What your prospects are doing online before visiting your dealership

Most shoppers want to find actual vehicles listed for sale.

Most shoppers want to find actual vehicles listed for sale.

Americans want to car shop online.

And that creates opportunities for dealerships to deliver online benefits that influence consumers’ decisions about where to purchase their new or used car, truck or SUV.

But you can’t take advantage of the opportunity unless you know what your prospects are doing online. And then act on that knowledge to satisfy their needs.

IL-BLOG_70630-11 (The Net Effect Logo)_WordPress“Understanding what car buyers are looking for can help ensure you are delivering the right marketing message and content to the right shopper at the right time to help influence their decisions about what to buy and whom to buy from,” said Cox Automotive, based on results of their survey of 2,175 consumers who recently purchased vehicles (new and used).

Here’s what the Cox survey indicates car shoppers are doing when they go online before a possible vehicle purchase:



  1. Researching car prices, 86 percent.
  2. Finding out the value of their current vehicle, 74 percent.
  3. Comparing different models, 72 percent.
  4. Finding actual vehicles listed for sale, 67 percent.
  5. Locating a dealer or getting dealer information, 44 percent.

But knowing this is only the first part of the equation, based on the Cox results.

If a shopper gets to your website – assuming you provide something like what he/she is seeking – there’s a good chance to influence that prospect to visit the dealership to purchase or lease.

The Cox survey shows that more than half of shoppers visit dealership websites, and just under 50 percent visited the websites of the dealerships where they ultimately purchased or leased their vehicles.

More than half of consumers who visited the website of the dealership from which they ultimately purchased or leased was influenced by that website, according to Cox.

These numbers seem especially important considering that dealership websites are the first dealer contacts for nearly half of vehicle shoppers, Cox reported. And that almost 40 percent of all buyers went only to the dealership where they made their purchase.

“Automotive marketers need to have a broad yet integrated marketing strategy … to effectively reach and influence shoppers wherever they are shopping online,” said Cox.

That leads to the next two installments of our series, “The Net Effect,” which will cover what consumers want from dealership websites as part of their online shopping experiences and some practical steps your dealership could take to improve your website to boost your results.

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