Recently, PERQ, a company that helps dealerships optimize consumer engagement on their websites, released a report that featured online vehicle shopping insights from hundreds of dealerships, gathered over a three-month period. Online visitors already actively engaged in online vehicle shopping provided the data.
Since online shopping is clearly growing, driven by millennials and the iGeneration—two market segments that are beginning to control a significant portion of the automotive retail spending—the insights are invaluable.
Let’s consider some of the interesting discoveries regarding the needs and wants of online vehicle shoppers.
Online vehicle shoppers want to be contacted by email (68%) and text (24%).
While I am from the baby boomer generation, I have been doing a lot more online research, myself, prior to walking into the dealership.
On my most recent investigation, I was looking at a variety of Kia makes and models. It was a Friday night and I was watching TV with my wife while I searched.
I used the online chat feature to ask a question, and my experience was less than desirable. I started a quick chat to get a few questions answered.
It was clear that the person on the other end wasn’t with the dealership and was looking answers up in a database.
To my surprise, about 10 minutes after the chat, I got a call from the Internet manager. I answered, but, to be honest, I wasn’t ready to engage—not on a Friday night when I was trying to relax.
Dealerships need to realize that not every shopper wants to engage in a phone conversation, especially those shoppers already online. Send an email or text so they can respond on their terms.
Online vehicle shoppers are most interested in what they will get on their trade (55%).
One of the most interesting findings in PERQ’s report was of which special offers most interested online buyers. Only 30% said they preferred special pricing offers and 14% mentioned financing, while a majority 55% responded that trade-in special offers were the most desirable.
Given the amount of time a shopper spends on the Internet before coming in to your dealership, you should make sure your website provides a trade-in value calculator—and one that generates a reasonably accurate value. Otherwise, your shopper will walk right back out the door when they come in and the values are vastly different.
This situation is yet another example of why inventory management and bookout solutions are becoming more critical than ever!
Your online vehicle shoppers most likely have not purchased a vehicle from you before (74%).
Most dealers probably already get this point, but it is still a worthy reminder. Online vehicle buyers clearly like to shop around. Seventy-four percent of your website traffic is from non-customers.
So, you need content that educates them not only about the vehicles, but about your dealership as well.
Tell a story that makes your dealership stand out from the competition. Focus on the areas that are important to this buying segment of online shoppers.
After all, it’s not website traffic that’s important, but converting online shoppers into legitimate sales opportunities.
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