Dealership Marketing

How Loyal Are Your Leads?

When a customer lead switches to another vehicle make, which one is it?

By the time your dealership receives a lead (online form fill) on a used vehicle, that customer has probably already been to multiple sites in his/her digital car-shopping journey.

Where that customer started his/her search and where that customer ends up tells an important story that can help your dealership with cross-selling opportunities, as well as with more precise off-brand used vehicle inventory decisions.

We (CarStory Data Team) get to see millions of unique used vehicle listings across more than 350 used vehicle marketplaces, as well as lead submission data through. With this data we are able to ask and answer questions such as:

Are online used car shoppers lead loyal? In other words, when users search for information on one brand, do they end up submitting leads on that same brand? And when they are lead disloyal and switch brands, which brand are they most likely to submit a lead for?

For our latest white paper – Lead Loyalty and Intent to Buy Online, we looked at brand-by-brand lead loyalty/lead disloyalty analysis for 15 popular vehicle makes. Here is some of what we discovered:

Online Used Vehicle Shoppers Are Usually Lead Loyal

Most of the time, used vehicle shoppers search for, and then submit leads for, the same make. For example, they search for a GMC, and then submit a lead on a GMC. We call that “lead loyalty.

Between 73% and 84% of used vehicle shoppers remain lead loyal—they submit leads on the brands they searched for. Several makes benefit from an 80% or higher lead loyalty rate, including: Ford, Mercedes, BMW, Dodge, Chevrolet, Chrysler and Volkswagen.

Reciprocity Between Honda and Toyota

Interestingly, among the different makes, there was some reciprocity between what users search for and then submit leads for. For example, when used vehicle shoppers search for Toyota or Honda and switch, it is reciprocal, i.e. Toyota shoppers are more likely to switch to a Honda and vice versa.

This information can be very helpful to your salespeople in understanding what to offer as alternative used vehicles and would indicate that Honda dealers should stock Toyotas in their used vehicle lots, and vice versa.

The white paper details this brand switching information for 15 popular brands.

HondavsToyota switch

Domestics Stick to Domestics and Ford Shoppers Most Lead Loyal

Ford, who has the most lead loyal online users of any brand, is most likely to lose online users to Chevrolet and vice versa. Not surprisingly, online used vehicle shoppers searching for domestic brands have a higher tendency to switch to another domestic brand when submitting a lead, than to an import brand.

Luxury Used Vehicle Shoppers Less Likely to Submit a Lead

We also looked at lead form submission rates by brand, finding that Honda’s lead submission rate is 67% higher than Lexus, and that, overall, luxury brands had the lowest lead form submission rates.

lead loyalty white paperAnd, when it comes to price shopping, the study revealed that used car shoppers tend to stay within budget, with the majority sticking to the same price parameters from online search to lead submission.

As you look to optimize your online channels, keep in mind the role of lead loyalty and how different types of online users shop. Focus on cross-selling opportunities and ensure that your inventory reflects those preferences. Here are a few more highlights from our analysis that might help:

  • Mercedes falls second only to Ford in lead loyalty. But, when Mercedes used vehicle shoppers do submit leads on different makes, 3.8% of the time they’re on BMW (3rd highest lead loyalty).
  • GMC constitutes Chevy’s biggest lead-submission crossover opportunity. GMC online used vehicle shoppers who submit leads end up submitting leads on Chevrolets 9.3% of the time. That’s the highest of any single make crossover by nearly 2X.
  • Online used vehicle searchers shopping for luxury makes are less likely to submit leads than those shopping for non-luxury brands.

[highlight color=”#FFD699″ font=”black”]For more detailed information, download the full CarStory Lead Loyalty and Intent to Buy Online white paper right here – If you’re not already familiar with the CarStory Market Reports, you really should be. They can really help dealers AND your customers gain the confidence many times needed to condense and make the sale. – Kershner[/highlight]