contact or search for nearby dealerships and book test drives.

Their mobility allows potential buyers to shop and research at their leisure and allows automotive marketers to advertise much more extensively with a variety of platforms to choose from. For dealerships, this means ensuring your website is mobile compatible and has an easy-to-follow interface to allow for a satisfactory customer experience. By creating an engaging platform for potential buyers to made aware of your deals and offers, you facilitate consideration on the consumer’s part and are one step closer to selling more vehicles.

Now that you’ve seen the latest stats about how car-shoppers are behaving online, you know it’s more important than ever to partner with a marketing company that can provide the results you need to succeed. Our digital team is focused on driving the outcomes dealers are looking for by generating leads and improving ROI. Contact us today to find out how we can drive more traffic and sales at your dealership!

Schedule a demo of our services. Let one of our specialists walk you through a custom demo of our services. We will identify your needs and give you a solid strategy to sell more cars.