This year’s Cars Online research was designed to help companies answer key questions that impact their ability to sell more vehicles including how consumers shop for vehicles, why they buy and what keeps them coming back.
The following recommendations are designed to help automotive companies put report’s findings into practice to boost their business.
This year's Cars Online report makes it clear that the automotive industry faces critical changes and challenges in the marketplace. Automotive companies must understand how consumer dynamics are evolving and consider the impact these changes may have on their business in the coming years. Following are recommendations to help automotive companies apply the report's findings to their own business.
- Develop a formal social media management strategy
- Maximize the consumer interactions with integrated end-to-end campaigns
- Experiment with alternative buying and ownership models
- Focus on a holistic dealer strategy in developing markets
- Seize the online buying opportunity
- Keep "green" on your radar
Develop a formal social media management strategy
The automotive industry has the opportunity to leverage social media to build brands, generate leads, drive sales, manage customer relationships and retain customers. To capitalize on this opportunity, companies should develop a formal social media management strategy that includes real-time web listening, analysis and customer outreach.
Maximize the consumer interactions with integrated end-to-end campaigns
As the buying cycle shrinks, dealers have fewer opportunities to interact face-to-face with customers. Yet overall, the possible customer touchpoints have increased due to the growing number of channels and devices used by consumers during the buying process, presenting new and different opportunities for interaction.
Experiment with alternative buying and ownership models
As consumers show budding interest in new approaches such as mobility packages and vehicle sharing, automotive companies should test the waters. If these new models take hold they could have a significant impact on billing systems, cash flow and financial services.
Focus on a holistic dealer strategy in developing markets
Dealer network development in countries such as China and India needs to focus on a number of elements. Proximity is critical as consumers are unwilling to travel far to buy or service their vehicles. But it's not enough just to saturate a market. Dealer quality is becoming increasingly important in the developing regions as competition grows and consumers become more demanding.
Seize the online buying opportunity
Despite growing consumer demand for online buying of vehicles, parts and accessories, the capability remains scarce in most markets. When launching an online buying model, automotive companies should consider the key factors consumers are looking for: price discount, ease and speed of transaction, full price and product details, and the ability to solve the test drive issue.