One thing is certain – the spontaneous purchase of new automobiles isn’t something that happens very often. Most consumers will spend hours doing their research before visiting a car lot to even consider making a purchase, and this is one of the trends driving the automotive industry this year.
Consumers have more than just cost to consider before they make a purchase. They’re looking at safety ratings, various features that help personalize their car, available financing and more, which can lead to unpredictability regarding how any one consumer is going to behave. That can be frustrating for car dealers, but what we do know is that consumers are relying heavily on digital content in their research.
Nearly 90 percent of consumers, according to a Kelley Blue Book and Autotrader study, will hit the Internet hard for content about the automobiles they are interested in. Knowing this makes it important for your dealership to focus attention on your website. Unfortunately, third party sites currently are being used by more consumers than specific dealer sites for research. The study found that 78 percent of consumers do their research on third party sites compared to 57 percent who said they went to specific dealership sites.
Every marketer is focused on data, and when consumers skip your website to get information elsewhere, you’re not gathering the targeted data you need. So, when they do visit your lot, you have no information to use to influence how they’re entering into the buy cycle.
The Harvard Business Review’s study on the automotive industry found that 75 percent of consumers visit a dealership with no previous interaction. Some of these consumers enter the lot rather stealthily and avoid contact, while others are simply not attended to, both of which account for the study’s finding that 25 percent leave the lot without contacting any of your sellers.
Another valuable digital marketing opportunity exists in boosting your mobile media efforts, and this is an automotive trend that has been taking shape for some time. Consumers are using their smartphones and tablet computers to do their research on the go. Is your site mobile friendly? Because after they’ve gone to third party sites and begin to narrow down their search, they will eventually land on your pages.
It’s important to make sure your mobile focus is less about you and more about what your potential customers want. This involves making the car buying process easier, less stressful and more positive. What are you doing to improve your customer-centric outreach?