DEARBORN, Mich., Feb. 9, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- At the National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) Convention and Exposition today, FordDirect announced results of its Digital Automotive Shopping Survey. The findings revealed the increasing importance for dealers to develop a strong online presence and reputation as the process of shopping for a new or used vehicle continues to evolve.
"Today the auto shopping experience begins long before the customer steps foot into the dealership, and the dealership's online reputation can determine where a consumer ultimately elects to do business," said Valerie Fuller, chief operating officer for FordDirect. "The results of this research indicate just how crucial it is for dealers to enhance their online presence and reputation to attract customers."
The study, conducted in December, 2012, gathered responses from more than 1,100 automotive consumers on the importance of reputation management and social and digital media in selecting a dealer and purchasing new and used vehicles.
A dealer's online reputation was identified throughout the survey as a key influencer in the buying process, with 63 percent of shoppers reporting they are less likely to purchase from a dealer who receives negative comments online. However, even negative comments can be an opportunity for dealers to win a consumer over. In the survey, 59 percent of auto shoppers said they feel more positive about dealers who respond to negative comments."These findings point to the importance of active monitoring and response in relation to reputation management for dealers. As social media and review sites grow in popularity, consumers increasingly are turning to them before making purchasing decisions," added Fuller. Other key findings from the study include:
- Nearly 40 percent of auto shoppers access dealer websites using a mobile device (i.e., smartphones and tablets)
- 42 percent of consumers are interested in connecting with dealerships via social media for access to incentives like coupons
- 71 percent of used-auto shoppers and 64 percent of new-auto shoppers visiting dealer websites are most interested in viewing videos showcasing a vehicle's interior and technologies