According to a recent report from Capgemini, digital information channels are transforming the way customers are leaving tracks on the automotive industry. In particular, how consumers are gathering information is transitioning, finding that while dealerships still represent a trusted source of information, social media is leaving its mark, obliging the industry to capitalise on its potential.
Earlier this year Capgemini surveyed 10,500+ automotive customers spread over 10 mature and developing markets to identify trends within the consumer driven digitalisation of the automotive industry. Insights were captured along different phases, from information used to make purchasing decisions, engagement with the product to the end point, and ownership itself. Unsurprisingly the report found that among the younger generations multi-media technology and marketing avenues are having a large impact on the way in which consumers make purchasing decisions. Social media, interactive showrooms and websites are all creating different avenues for engagement with customers.
The way in which consumers are making choices has in recent years been transformed from the traditional visiting a car dealership to a mixed onlineoffline model. Now, almost all (97%) of those looking to purchase a car use the internet to inform their choice. In the digital age, customers will look online for reviews, ask friends and investigate the specifications of cars on dealership websites, alongside historically normal visiting a car dealership, “kicking the tyres” and taking the car for a test drive. Of the respondents, 73% returned that they are more likely to buy a model with a positive review on social media, with 52% citing the use of a search engine to investigate potential purchasing candidates, while 54% will visit the OEM’s website for further details and 52% will visit the website of the dealership. While digital information is seen as important, it’s not all bad news for knowledgeable dealership representatives, 55% of respondents still favouring being informed in person about their potential purchase.
Listening to you and me
Once on the dealer’s website, the respondents had expectations about the information provided and how it is shown. For instance, 71% said it was important for the website to provide “full range of product information and vehicle selection.” Further, 57% expect to see the list price of the vehicle in question with a further 44% were looking for a car configuring tool to personalise their ideal car. Besides looking at information provided by the companies interested in a sale of their products, consumers too looked for reviews from their peers, accessing “third-party automotive blogs, forums and discussions, as well as independent consumer information websites.” This trend towards the importance of user generated reviews, the report suggests, allows for another way for OEMs to interface with customers on social media, 85% of respondents want to have OEMs engage with them directly through social media. At the very least, Capgemini recommends that OEMs and dealerships provide easy to access and simple to parse online information about their products and services.