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What connected cars and connected consumers mean for dealers

Consumers ‘have all the gear and no idea’, Hugh Dickerson, Google’s head of automotive, told the AM Digital Dealer Conference 2014. He said 79% of car-buyers need guidance, which gives dealers a huge opportunity to influence their eventual car-buying decisions.

When that decision is finally made, 40% of buyers opt for a brand that had not been their original favourite. Consumers typically compile a list of four marques and 21% purchase a brand they discover while researching.

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“18-34-year-olds are already exhibiting behaviour that’s different to the norm,” said Dickerson. “They consider five brands, 55% do not buy their favourite and 23% purchase a brand they discovered in the research phase.”

Dealers should take a leaf from Google’s book, said Dickerson. When creating the driverless car, Google opted to start afresh rather than build on something that already existed. Dealers and manufacturers should apply that thinking to their websites and design them to aid decision-making instead of forcing consumers to find information from third parties.

Cookies should be used to track the car-buyer’s journey and tailor content. With 78% of people using video as part of their online search, it’s imperative, said Dickerson, that ‘hero’ content is utilised (see his AM column on ‘hero’ content at, which should be supplemented by informative ‘hygiene content’.

Consumers will research a dealership before visiting, but 63% will not make an appointment. Dickerson warned against dismissing these people as time wasters.

On mobile devices, Dickerson said 39% of consumers will continue to research on their smartphone while on the forecourt and that figure is expected to grow.

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