Mr. Perry and Mr. Golub, if I may speak for the dealer body, it’s well known that we all are upset about the high costs of advertising in classified sites like AutoTrader.com and Cars.com, but, it’s not the costs of the services, it’s the lack of visibility to your shoppers! Gentlemen, this is the Internet Age, even newspapers give us coupons for shoppers to submit. Why in the world have you not built your system to give shoppers tools to REWARD both shopper and dealer? (aka lead generating tools) Please help us create ROI!
The potential for lead generating opportunities are literally everywhere on your sites! Today, I’d like to focus on just one opportunity… I’ll nickname it “The Eureka! Link.” Let’s go find it!
Is there a moment in Classified Shopping that splits the casual car shopper from the highly motivated shopper? My “Uncle Joe” marketing instincts are telling me yes, and if I’m right, it’s got win-win written all over it. First, some back ground…
Shopping on the web is now 2nd nature for many of us. Whether it is travel, real estate, automobiles or appliances, the mechanics for shopping a high-ticket purchase is almost the same for every industry.
Here are the steps:
- research for products to fill the need
- price discovery on that product
- possibly communication beforehand
- the transaction itself
IN THAT ORDER. If this makes sense to you, here is the simple path to a merchants door. Research, Price Discovery, Transaction.
I want to focus on the “price discovery” stage of shopping, and establish it as a CORNETSTONE in the shopper’s Internet journey.
Here’s an example to clarify my point:
Say you’re planning a vacation; you’ve got the “product selection” narrowed down to Aruba, but, you’re not ruling out Bermuda. You need a finalist. It’s time to compare costs between the two destinations. You compare costs with the “price discovery” tools and now you’re down to one! We’ve all done it right? Imagine how frustrated you’d be if there was No Expedia, No Orbitz or No Kayak. I say that “Price Discovery” sites are a critical part of decision making process. There’s no denying it, “price discovery” tools are at the center of internet shopping!
How does this apply to car shopping? “I want to fly to Boston on the 3rd, find the best prices, but I can’t arrive later than noon”, sounds the same as “I need a SUV that seats 7, with AWD, a good price and less than 30k miles”.
Shopping behavior is shopping behavior, regardless of industry. It’s the same mental drill down process. It’s a TASK BASED PROCESS called “Shopping.”
Ok, we’ve established that the steps of internet shopping are: Research, Price Discovery, Transaction, then lets side step out of vacation shopping and into automobile shopping. We have Research, Price Discovery, Transaction, now it’s time to put names on them:
Research = Edmunds, KBB, OEM, etc..
Price Discovery = Cars.com, AutoTrader.com, etc…
Transaction = DEALER’S WEB SITE
Ok, it all fits! Where to next?
In the travel biz, the Kayak.com shopper can execute the transaction right at Kayak. In the automobile biz, the shopper is ready for the “transaction” but, as we all know so well… the auto shopper vanishes…. WHY? Because there are a lot of questions unanswered.
We know from AutoTrader/Polk research that the typical car shopper will spend MANY hours inside the classified sites. They’ve invested time and energy into drilling thru classified pages, finding the best choice. The auto shopper who is ready to buy has to visit the dealer(s) in person. They use the “price discovery” tool to drill the list of many choices to a small list. What makes Auto Industry different from the Airline industry is the Auto shopper can’t buy online. There are too many unanswered questions. Where do they go to find more answers? THE DEALER’S WEBSITE.
The “Eureka Link” is the link to the dealer’s home page.