Buying a new vehicle, either new or used, often creates concerns and anxiety for consumers. If could be the trip to the dealerships, haggling over prices with salespeople, or getting financials in order.
Today, thanks to the Internet, both dealerships and customers are more informed than ever, leading to a smoother, less complicated car-buying experience.
“Our experience shows that nearly all of our guests have a specific vehicle in mind and are very knowledgeable about its features and value when they arrive at the dealership,” said Erick Kirks, Marketing Director at Johnson Automotive. “Back in the day, people would typically spend a Saturday riding around to various dealerships, looking at cars and taking test drives. Today, with all of the third-party sites that provide such robust information on all makes and models, I think customers have really come to trust those brands like Edmunds and Cars.com. You never really know what starts them down the path.”
That initial push — whether it’s seeing a new car on the road, driving an older car with mechanical issues or the result of a car accident — sends most customers online first. Maybe to a manufacturer’s site to see what’s available, maybe to Google to search for a model name that sticks out – but it’s almost always online. This usually sparks a chain of links and searches that, more often than not, leads to a dealer’s website.
At this point, a consumer might stop completely and not submit any information to the dealer, but thanks to specialized software, savvy dealers know what you’re looking at and where you came from.
“There’s no one single thing that turns into a sale,” Kirks said. “We use an analytics tool that provides us with multi-attribution reporting. With this tool we’re able to identify a lot of the anonymous activity that happens; so when customers are doing all this research, we are able to better measure what digital marketing efforts are helping to drive this research and ultimately bring the customer to the dealership, even if they don’t contact us online first.”
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