Digital Trends Changing the Auto Industry

November 26, 2015

When buying a vehicle, the average customer today visits only two dealerships. What’s the cause of these reduced visits? Its the growing use of digital, specifically mobile, platforms. Customers find models, search deals, and get real-time advice right from their mobile phones. If you want your dealership to thrive it is essential for your website to have a great mobile presence; creating traffic and providing customers with the necessary information. Without a doubt, these digital and mobile trends are changing the auto industry. We’ve looked at some key points in the customer purchase process and determined what exactly customers are looking for.

Car dealership

Which is best?
On average six out of ten customers enter the market without knowing which car to buy. At first they consult someone they trust, read blogs and forums, and search vehicle review sites to narrow their choices. Interestingly while buying a vehicle customers are more influenced by online videos than newspapers, TV or magazines. Research shows that, of people who watched YouTube video reviews, 69% of them were influenced by the video. More than 3 million hours of vehicle review videos have been watched in 2015 and about 1.2 million of those watched from their mobile phone. Those numbers are more than twice as many as last year.

Is this right for me?
Eventually, customers need a reality check: will this car fit with my life or fit my needs? Important criteria of this stage in purchase decision are the practical facts about the car like air bags and seating accommodation. One of the areas that we’re seeing an increased interest is vehicle hauling capacity. This has increased about 15-30 percent from last year. Search interest for luxury options like sunroof and rearview cameras are also on the rise. At this point in the purchase decision people search for videos like “test drive”, “walk through of interior and exterior”, and “vehicle options” and “features & highlights”. Manufacturers’ websites also play a crucial role here, helping customer understand various equipment options and packages.


Can I afford it?
After searching all this things, and once consumers can imagine owning a particular vehicle, they need to know if they can afford it. And once again, shoppers search the internet for the MSRP and list prices. These types of price searches grew 25% this year and is at its highest level ever. The value of their current car is just as important as the price of the new one for many shoppers. Search interest for trade-in value was at record levels this summer, up 17% in July.

Where should I buy from?
A visit to the nearest car dealership is a crucial step in the journey even though the majority of the decision was made online. Searches for “nearest dealership”  doubled in the past year. Frequent search terms that are used by customers are linked to “where”, “when” and “what”. Where is the nearest dealer? What dealers are open on sunday? Vehicle shoppers also search for “Which.” Which dealership will give them the best experience?
In the end, to be successful in this competitive digital market your dealership website should be an integral part of your sales process. You need to deliver all kinds of vehicle-related information to your customers and the most important thing is that you need to deliver all the information on a mobile-friendly platform.