Studying the behaviours and actions of car buyers enables us to optimize the AutoTrader.ca consumer experience and to provide our dealer partners with effective tools to engage with consumers online. Research is an important driver of our ability to create evermore value for both our advertisers and Canadian car buyers.
While online studies tell us much about the way Canadians buy cars, there is something very tangible about speaking to car shoppers who are in the moment, at a dealership, minutes away from finalizing their purchase.
In collaboration with Dig Insights, we sought to analyze the consumer journey, from end-to-end, to better understand how they arrive at a dealership’s lot – in other words, to better understand the relationship between online behaviour, and offline behaviour. The team at Dig conducted an on-the-lot research study, intercepting roughly 500 consumers across 30 dealerships in Canada, asking them questions about their shopping journey. The team discovered that the car buying journey is not linear. Consumers use automotive marketplaces as their top resource and consult marketplaces at various points of the journey, including before and after the dealership visit. They uncovered that most consumers show up to a dealership unannounced, without a lead submission or any form of dealership contact prior to their visit. For quite some time our industry has been fixated on how many leads are received from online sources such as marketplaces, OEM and dealer websites, when in reality, the vast majority of car buyers prefer to research a given dealership online and then arrive on a schedule which suits them, to look at a car in more detail.
Take a deeper look into the findings to see what leads to consumers choosing automotive marketplaces as their top source of information when buying a car. If you’re a Canadian car dealer and would like to learn more about the results, reach out to your TRADER Representative.