Web Tools Put Buyers In The Driver’s Seat

Vehicle shoppers want to engage on their own terms.
With the increasing availability of online auto information from a variety of sources, vehicle shoppers have become accustomed to accessing what they want, how and when they want it. They are no longer satisfied with information pushed to them by retailers, but instead seek to consult a wide range of outlets before making a big-ticket purchase.

Online vehicle research has become less predictable.
Many auto purchases start with a web search, conclude at a dealership and include visits to manufacturer and third-party sites along the way. The sheer amount of online information and many points of entry are making it difficult for marketers to pinpoint exactly where consumers are in the purchase funnel, which tools and resources they need and where they will go next.

Socializing online is part of the mainstream shopping process. While expert reviews and ratings remain important, more consumers are turning to online networks of peers to read and share opinions and experiences. This is yet another point of entry for auto shoppers.

Mobile has extended online research to the dealer lot.
As smartphone use proliferates, consumers expect to comparison shop and access local inventory and dealer information in real time, from wherever they are. They are making use of mobile tools at all phases of the shopping process, right up to the moment of purchase.

Automotive video is a must-have.
Broadband and mobile networks are becoming faster and consumers are gravitating to images and videos of the actual vehicles they are considering. Combining these with reviews and commentary makes even more of an impression.

Source: eMarketer, July 2011

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