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Millions invested in dotcom forecourts could be 'misspent'

##OneSwoop--left## Millions of pounds spent on marketing and ad campaigns by car retailers determined to carve out a profitable niche in the new dotcom forecourts could be money down the drain, according to new research.

Internet car retailer OneSwoop has issued findings demonstrating that the awareness level of online car retailers, some having spent "several million" on promoting their brand, is no higher than those sites who choose not to advertise. No online car retailer polled more than 4% awareness.

The findings form part of the first installment of the OneSwoop 'comfort index' - quarterly research into online consumer confidence conducted by the British Market Research Bureau (BMRB)

The survey shows that although the British public is beginning to overcome inertia, generated through traditional allegiance to bricks and mortar buying habits, mass advertising by dotcom businesses is "failing to drive brand awareness".

But consumers are gradually becoming more internet aware and to take advantage of the internet's lower prices and convenience.

The increasing popularity of the internet is shown by the fact that, of the 2,000 people polled 31% had used the internet and two brands - and Tesco Online - neither of which advertise extensively, received unprompted awareness from more than 20% of interviewees.

Consumer attitudes to 'bricks and mortar' environments varied. 12% of respondents listed the internet among the most pleasurable places to make a purchase: this compared favourably with car showrooms (14%) and estate agents (2%), although 37% cited bookshops as being pleasurable.

Tom Buehlmann, OneSwoop marketing director, said: "The OneSwoop Comfort Index is a snapshot of consumer confidence and we aim to track how this changes over time.

"The first set of research underlines the 'early adopter' nature of e-commerce in the UK. Clearly internet retailers must do more to overcome inertia by building compelling sites that combine value pricing with ease of use. While this must be a slap in the face for many internet retailers, it vindicates the OneSwoop strategy of focusing on cost, service, convenience and security.

"We are also reassured that investing in these areas is the right way to develop online brands like OneSwoop: heavy consumer advertising, particularly by internet car retailers - only hiked the 'burn rate' and dented investor's confidence that money is being well spent."

You can see the OneSwoop Comfort Index in full at

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