March 28, 2018

Memo to auto dealers: shoppers prefer your website! Adtaxi released the results of its inaugural Auto Shopping in America survey. Offering an analysis of consumers’ auto shopping habits, behaviors and preferences nationwide, the study revealed that today’s shoppers favor website visits over dealer visits by a large margin.

According to the study, 96% of respondents find dealer websites useful, with vehicle description pages deemed the most helpful (42%). Overall, 91% of vehicle shoppers utilize the internet —with 45% having done so both before and after visiting a dealership. Convenience was the most commonly cited advantage of shopping online (53%), followed by avoiding salespeople (25%), with the ability to shop based on price in third place (22%)

“The growth and impact of e-commerce on the auto industry have been profound, as car shopping is increasingly taking place online,” said Joel Sesco, National Director of Automotive at Adtaxi. “Today, consumers are making decisions online, often visiting the dealership only to confirm their research or choose a vehicle from an already narrowed list.”

Among the study’s additional findings:

●        78% listed something other than price as the motivating factor for shopping online, showing that, although price matters, both convenience and transparency are more important to an internet shopper.

●        The most common first step taken in the shopping process is visiting an aggregate site (32%), followed by using a search engine (30%) and visiting a local dealer’s website (24%). Visiting a brand manufacturer’s website is the first step for only 14% of shoppers.

●        Overall, 45% of respondents do not want any contact with a dealership before visiting in person.

●        42% of shoppers list the Vehicle Description Page as the most helpful part of a dealership’s website, more than double the next two closest website features of a Specials page (20%) and an hours and directions page (19.6%).

●        On average, 1.69 devices were used during the online research process, making cross-device targeting and attribution an imperative for dealership marketing efforts.

Also, 76% of participants can remember an online car ad they’ve seen in the past year, with male respondents (81%) being more likely than female respondents (70%) to recall such an ad.

“Based on shopper feedback, it is clear that online ads play an integral role in the car shopping process—even when they’re not clicked on,” said Sesco. “The fact that a majority of respondents remembered an ad without clicking on it demonstrates an ad’s ability to make an impression. The importance of tracking not just post-click behavior, but also post-view behavior is obvious. Further, the ability to pair post-click and post-view tracking to a Vehicle Description Page engagement on a dealership website puts dealerships in line with current vehicle shopping behavior and increases a dealer’s chances for getting dealership-averse online shoppers to walk through their door.”


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