Internet infatuation drives Canadian car consumers

Posted by Meg Bernazzani on February 27, 2019

As Canadian car consumers continue their infatuation with the internet, dealers are sharpening their digital marketing tools to meet the expectations of these demanding consumers.

Leading the charge are the millennials, and with good reason. By 2020, it’s estimated that 40% of new car buyers will be millennials. And 88% of current millennials already use the internet to research a new car purchase.

Automakers have already felt the impact of this cohort. Millennials are less interested in test drives, preferring to do their research on social media and dedicated websites before they even step into a dealership. At that point, they’ve pretty much made up their mind.

But it’s not just millennials. An Ipsos survey for Canadian Black Book found that car buyers make only an average of two dealership visits. That’s a steep decline when compared with the half a dozen visits buyers made barely a decade ago.

So how does a dealer capture these customers?

Level up your game with web-savvy staff that can convert leads into sales. That means doing about five follow-ups via email, social media, or some other means. The good news is, those customers are then more likely to buy. Conversion rates of 35% are standard, as opposed to 20% five or six years ago.

Customers are looking for dealerships they can trust. That message needs to get across in the online clutter. Think like a customer, and use digital tools that can help them find the vehicle that’s right for their needs. That can include geo-fencing, and website tools like Notepad. Your customer is looking for a personalized experience, and geo-fencing can actually help you develop personalized content in real time, based on their IP addresses.

These customers have car-buying on the brain. According to Think With Google, at any given moment, one-third of Canadian adults are thinking about, already researching, or engaged in buying a car. So it’s worth combining video, search, and display to reach those customers, help them research, and welcome them into your store.

Take time to review your online presence

Many dealers spend time checking their showroom, deciding how vehicles are displayed, how they’re lined up, versus ensuring their website and third-party listings are up to snuff. What do potential customers find when they enter your site? Is it welcoming and efficient? Are there tools to help them navigate their way around? Is your web experience seamless across all mobile devices?

Another area to step up your game is third-party listings. Are vehicle display pages used to optimum advantage? What kind of photos are you providing? Are you providing enough photos? Going from 10 to 25 photos can increase leads and views by up to 30 percent!

And of course, dealers want to ensure that the online shopping experience is reflected in the in-store experience. Ensure that the brand and customer experience projected online will be seamlessly transitioned when the customer comes into the store. For example, if they’ve already provided information online, that shouldn’t be requested again.

Your next customers are already online – make sure you’re ready to engage them and bring in that sale!

Topics: ecommerce, industry insights