“Online Autobahn: The Internet Race to Automotive Success”


The way we act as consumers is dramatically changing: with technology at our fingertips, it’s easier than ever to investigate the truth behind commercials. The automotive industry is no exception: already more and more customers are doing their research online before stepping foot into a car dealership.


A recent study by international company Accenture of over 13,000 drivers in 11 countries revealed that consumers are already demanding more user-friendly web service from automotive retailers. 80% were looking for customized sites that made navigation easier, 73% wanted a simplified comparison process, and 68% were eager to chat with a dealer online.

Those are some staggering statistics.
62% of automotive dealers have anticipated this change in consumer demands, and have shifted their focus from television ads to internet-focused marketing. Social media, especially in America, has a large impact on automotive sales: it allows potential customers to look at what their friends are driving, and how well they enjoy their vehicles.

Likewise, it allows dealerships to put customer testimonials closer to their potential customers. Seeing another average person walk through the benefits of their recent automotive purchase inspires more trust than a basic television ad.

However, consistency is still key. A large amount of the automotive industry’s success can be attributed to consistency: Ford’s stamped-steel logo of “Built Ford Tough” or Lexus’ “December to Remember” annual campaign provides something a customer can count on. By limiting the surprises and disconnects from advertising mediums, the automotive campaign is likely to be successful.

Already, most dealers provide detailed descriptions of their available vehicles on social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter. Weekly promotions and giveaways are designed to draw more consumers in, on the path to becoming loyal fans. Automotive-enthusiast magazines provide demonstration videos to demonstrate the speed by the most anticipated vehicles, and in-depth blogs weigh the pros and cons of new models.
With all of that, the only thing lacking is an online test drive. Perhaps in the future, automotive companies will be keen to add a virtual simulation to their online walk-around.

About the Author: Thad Baker works with Easterns Automotive Group, a quality used car dealer in MD and VA.

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