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Guest opinion: a dealer's year ahead in digital

Author: Dermot Kelleher (pictured), director of marketing and business intelligence at

"As we look ahead to the new year, these are my predictions for key car buying trends in 2015.

In-car technology no longer an optional extra

The smartphone has changed the way consumers interact with the world – and not least the ways in which they buy a car! Around 73% of adults now have a smartphone – it’s the first thing many of us look at in the morning and the last thing we see at night.

Accordingly, consumers are now as interested in ensuring their future car has Bluetooth compatibility and other examples of in-car technology as they are with what’s under the hood.

In a survey held by our sister brand, in the USA, 40% of respondents said they would like to spend more time in a car during a test drive to help them to fully evaluate all the vehicle’s technology and safety features.

Surprisingly, 48% said they would walk away from a car they like if the technology is too difficult to use, highlighting the growing might of user-friendly innovation in the car buying process.

Look out too for the highly impressive Automatic car app making its way from the US – visit to download. The app, currently compatible with cars purchased in the States, plugs into a car’s diagnostic port, logging and securely transmitting information about your car’s health to your phone. Storing all accumulated data in the cloud, it can even tell you where you’ve parked your car by analysing your driving data on the web.

Video content set to go even more viral

Online video content is set to become even more popular in 2015. Indeed, YouTube is the UK’s second largest search engine, hosting 24.3 million unique visitors per month with the average consumer watching 3,600 videos each year across its many channels.

Dealers should be looking to use video content to drive onsite engagement (great for boosting Google search rankings). It’s also a tool with which to increase their out-of-area sales, as consumers are more likely to trust video content – thus perhaps deeming a visit to a dealership worth it if they have seen an unfiltered video of the car in question that’s caught their eye.

Mirror, mirror: dealer websites to mimic functionality of other retail sites

Dealers will continue upgrading website functionality to personalise each user’s visit – capturing, for example, consumers’ shortlisted cars of interest, saved searches and recommended cars that are similar to the user’s search results. Dealer websites that integrate an Amazon style level of functionality will become increasingly commonplace.

Additionally, with more than 30% of visits to automotive sites such as coming from mobile devices, it goes without saying that websites need to be not only mobile-enabled, but guarantee the user a smooth and effortless online journey in their quest to find a new car."

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