Consumers say they are turning to a variety of online and offline services to help them make their car-buying decisions because industry websites fail to satisfy their needs, a new global survey by Accenture (NYSE:ACN) reveals.
The survey of 13,000 drivers in 11 countries found that consumers believe the car-buying process would be simpler and quicker if the content on auto industry websites was customized to be more relevant to their specific car-buying preferences and if the industry adopted such online innovations as web chat and mobile-enabled websites, which are used widely in other retailing sectors.
Of the survey respondents who say they research their car purchases online before buying a vehicle, 78 percent visit at least six websites or more first, and 15 percent say they need to browse more than 20 websites to get the information they seek. In addition, 75 percent say they still turn to more traditional offline media for the information required to make a car-buying decision.
Accenture believes the findings demonstrate a lack of integrated digital marketing among manufacturer and dealer sites in the automotive industry. More than three quarters (80 percent) of the respondents would like more intuitive, customized content made available to them, while 75 percent favor a process that will enable them to obtain more simplified information online. Nearly three quarters (73 percent) would like the comparison process simplified, and 68 percent would welcome the ability to chat online with a dealer.
“A consistent customer experience is vital to the online-offline sales process, an area in which the auto industry is notably lagging other sectors in the eyes of the consumer,” said Luca Mentuccia, global managing director of Accenture’s Automotive Industry Group. “Consumers have made it clear that they want better online support, advice and personalization when buying a car with consistent handoffs to the dealer when they are ready to visit the showroom. At a time when digital marketers are utilizing algorithms to predict what online visitors want to know, automakers should be better able to shape web content that is more user-centric.”