Recent research shows that car buyers are spending less time kicking tires and more time pushing buttons on their mobile device. In fact, we surveyed over 500 consumers on their automotive buying patterns and found that almost 50 percent of shoppers are using mobile devices to conduct their automotive research. In addition to performing research, car shoppers have high digital interaction expectations including being able to ask questions and book test drives, according to a recent Facebook study.
Today's auto buyers are using a mix of review sites, local dealer websites, search engines and social media to educate themselves during their buying journey. Our survey found that upon starting the path to make a car purchase, 34% of respondents were unsure of which brand to buy and which dealership to purchase from and relied on digital channels to inform them.
Other key findings of the survey include:
- Car shoppers gear up online before visiting dealerships
- Customers are utilizing consumer reviews, search engines, and dealer websites to inform their decisions
- Dealerships must be optimized for mobile customer interactions
Car shoppers have more information online and through other sources than ever, leading to fewer visits to dealerships. We found as many as 67 percent of our survey respondents visited only one - two dealerships before making a purchase.
What does this mean for dealers? It means that car buyers are seeking a better digital experience and mobile is a vital way to attract and convert these “on the go” customers. Dealers and automotive marketers have an opportunity to influence and attract customers online, but automotive marketers need to embrace and understand shopper purchasing habits to successfully drive customers to their lots.
Susan Hamilton, director of advertising for Continental Mazda in Anchorage, Alaska, one of our current customers sought to understand car shopping behavior and grew her dealership's presence online. The result?
"We’ve seen first-hand how valuable it is to target automotive shoppers researching online," said Susan Hamilton, "We're capturing the lion's share of Mazda sales in our market, largely because of our strong digital presence. Since partnering with Netsertive, we’ve increased our website traffic and we're experiencing more calls and online scheduling for all four of our service departments. We’ve recently had to expand our Internet Sales team to keep up with this demand .”
Get more data and view the full results of the study, below.