says Rémy Pothet, Global Sector Head at TNS Automotive.
No-one can deny that the rise of digital is transforming society. The automotive industry is no exception. The internet is already consumers’ preferred method of finding information and preparing new car purchases in most countries. And a growing number of consumers are even buying new cars online.
Online interaction influences buying decisions
Complete strangers interact online about their vehicle experiences and plans to purchase via blogs, forums and social networks. And what’s more, these experiences strongly impact buying decisions as they are often considered to be a more trusted neutral source than automotive brands!.
Living rooms v. showrooms
Gone are the days of consumers visiting numerous showrooms and test-driving several models. When buyers go to a showroom these days many have already decided which vehicle to buy! Purchase decisions are increasingly made in the living room, not the showroom! Therefore the purpose of the showroom visit has changed considerably and scope for influencing buyers who have made up their minds is very limited. They are only interested in getting a feel for the cars’ dimensions, checking out how comfortable it is and taking a test drive. And the number of brands considered by new car buyers before making their decision is increasing as potential buyers are exposed to more brands online. Finally, the average time spent deciding which new vehicle to purchase has shortened due to the ease of access to information online..
Ignore the digital revolution at your peril
All of these observations make one thing clear: vehicle manufacturers can’t bury their heads in the sand and ignore the digital revolution. They need to seriously reconsider their marketing strategies. They need to get to grips with the scale of the impact on stakeholder relations by listening to consumers online and identifying within the new digital landscape the best touch-points and stages to influence consumers in their buying decision. We don’t have all the answers – yet. But it’s official: digital is turning the traditional vehicle path to purchase on its head.