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Car brands risk losing car buyers in the ‘age of the connected digital device’

By Kyle Lindsay
Wednesday, December 10, 2014 - 15:15

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All play a part

First study to accurately show how devices are used highlights opportunities for manufacturers

Manufacturers should mirror the fluid behaviour of car buyers in this, the age of the connected digital device – that is one of the headline findings from a new study that explores the use of smartphones, tablets and PC laptops among new and used car buyers in Britain.

The research, ‘Connected Digital Ethnography’, is the first of its kind to accurately show how consumers are impacted by everything from mobile advertising to manufacturer apps.

In the study, 70% of buyers used a combination of PC laptop, tablet and smartphone throughout the car-buying journey.

“At each stage of the buying process, from research to final purchase, buyers have a preferred role for each device and the way brands engage with buyers can have a dramatic impact on the final decision,” explained Haymarket strategy and planning director, Neel Desor.

By deploying behavioural tracking software and qualitative analysis, the study highlighted the fluidity of device use and the fact that consumers will break identified behavioural traits if it is not convenient to them.

The average consumer is actively researching for only 11 days throughout the 80 days on average that it took for the new car-buying journey to be completed. At the same time, the study highlighted a shortage of connected experiences across all the devices used during the buying process.

“The biggest challenge is how manufacturers continue to tackle the multi-device journey,” said Desor. “As we all know, the opportunities to engage with buyers are limited and, in order to ‘seal the deal’, brands need their digital experiences to mirror customer behaviour much better.”

Such consistency, said Desor, will help negate the disruption from one manufacturer to another – which is happening with ever greater regularity.

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