|By now, it’s pretty much a universal truth that the Internet is helping dealers to sell more cars. In spite of this, there are still far too many dealers who have not fully embraced this channel. Some employ a half-hearted approach – they “accept” sales leads provided by their OEM because the leads are either free or offered at a subsidized rate, or, simply because the OEM is pressuring them to start an Internet program. A passive approach to the Internet opportunity is causing these dealers to lose customers. The fact is, auto consumers do not only visit OEM sites; they surf, research and submit leads at a wide array of third party auto sites. In fact, third party auto sites are among the most popular with Internet users. Consumers tend to submit leads at one of the three sites - third parties, OEMs, and dealers’ own, not all three. According to J.D. Power and Associates, the overlap of consumers submitting leads at third party, dealers’ own, and OEM sites is negligible - at about 5 percent. Many online car buyers simply feel more comfortable submitting leads at third party sites. Dealers who do not respond to that interest are missing a golden opportunity. In fact, dealers that only accept leads from their OEM may be ignoring half the online market for their vehicles.|
|Price Sensitive and Practical – Minivan Mom and Dad
Let’s consider one example of typical Internet car buyers. The profile is a working man and woman with a young child and a new baby. They already have a sedan, and now they feel they need a minivan. The most salient features they’re looking for in a minivan are safety, reliability, and of course, price. They epitomize price-sensitive shoppers. She is less concerned with brand. In fact, she’s not even sure which brands make minivans. He chose the sedan, so he’s letting her choose the minivan. Will she go directly to an OEM site? No. She wants to look at a variety of models within their price range. In her research and information gathering process, she visits ConsumerReports.org and InvoiceDealers.com. She asks her husband to do some research also. He goes to MSN Autos and KelleyBlueBook.com. All are third party sites. Both husband and wife feel that third party sites offer more objective information. They conduct copious amounts of research at sites where they feel they’ll get the best, most unbiased information. After reading all the safety and performance reviews at these third party sites, as well as talking with their friends who have kids and drive minivans, they’re ready to talk to a dealer and go for a test drive. They want a good deal. So, they submit leads for three different models at the third party site where they feel they got the best information.
The Porsche Lover – Brand Loyal
Image Conscious and Brand Curious - the BMW or the Jag?
It’s a Broad Market
Dealers who invest in AI- and ML-powered digital marketing solutions today will reap the rewards of active-shopper targeting and engagement when the market constricts.