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Just 1-in-4 car buyers visit dealers’ website during research

A car sale is completed with a handshake

Only a quarter of car buyers visit a car retailer’s website when researching their next new car purchase, according to a study carried out by CitNOW.

The automotive video specialist found that a car manufacturer’s website would be the first port of call for 30% of car buyers, followed by the retailer’s website (26%), when polling 1,000 UK consumers to compile a study called ‘The Evolution of the Car Buyer'.

CitNOW encouraged car retailers to ensure their websites are accessible, informative and engaging to attract potential customers onto the forecourt, stating that more than half (57%) of respondents said that the researched their car online before visiting the showroom.

Ollie Parsons, head of sales and client services at CitNOW, said: “For thousands of car buyers, a retailer’s website is the first touchpoint during the buying process, and that initial impression can help build a lead, or turn them towards a competitor.

“Delivering high quality imagery and video can help transform a retailer’s online customer journey, creating engaging listings that can attract potential customers to your website, and help convert online traffic into footfall.”

With 39% of car buyers now using smartphones to research their next vehicle, developing an optimised mobile site could be the difference between a good lead and a missed opportunity, helping to deliver a smooth and seamless online customer journey, CitNOW said.

It added: “By enhancing their website with high quality digital assets and then engaging the potential customer using personalised video, retailers can build an enticing online presence and bridge the gap between the online and offline car buying experience.”

Among the other findings revealed by CitNOW's reports, was that more than one-in-ten survey respondents were ready to purchase a car on the day they visit and a third (32%) would be comfortable purchasing a vehicle entirely online.

Last month AM reported on Mercedes-Benz's plans to complete 25% of its new car sales transactions online by 2025 as it develops a “single log-in” digital strategy.

In this month's AM magazine, meanwhile, coverage of the AM100 rountable discussion involving car retailers and manufacturer representatives showed that both sides are battling with the best way to make the transition to online retail.

Pauline Turner, managing director of Chorley Group, recently begun the online retail of used cars with the help of GForces, but said: “It’s never going to be the case that one size fits all”.

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