“It’s different than it was five years ago,” says DealerSocket’s Peter Ord.
SAN ANTONIO – Online car shoppers used to click a lot, visiting various websites to find the vehicle they wanted.
But that’s changed. Car consumers today go to fewer websites, and instead rely more on search-engine marketing as an express lane on their car-buying journey.
“It’s different than it was five years ago,” says Peter Ord, national sales director for DealerSocket, a customer-relationship and information technology provider. “Today, search results take users directly to a make and model that’s available at a dealership. You don’t have to go anywhere else.”
It cuts to the chase. If online customers are interested in a particular model in a dealer’s inventory, technology takes them, not to, say, a dealership’s general home page, but to a landing site featuring that particular vehicle.
Having an attractive dealership website remains important, “but 90% of it is getting them there,” Ord says at a media roundtable during the seventh annual DealerSocket User Summit here. The session focuses on changing consumer behavior and technology.
Sure, some undecided consumers like to click around and check out different makes and models. But if a search result shows what someone is looking for in the first place, “that person needn’t go anywhere else (online),” says David Brotherton, a consultant for the National Independent Automobile Dealers Assn.
Forty-four percent of consumers visit 0-2 dealer websites today compared with up to five sites five years ago, according to a survey DealerSocket did in partnership with Google. The study surveyed more than 2,000 people who purchased a vehicle in the last 12 months.
More and more car shoppers rely on the Internet in general and their mobile devices in particular. But 81% say they don’t like the car-buying experience. Nearly 70% of dealers say their customers don’t like it.
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