The car buying process has changed dramatically thanks to the internet and smart devices. Instead of relying primarily on car dealerships for information and guidance, consumers are turning to the internet first. According to recent data from Autotrader, about 60% of all car buyers spend almost 15 hours conducting research online before they make a purchase. Now it's up to the automotive industry to update its marketing strategy according to the latest consumer behavior. Below are three automotive marketing strategies that can increase ROI and five specific moments in the car buying process you can use to increase sales.
Moment #1: The Buyer Determines Which Type of Car They Want
Most consumers aren't sure which car they want to buy in the beginning. They are more likely to search for very generic terms online and make a note of the top rated cars they find during this stage of the buying process. Presenters at a recent J.D. Power Automotive Marketing Roundtable revealed that Millennials consider slightly more vehicles on average than Baby Boomers. They also take longer (around 16.9 weeks) when trying to decide what car to buy than Baby Boomers who only need 15.7 weeks.
Moment #2. The Buyer Narrows Down Their Search to Specific Vehicles
Gone are the days when consumers would head to their local dealership to compare cars and narrow down their search to a specific vehicle or model. Now consumers are more likely to make their final pick using their smart phone. Based on their personal preferences, budget and other determining factors they will finally settle on one or two brands. During this stage it's important that your website is fully optimized so you can make it easy for consumers to find the information they need at the right moment to move them further along in the buying process.
Moment #3: The Buyer Determines if the Vehicle They Want Fits Their Budget
Price is a huge determining factor for many consumers. Try to offer a discount or promotional deal to capture their attention. This is also the perfect opportunity to display customer reviews and other information.
Moment #4: The Buyer Decides How They Will Purchase the Car
After consumers have chosen a car they want to buy and are confident that it's within their budget, they'll decide how to purchase it. Since many people don't want to waste time driving around to multiple dealerships in their area, this is a prime opportunity to make sure your business is accessible when they want to make a purchase.
Moment #5: The Buyer Looks for the Best Deal Possible
Buyers that are price sensitive (or just consumers who value getting a deal) will continue to do extensive research at this stage to make sure they are getting the best deal possible.
After your dealership has taken advantage of these automotive marketing moments, you can focus on post purchase "in-car" marketing. Many industry experts believe this type of marketing will become increasingly popular as more car manufacturers decide to make their vehicles WiFi-enabled.