As we all know over 90% of consumers are online when researching and deciding which vehicle that he/she want's to purchase which leads to the inevitable that we must fish where the fish are.  Research reveals that effective Internet advertising not only provides dealers with greater reach to car shoppers but can also successfully attract car buyers from outside the market.  Some valid points are as follows:

  • A high percentage of car buyers who used the Internet traveled more than 30 miles to a dealership
  • Two out of three car buyers who used the Internet also used third-party sites
  • 58% of car buyers only visited one or two dealerships before making a vehicle purchase
  • New car buyers spent 11.5 hours online
  • Used car buyers spent 11 hours online
  • New car buyers spent 3.25 hours on third party sites
  • Used car buyers spent 6.5 hours on third party sites

This field intelligence gives one the ability to see how important it is again to fish where the fish are.  How many times have you sold a vehicle to a customer that didn't submit a Internet lead and he/she tells you that they seen the vehicle on a third-party site.  Most dealers are not tracking this information which leads them to the assumption that the customer just showed up on the lot.

With the aforementioned being said it now leads to the point that when a dealer spends a large amount of money to generate leads to the E-Commerce Dept there must be a process in place to handle the large volume of leads.  There is no value in generating a large volume of leads and still have untrained people responding or taking incoming calls generated by third-party providers, OEM or your website.

For dealers looking to take their dealership to the next level its imperative that the dealer has a strong E-Commerce Dept.  When one looks at the fact that a high percentage of car buyers who use the Internet traveled more than 30 miles this data shows that dealers can steal customers from different cities and states.  We all have seen the customer that lives in your city but bought his/her vehicle from a dealer that is two hours away; this is a smack in the face for the local dealer that dropped the ball with this customer.  Dealers that understand these facts are starting campaigns targeting customers that are hours away from them.

Internet advertising provides greater reach to consumers and can attract car buyers from greater distances.  Dealers can tap into this wider audience and grow their customer base by leveraging online resources and automotive shopping sites where car buyers spend the majority of their time shopping.

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Comment by J.R. Batchelor on June 14, 2013 at 4:40pm

The data comes from Auto Trader and JD Power.  Now Mark you mentioned that dealers don't need a strong Internet Dept however, I beg to differ; stores that are doing big numbers have a solid E-Commerce Dept in place which drives a large amount of the total volume for the month.  A great marketing strategy is useless if when customers call in or submit a lead and don't get response for two days due to the fact that the sales person was busy working a deal and forgot to respond to the customer.  Thanks for the comment.....

Comment by J.R. Batchelor on June 14, 2013 at 1:46pm

Great insight Todd thanks!!

 

Comment by Mark Dubis on June 14, 2013 at 11:06am

J.R.  I'd like to know where you got your stats from?

All the research I have seen still shows that two thirds or more of the dealership customers are within 20 miles of the store.  I am skeptical that any significant number of buyers travel more than 30 miles for purchasing a vehicle.  Exceptions would be for high-line or specific options/colors, or if the local dealer really sucked.

Dealers also need to recognize that these "non-local" buyers will most likely never come back for service (warranty work excepted).

Also it is my belief that dealers don't need a strong Internet dept to drive sales, they NEED a smart consistent marketing strategy overall and a solid reputation in the market. Once you have that in place, you absolutely need a good sales process in the showroom.  Digital marketing is only one piece of the equation.

Comment by Todd L. Marcelle on June 14, 2013 at 10:29am

I think the information is very compelling about online usage. The interesting fact is why dealers do not capitalize on the other 40% + that consumers spend test driving and comparing vehicles. Experiential marketing is one of the most effective forms to create dealership awareness but more importantly premium level leads. In the past it was hard to measure any ROI on a display unless you had someone physically with the vehicle or running a promotion.

GoMoto solves this problem for dealers. We recently launched our patented experiential marketing technology that modernizes automotive shopping, allowing dealers to engage consumers, capture analytics, and measure advertising ROI. It will now allow dealers to track how many people engage with their car in real time, how many unlocked the car with our smartphone APP or test drive it. These displays are located in malls, areans, airports, train stations, college campus where you have a captive audience. These leads are funneled in real time to the dealer. The company is gomoto.org and I can be reached at todd@gomoto.org if you are interested in learning more on how to support lead generation. 

    

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