To help increase sales and drive traffic to a dealership, understanding what makes car buyers tick and the route they take before making a purchase is vital. To achieve this, Motors.co.uk has released its latest insight into the consumer car buying journey.
The findings from Motors.co.uk show that the most important source of research for consumers looking for a new or used vehicle is car search websites, followed by car review websites. Car dealership websites were ranked closely behind in third place.
Recommendations are still a significant influencer on the car buying process, with over a quarter (28%) of people turning to friends and family for information. This reaffirms the importance of continued good customer service at a dealership, as word of mouth is still a powerful tool.
Social media is another area not to overlook; with 11% of consumers using this channel to research their next car purchase, it links closely to dealer reputation. Previous insight from Motors.co.uk showed that 36% of people said whether they had heard of the dealer and whether it had been recommended by other car buyers was important – so for many, experiences and opinions shared on social media and through online reviews could be the deciding factor in a sale.
Such insight highlights the importance of aligning the offline and online experience for consumers. Peter Watts, director of dealer insight at Motors.co.uk, explains: “Our data reaffirms that consumers will have conducted extensive research before they set foot in a dealership, so a dealer needs to bear this in mind when speaking to a customer in person. For all retailers, it is important to listen to the demands of their customer base and this will lead to an increase in trust and excellent customer service.
“Interestingly, two of the UK’s top three ranked businesses for service in the recent report from the Institute of Customer Service are online organisations, Amazon and First Direct, with John Lewis knocked off the top spot and out of the top three for the first time in seven years. This demonstrates the power of online businesses and how consumers are valuing excellent customer service despite not having face-to-face contact with a brand. For the motor industry, which is operating both on and offline, this reiterates the importance of ensuring customers have a consistent, smooth transition between the two channels.
“Reputation remains key and dealers who can align different elements of the consumer car buying journey and leave customers feeling happy and secure with their service will take the lead.”