One in four car buyers will visit a retailer’s website first when researching their next vehicle purchase, according to research from tech vendor CitNOW.
Manufacturers’ websites were cited as the most likely place for a car buyer to visit first (30%), followed by a retailer’s website (26%).
Some 57% of motorists do some form of research before visiting the showroom, while four in 10 car buyers now use their smartphone to research their next vehicle. CitNOW states that developing an optimised mobile site could help to improve sales for dealers.
Ollie Parsons, head of sales and client services UK for CitNOW, explained that a retailer’s website is the first touchpoint for many consumers during the car buying process. “That initial impression can help build a lead, or turn them towards a competitor.
“Delivering high quality imagery and video can help transform a retailer’s online customer journey, creating engaging listings that can attract potential customers to your website, and help convert online traffic into footfall.”
Separate research from Close Brother Motor Finance also found that consumers are looking online at the start of the car buying process. The study found that this year 1.5m more people checked third-party websites such as AutoTrader and Motors.co.uk than the previous year. One in 10 respondents said they checked online auction sites such as eBay and Gumtree.
Results also revealed that 91% of all car buyers said they had done some research before coming into to buy the car, rising to 96% for consumers under 35.
Sean Kemple, director of Sales at Close Brothers, said the internet does not necessarily pose a threat to dealers: “It plays a key role in the customer journey, but the more the customer is swamped with reams of information, the more they will continue to rely of the advice of dealers to decipher it all.”