According to a recent report, for an auto maker to sell more cars, the key is to pay more attention to consumer requirements. In the mobility landscape, things are changing; and they’re changing fast. When it comes to transportation needs, the consumer now has more choices than ever before. Specific demands have to be met for a car manufacturer to develop successful products. On a global scale, Gen Y is extremely interested in leasing and owning cars; 80% of them even consider buying in the following 5 years. Most consumers that are part of Gen Y are turning their attention to vehicles with alternative engines, and many are willing to spend more money on them.
Vehicle technology has also picked their interest. Increased fuel efficiency and improved safety features are two of the most searched features when investing in a car. As these incredibly dynamic forces keep shaping up, consumer mobility preferences and demands are evolving.
Online shopping has gone mainstream
Increasingly more people have turned to the interest to shop for things. Whether we’re talking about clothes, groceries, gadgets or even services, there’s no doubt that this has a great impact on many industries. Those that didn’t use the internet to sell are now forced to do it. Otherwise, they risk going bankrupt. The auto industry in particular, has millions of online fans. Today’s modern consumer is addicted to the internet. That being said, businesses must adapt their marketing strategy and find a way to take advantage of what the internet can offer them. Companies that once used traditional forms of advertising like radio and TV must evolve. They have to learn to adapt in order to meet the demands of the tech-addicted consumer.
The automotive industry is shifting its selling mantra
There’s been a shift in the selling mantra of auto makers worldwide. Companies are finally paying more attention to what the consumer wants, and to how he wants it. Lengthy purchase paths have been replaced with buying ease thanks to the internet. Digital and everything linked to the World Wide Web has great power on prospective car buyers. Very few people would have bought a car online 10 years ago. Right now, many actually prefer to buy online rather than head over to a showroom. How is it possible for someone to want to buy a vehicle online?
Some might say that it’s a tough decision, and that cars are not iPhones. And yet, let’s not forget that we live in a tech world where the visual has taken over the real; meaning, a lot of people are drawn by things that look good and are advertised properly. And when Porsche starts advertising a concept car that recharges in 15 minutes, people will want to know more about it.
Making a decision is faster when you’re hiding behind a screen
Most consumers value the purchase of a car. They genuinely believe it is an important acquisition, but they’re sick and tired of dealing with in-person interactions. Seller-consumers interactions are tiring, and many just don’t want the hassle. Right now, most consumers enter car dealerships only to have a closer look at the car they’re planning to buy. They want to gather more info about the brand, performance of the car, and so on. Very few choose to buy in person; and that’s because technology has made things a lot easier for them. The internet is a great tool because it comes with comparison websites. Basically, if you see a car that you really like but don’t want to spend $50,000 on it, you look for a better deal on other sites.
The dealer has a whole different purpose
Just because we’re buying cars online, it doesn’t mean that the dealer is not important anymore. As the average consumes keeps turning to the internet to do research, they also expect auto manufactures and their prospective dealers to answer their questions online. A company selling cars on the web should have a very strong online presence too. The consumer will have questions, and there has to be someone on that other side of the screen to answer them and offer guidance.
For brands and auto dealers to remain at the top and not lose customers, they have to find a way to connect to the client. It all comes down to providing useful information. The more helpful the answer provided the better chances the company has for the consumer to come back.
Research happens anytime and from anywhere
Car buyer or people interested in buying a car are currently using multiples devices and gadgets to help them decide on a model and brand. The modern individual owns at least a smartphone; this makes the research go a lot faster and smoother. Rather than go to a dealership in person and ask for a price, prospective buyers would rather check the web from their smartphones to get a price valuation. It’s very important that the consumer has full access to the data that they require right when they ask for it. When it comes to making purchase decisions (particularly car purchases), people want to be able to use multiple gadgets to get what they need. In this case, auto makers must find a way to be present online 24/7.
An active Facebook page, a responsive web design on their website, and daily updates are minimum requirements car brands should take into account if they want people to buy from them; or at least gain an interest.
Online videos make the research become more social, informative and easier
As increasingly more people are turning to the web to buy cars, the competition for crafting the best digital marketing campaigns increases. Companies around the world are searching for new ways to keep prospective customers entertained. YouTube for example, has become an efficient resource for the consumer to get more information on everything. The platform is ideal for watching videos (tutorials and reviews) on their favorite car models. Auto videos are in high demand and not just because they advertise a certain brand or model, but also because they also compare cars and they provide insights on their performance levels.
Modern consumes use their smartphones to search for information on a certain car model. But they need some sort of “proof” that what they see is what they get. The fastest way of getting that “verbal” agreement, is to check a video tutorial with their favorite model, thus validating their choice. When potential buyers go on YouTube to see a video, they’re not that interested in reading reviews and ads on cars. They’ll most likely check videos in other niches too. However, the more active an auto maker is on YouTube the better chances he has of gaining fans. And videos with a lot of subscribers attract attention. That’s the ultimate goal – to persuade an audience that what you’re offering is worth viewing and sharing.
Compelling online advertising
Brands that are creative and that offer useful content on their channels are usually the most appreciated by the consumer. When you’re handing a business online, it’s not enough to have fans and millions of subscribers. What matters is that the quality of those fans. If you can find a way to retain their loyalty, then they’re most likely being willing to buy from you some time in the future. As technology advances, car manufacturers must learn to be prepared.
Consume behavior changes; their preferences change, as well as their perceptions. The auto industry can survive providing it adapts to change. Be responsive in the online environment and connect to the customer. Ask people what they would like to see in your concept car, and show them that their opinion matters to you. When Porsche hit 5 million fans on Facebook in 2013, it decided to create a special car design.
The fan version of a 911 Carrera 4S was according to the demands of those 5 million fans on Facebook. What was really cool about the idea was the exterior design. Porsche placed the names of its fans all over the exterior. Can you imagine 5 million names imprinted on a Porsche? The idea was certainly innovative at the time, and not necessarily because we’re talking about a luxury brand, but because of a campaign that really spoke to the people.
Consumers are slowly changing their perception about buying a car. They want to be able to make a purchase online without too much hassle, but they also want to be supported every step of the way. The interest has made things a lot easier for the auto industry. Nowadays there are car review websites, comparison websites, and even blogs that talk about best/worst cars available in the marketplace. With so many solutions and tools available on the web, why bother going to a dealership to get one of your own (and deal with mountains of paper work), when you can have your favorite model delivered to your doorsteps?
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