COSTA MESA, Calif. — Using online shopping tools on auto manufacturer websites offers significant improvements in satisfaction among consumers who are shopping for a new vehicle, according to J.D.  Power’s summer 2016 Manufacturer Website Evaluation Study.

After comparing the satisfaction scores among all manufactures, the study found that the three best-performing sites belonged to Land Rover, Jaguar and Mercedes-Benz who scored 834, 833 and 831 respectively.

"The content on manufacturer websites must embody three key attributes: It must be easy to access; it must provide sufficient detail to answer shoppers' questions; and it must help tell the brand story," said Arianne Walker, senior director of marketing analytics at J.D. Power. "There's a direct connection between manufacturers that utilize their digital showroom effectively and satisfied shoppers who then become buyers." 

The study measured the usefulness of automotive manufacturer websites during the new-vehicle shopping process by examining four key measures: information/content, appearance, speed and navigation. The study measured satisfaction on a 1,000-point scale, and it found that the average score for all manufacturer websites was 807 points.

About 57% of shoppers who responded to the study and had satisfaction scores above 900 indicated that they were more likely to test drive a vehicle after visiting a well-designed manufacturer website. Only 16% of shoppers who went to poorly designed website and had satisfaction scores below 500 indicated that they were more likely to test drive a vehicle.

The firm noted that manufacturers have to be mindful of the type of content that shoppers are using and need to continually monitor and improve the content to keep up with shoppers’ changing expectations and needs. Some of the best received tools were vehicle configurators; comparison tools; exterior 360 views; interior 360 views; offers/incentives listing; and payment calculator, according to J.D. Power.  

"Gen Y shoppers — soon to be the largest group of new-vehicle shoppers — use these tools at higher rates than Boomers, signifying that manufacturers must continue to invest in and improve website tools in response to shifts in the car-buying population," Walker said.

Originally posted on F&I and Showroom