Satisfaction Surges if Dealers Use Mobile Devices to Enhance Sales Process

Chris Sutton

Chris Sutton

Satisfaction is highest among new-vehicle buyers who are presented with pricing/payment options on a computer screen or a tablet (833 on a 1,000-point scale) during the sales process, according to our 2013 U.S. Sales Satisfaction Index (SSI) Study, which is based on responses from 29,040 new-vehicle buyers or lessees, who completed their transaction in April or May 2013.

Using technology continues to make a major difference in enhancing the buyer’s or lessee’s sales experience at the dealership. Specifically, when a dealership salesperson uses a tablet device during the sales process with new-vehicle buyers, satisfaction is 52 points higher on average (844) than when a salesperson does not use a tablet during the sales experience (792). Satisfaction with a salesperson using a computer printout (820) receives the next highest score, followed by verbal price quotes (792); and lastly, written figures (780).

Our 2013 U.S. SSI Study finds that tablets are proving to be particularly versatile and effective tools and may help maintain consistency during the sales process, while providing accessible and dynamic product information. Yet, we also see that tablet usage among dealership salespeople remains relatively limited—only 10% of dealership salespeople use these devices. On a positive note, that’s still up from 7% in 2012. Continue reading ›

Over Half of Gen Y Shoppers Who Use the Web are Open to Any Vehicle Brand

Arianne_Walker New

Arianne Walker

One-half of all new-vehicle buyers who use the Internet in their shopping process (AIUs) are open to considering any vehicle brand at the beginning of their research experience. In addition, that percentage is even higher (54%) among Gen Y AIUs, according to our 2013 New Autoshopper Study.*

We see that close to one-half (47%) of Gen Y AIUs use smartphones in their shopping process—the most of any age demographic, which indicates how important it is for brands and websites to put these younger buyers into their marketing equations. The share of new-vehicle buyers in Gen Y is increasing at the greatest rate among all buyers and is projected to comprise 23% of all 2013 retail sales.

Automakers have a terrific opportunity to influence younger buyers during their shopping process, which averages about four months, particularly since they are quite open to considering different brands as they begin their new-vehicle research. In addition, the digital presence of the brand through mobile advertising and by providing content across mobile-accessible sites may be a great way to reach Gen Y buyers, since we see almost half that use a smartphone during the shopping process. Continue reading ›

Interest Grows for In-Vehicle Connectivity through Smartphones

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Mike VanNieuwkuyk

The level of purchase interest among vehicle owners with smartphones for device/application link technology to connect and integrate their smartphones with their vehicles infotainment systems continues to rise for very practical reasons, according to our 2013 U.S. Automotive Emerging Technologies Study.

Vehicle owners’ interest in connectivity and, in particular, the smartphone device/application link feature, is all about functionality. Research conducted by J.D. Power’s Consumer Insight and Strategy Group to track social media discussions about new technologies, including device/application link, suggests that consumers believe their in-vehicle infotainment systems lack the technology that their smartphones and tablets have.

Consumers also desire more mobile apps and want the capability to control their own software updates to integrate with their vehicle systems. Another interesting discovery from social media conversations on this topic is that consumers want their vehicle infotainment systems to be powered by their smartphone in order to avoid an additional monthly charge as well as to keep their technology up to date. Continue reading ›

Test Drives are More Likely After a Satisfying Automaker Website Experience

Arianne_Walker New

Arianne Walker

Tablets are becoming a more frequent platform for consumers when they go online to shop for a new vehicle, according to our 2013 Manufacturer Website Evaluation Study (MWES)—Wave 1. This is especially true since tablet ownership has risen by nearly one-fourth (+23%) among our sample of 10,006 new-vehicle shoppers who indicate they will be in the market for a new vehicle within the next 24 months.

Since tablet ownership continues to expand*, automakers must accommodate online shoppers on multiple platforms, which means creating websites that work well on tablets along with desktop pcs and mobile devices. We are seeing that many automakers currently direct consumers on a tablet to a desktop version of their website, while many fewer direct to a mobile version. Shoppers on a tablet are able to access all of the shopping information when they’re directed to a desktop website.

Overall satisfaction among shoppers who have tablets and are directed to a desktop pc website is higher than for those directed to a mobile website—820 (on a 1,000-point scale) vs. 798. In addition, satisfaction is higher across all four measures evaluated (information/content, navigation, appearance and speed) when tablet users utilize a desktop website. Continue reading ›

Roundtable Panelists Share a Conversation about Multi-Screen Strategies

Media experts discused how strong content can be delivered in a platform-specific way during the Automotive Marketing Roundtable.

Creating strong content for multi-screens—TVs, smartphones and tablets, as well as PCs—demands a platform-specific strategy that allows the marketers and content providers to step aside and let the audiences engage, according to panelists at the . . . Continue Reading Roundtable Panelists Share a Conversation about Multi-Screen Strategies

Gathering Together to Talk about Present and Future Auto Shoppers

Arianne Walker

Consumers are relying more and more on digital devices, such as smartphones and tablets, to help them in their vehicle shopping process. Also, new-vehicle shoppers are going online nearly as soon as they decide to buy a vehicle, according to the latest research presented by J.D. Power experts on Wed., Oct. 24, at the 2012 Automotive Marketing Roundtable (AMR) in Las Vegas, NV. The three-day event (Oct. 23-25) at the Bellagio Hotel is being attended by a record 1,400 participants.

To attract shoppers, the auto industry—automakers, marketers, advertisers, website and search engine providers, and dealers—needs to have a much better understanding of the ways that shoppers—especially younger generation buyers—are using the Internet. During an opening Automotive Marketing Overview, J.D. Power’s Arianne Walker, senior director, Media and Marketing Solutions, spoke about trends from J.D. Power new-vehicle buyer and consumer behavior research. A few key points:

Digital Research has Biggest Impact on Millennials

• A majority of new-vehicle shoppers (80%) are Automotive Internet Users (AIUs), meaning that they go online as part of their shopping process

• Millennials, those born between 1977 and 1994, will be in the market buying vehicles in large numbers by 2020, based on their life stages.

• These Millennial shoppers are more than twice as likely as other generation shoppers to use social media and blogs for shopping.

• Digital research has a greater impact (46% of shoppers indicate it  has a large impact) on make/model purchased in comparison to the price paid (39%)

• For Millennials, digital information has an even greater impact across the board in determining their selection of make/model; viewing pricing; selecting a dealer and choosing a lender.

• These younger generation buyers use more kinds of content, particularly photo galleries, interactive 360 views, and payment estimators

• New-vehicle shoppers who read dealer reviews are 6 times more likely to click through to the dealership website (source: cars.com) Continue reading ›

One in Five Digital Auto Shoppers Use a Smartphone or Tablet for Research

Arianne Walker

As the proliferation of mobile devices continues to rise in the United States and globally,* it’s no surprise that one in five new-vehicle buyers who use the Internet to shop for a new car or light truck use their tablets and smartphones to conduct research, according to our 2012 New Autoshopper Study, which is based on an online survey of nearly 12,300 purchasers and lessees of 2010 to 2012 model-year vehicles.

Overall, a majority (79%) of new-vehicle buyers use the Internet (termed Automotive Internet Users, or AIUs) to research their vehicle purchase. Nearly one-third (30%) of AIUs use several devices, including desktop PCs, smartphones and/or tablets. In fact, 20% of AIUs use a smartphone to gather information while shopping for a new vehicle, and 18% use a tablet. Continue reading ›

Challenges in In-Vehicle Technology Rise despite Stellar IQS Results

David Sargent

Although there are year-over-year gains in nearly all areas of new-vehicle initial quality, there is one notable exception—in-vehicle technology—according to the  J.D. Power and Associates 2012 U.S. Initial Quality StudySM (IQS), which is based on evaluations of more than 74,700 new-vehicle buyers and lessees after the first 90 days of ownership.

This year, problems with audio, entertainment, and navigation systems have increased by 8% from 2011. Since 2006, we have seen that problems in the in-vehicle technology category have risen by 45%, while problem incidence in other categories has improved by 24%, on average.

We also observe that for the first time in the 26-year history of our IQS, new-vehicle owners report more problems related to audio, entertainment, and navigation systems than in any other vehicle area. This is due in part to the rapid increase in equipping mass market models with new technology, such as voice recognition. In 2012, a majority, or more than 80%, of owners indicate that their new vehicle has some form of hands-free technology. Continue reading ›

Learn How to “Personalize” Web Content at the Upcoming J.D. Power Auto Marketing Roundtable

Stephanie Haina

What are the newest and best ways to use available platforms—such as smartphones and tablets as well as PCs and TV—to attract and reach automotive shoppers? This could be a topic for a panel discussion by an internet search engine expert, OEM marketer and auto dealer official at the J.D. Power . . . Continue Reading Learn How to “Personalize” Web Content at the Upcoming J.D. Power Auto Marketing Roundtable

Digital Media is the New Road to Personalized Advertising

Jeremy Detgen

The auto industry has been pushing the boundaries of Internet advertising beyond what many other industries are doing so far, according to Blake Irving, executive vice president and chief product officer of Yahoo! He told participants at this fall’s 2011 Automotive Internet Roundtable in Las Vegas, NV, that “personalization” is on the horizon and it will be conducted through social media. The technology is available as an “Into Car App” that allows consumers to track their vehicle purchase process and help select the ideal car for them. This would be building off of the already existing “Into Now App” that tags commercials and provides relevant information to consumers.

Irving described a scenario from the near future where a consumer takes a photo of his current vehicle. The app will capture that consumer’s music tastes, where he drives, where he shops, etc. The app can then download information from his PC as an authenticated user. The app gathers data from the cloud and processes it—gathering TV shows that are watched, etc. All of these bits of information and data can help select a car on a personal basis. The app can tell the consumer what dealer to shop, the price of the selected vehicle, dealership hours of operation, and more. Irving’s message was all about “signals” and how the many numerous signals being put out by consumers can be made valuable when captured, processed and analyzed. Continue reading ›