Be Available. Be Where the Car Buyers are Shopping!
Car shoppers used to be loyal to car brands and got their information from one source – the auto dealership. But times have changed, and gone are the days when consumers would go from auto dealership to 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! Purchasing a car is a very considered decision for car shoppers; so how has car shopping changed with the digital world? The average car shopper today makes only 2 dealerships visits before purchasing a vehicle. 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 digital and mobile research, comparisons, and pricing. Even getting real time advice from resources and dealerships! 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.
Before the dealership visit, car shoppers are making decisions and forming their opinions based on their digital and mobile research. That’s why it’s important for dealerships to be omnipresent in these moments — if a dealership wants to stay in the consideration pool! Meaning that automotive dealerships need to be available online where ever and whenever car buyers are shopping. In addition to being available to car shoppers, dealerships need to be providing useful information; car reviews, YouTube videos, location, and contact information, etc., so the car shopper can easily locate them. Being useful online is important as most car shoppers enter the market unsure of what car to buy. Initially, car shoppers might start by asking friends or family for their opinions on what to buy or research car review sites. According to a TNS Media Consumption Report, research is showing car buyers being heavily influenced by YouTube videos when shopping for cars – 70% of car shoppers had watched a YouTube video when car shopping—more than TV, newspapers or magazines.
Car Buying Research
After asking for advice and doing some initial research, car shoppers dive deeper and look to YouTube for a virtual test drives, research gas mileage, seating accommodations, and other personal assessments — and do a “reality check” to see if the vehicle they are interested in fits their lifestyle and needs. The time spent watching vehicle related YouTube video’s has more than doubled since 2015! Then it comes down to price and location. 70% of searches for car shopping on mobile include MSRP (Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price), list prices, and “locate a dealership near me”. Of those searches “locate a dealership near me” has also doubled in the last year. Now it’s off to the lot!
Closing the Car Deal!
Half of all car shoppers use their mobile phones once they have arrived at the dealership. Although the vehicle they have come for has been carefully researched and selected – car shoppers also want to leave feeling like they also get the best deal. While at the lot, consumers are researching Kelly Blue Book and comparing prices offered by other car dealerships to use as leverage when sitting in the Finance office! So again, being prepared and knowing your role as the dealership in the purchase funnel is more important than ever!