Moments of Truth – How Car Buyers Shop

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Moments of Truth – How Car Buyers Shop

Car shoppers around the world, including the US, are changing how they shop for new and used vehicles. Gone are the days when consumers would go from dealership to auto dealership looking for the right car to purchase. Now, with multiple digital devices at their fingertips, car shoppers are able to ask questions and do research before even setting foot on the lot! The average car shopper takes only 2-3 months before visiting a dealership to take a test drive. Purchasing a vehicle is a very considered decision for car shoppers; so how has car shopping changed with the digital world? It used to be that people looking to buy a car would find a deal, research it online, and then go to a dealership to test drive and purchase a car.  Now, although there are still ads, car shoppers are less influenced by them – and more influenced by their own research, comparisons, and pricing. According to Google Trends, auto shoppers use an average of 18.2 different sources of information from TV, news articles, online, family, etc. before finally forming their final decision.

Customers are Taking the Wheel

The car buying process usually kicks off with the potential car shopper seeing an advertisement on TV, newspaper, billboard, or radio. And then customers take the wheel; and the car shopping process turns to digital. Auto dealerships are finding a greater need to influence car shoppers online, especially when it comes to classified advertising, to get car shoppers to even go into a dealership! That’s where we fit in, TapCars is a managed service that posts auto dealerships used car inventory across social media — where consumers are looking! The top 5 sources of influence on the path to purchasing a vehicle include test drive, looking at vehicles, getting an online quote, talking to a sales person and comparison shopping online. Car shoppers consider these experiences to be the most important in the car buying process.

Top 5 Car Buying Sources

Test Driving a Car

74%

Looking at Vehicles

71%

Requesting an Online Quote

59%

Talked with a Salesperson

58%

Comparison Shopping Online

45%

*According to Google/Shopper Sciences, Zero Moment of Truth Study – Automotive, Apr 2011

Online Car Shopping Research

Car shoppers are doing more of their own research online and spending less time at dealerships. According to a McKinsey report the average buyer visits just 1.6 auto dealerships while car shopping, down from 10 years ago when shoppers visited an average of five dealerships. No matter the source, digital plays a a huge role in the car shopping experience today. In-market research and comparison searches on mobile devices has more than tripled since 2011 making mobile an important ad format for auto dealerships. According to JD Power, 48 percent of vehicle buyers that shop on a mobile device use their smartphone while at the dealership, primarily to access vehicle pricing as well as model information, inventory and classifieds searches, and special offers and incentives.

Post Car Buying Behavior

As a result of the car shopper being more invested in the decision making process – they are more devoted to the car brand they have chosen. After purchasing a vehicle, car buyers are excited to share their experience online! Many will call, text, email or meet with family or friends to talk about or show off their new or used car purchase. Over 41% will engage in sharing their vehicle purchase in some form of digital or Social Media – via blogging, tweeting, Facebook or writing a review on a website.

Why Dealers Love Craigslist

By | Dealer News | No Comments

Why Dealers Love Craigslist

Colorful balloons, flags and inflatables were all it took get a car shoppers attention… oh the good old days! Today, auto dealers must rely on digital tools to get the exposure they need to increase automotive sales. Craigslist is a classified community and one of the best forums to sell used cars online — it has a simple interface, localized, and chronological listings that give the car shopper a sense of urgency to buy. Craigslist has been an incredible source of leads and revenue for car dealers, but in 2013, Craigslist took criticism from dealerships when they started charging them for listings.  However, the user experience improved dramatically as savvy automotive dealers realized that by reducing the total amount of cars posted on Craigslist, they would receive more exposure and new customers than they had before!

Craigslist Reach

Craigslist is ranked the 9th most visited site in the US (or 45th in the world) according to Infinite Prospects; with over 30 billion page views per month. Car shoppers go to Craigslist with the intention to buy; shopping for cars is one of the most popular searches on their website.  The average person spends roughly 13 minutes or more, per visit, when car shopping on Craigslist.

Craigslist attracts two kinds of car shoppers; those who are actively looking with an intent to buy and those that are browsing. Being that all micro moments of the car shopping experience are important — there is a key advantage to posting on Craigslist. According to Car and Driver the  #1 tip for a successful car buying experience on Craigslist is to hone your search. Craigslist allows users to configure their search results to include dealers, private sellers, or both. If a warranty, certified pre-owned status, or convenience is high on your list of priorities, you’ll want to restrict yourself to dealer listings, as there’s no reason to waste time scrolling through pages of clapped out Fox-body Mustangs and worn-out work trucks.

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Classifieds Postings

Craigslist is a great forum for classified listings, it is not always easy to keep updated if you are an auto dealership with a sizeable amount of used car inventory to sell. That’s where we come in, TapCars is trusted by some of the biggest names in automotive; from dealers and dealer groups and other vendors. The new Craiglist format brings personal and individual control to the table and makes it easier to focus on getting the right vehicles out there, with the right message. TapCars service delivers a product mix that generates qualified leads, improves inventory turn, and reduces marketing spend. This alllows dealerships to focus on selling cars – while leaving the marketing to us. TapCars posting technology reaches customers across all marketplaces & channels with attractive, informative, and user friendly display ads and easy programmatic distribution.

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Auto Dealerships on Craigslist

With digital connectivity from our computers to our tablets and mobile, more automotive dealers are coming back to Craiglist every day as well as for the first time. If you are an automotive dealership that wants to move more inventory faster, now is the time.  With over 500,000 cars posted, TapCars technology is a proven marketing tactic utilized by dealerships across the U.S. Get your free DEMO here: dealers.tapcars.com.

Is Your Car Inventory Online? The Rise of Digital Auto Shoppers

By | Car Buying | No Comments

Digital Drives Inspiration and Research

Car shoppers are doing their research online, 95% of car shoppers use digital channels for research and inspiration, with both mobile and video increasing year over year! So, how does digital drive car shopping decisions?  As a result, 80%+ of car shoppers are in-market 3 months or less. The car shopping process usually kicks off online with mobile and video ad formats prompting potential car shoppers to begin their research. Mobile ads have calls to action to visit the dealer, dealers website or contact the advertiser.

Online Discovery

No matter the source, digital plays a a huge role in the car buying experience today – from dealer visits, test drives, and reaching out to family and friends to help make a purchase decision! In-market research and comparison searches on mobile devices has more than tripled since 2011 making mobile an important ad format for auto dealerships. According to JD Power, 48 percent of vehicle buyers that shop on a mobile device use their smartphone while at the dealership, primarily to access vehicle pricing as well as model information, inventory and classifieds searches, and special offers and incentives. Thats where we fit in, TapCars is a managed service that posts auto dealerships used car inventory across social media — where consumers are looking!

When looking to buy a car, shoppers turn to mobile for a variety of reasons. The top 5 research activities on mobile are to view cars/trucks, call a dealer, read reviews, view current offers, and locate a dealer. Car shoppers are also using mobile for the same comparison activities. There are two primary actions in-market mobile shoppers do once they are on the lot; comparison/research and pricing activities. Comparison/research activities include looking at reviews, checking out a specific model, or reaching out to a family or friend for advice. If the car shopper is ready to buy they may search for pricing information, hours and contact information of a dealership, or researching discounts or other offers.

Video Engagement

Do you want to sell a vehicle? attach a video. Out of all the advertising formats, video ranks number one for driving consideration for car shoppers. The amount of time consumers are watching car videos is rising; one in four car shoppers watch an hour or more at some point during the research process, Google says. Video adds a human experience to the car brand, that text and photos can’t compete with. Things like infotainment systems, vehicle handling and emerging technology are easier and sometimes more exciting to illustrate with video. Nearly 84% of car shoppers said they would watch a video on their device next time they shop for a car. Videos help to introduce brands/new brands, help to learn more about specific cars/trucks, and to narrow down the purchase decision. In a research study by Google Think Insights, 74% of car shoppers said that they looked online at videos to learn about specific cars/trucks. And 57% said that videos helped introduce them to new brands. Almost half of all those who watched a video made a trip to the dealership!

Owning it!

Trends in the automotive industry have changed with the rise of digital connectivity. The car shopper’s journey is self driven backed by deep research. With car shoppers being digital savvy, dealerships need a strong online, mobile, and video presence to keep up with consumers — from inspiration to ownership!

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