An well-designed website is critical to a customer’s impression of an automaker’s brand, a new study by J.D. Power Associates finds.
Four out of five consumers research a potential car purchase on the Internet before setting foot in a dealership. The 2017 Canadian Manufacturer Website Evaluation Study found the better the customer’s experience is with an OEM’s site, the more likely they are to have a positive view of that brand and to visit its dealer.
A well-designed, functional and content-rich website can improve perceptions of the brand, including its innovation and reliability, the JDPA survey found.
Reliability is one of the most important factors in choosing a vehicle. Shoppers who had an excellent web experience — rating between 901 and 1,000 on a 1,000-point scale — indicated their perception of brand’s reliability improved 50 per cent of the time, compared to just 23 per cent for those who had a poor experience — scoring the experience between 100 and 500 points).
Of those who said they had an excellent experience, 59 per cent of them perceived the brand as more innovative than before they visited the OEMs site. Only 23 per cent of those who had a poor experience felt the same.
“If the brand website is the first ‘salesperson’ engaging with the shopper, the experience needs to compel them to take action like any good salesperson would,” JDPA said in its analyst’s note. “Excellent website experiences achieve this by increasing the likelihood of online interactions with the dealer and an in-person test drive.”
By contrast, only 20 per cent of shoppers with a poor experience on an OEM’s site indicated a higher likelihood of submitting an information request to a dealership than before visiting the site, and only 27 per cent would likely test drive a vehicle. Forty-eight per cent who had an excellent experience would request information and 66 per cent would be highly likely to seek a test drive.