Share your automotive expertise

2 Write a Blog Post

New Study Reveals Reviews are The Tipping Point in the Buying Process

By Mary-Kelly Gaebel on Mar 21, 2012

New Study Reveals Reviews are The Tipping Point in the Buying Process
Proliferation of Mobile and Down Economy Cause Reviews to Gain Traction


We all know reviews are critical to the modern consumersbuying process, but according to a study by Cone Communications ( reviews are more important than ever. The study showed that four-out-of-five consumers changed their mind about a recommended purchase based solely on negative reviews. Your customers are savvier than ever; with advancements in technology and online communities controlling the conversation about your business, you can’t afford to ignore the fact that “…personal recommendations alone are no longer enough to guarantee a purchase, as three-quarters of consumers (77%) agree they are more likely to purchase products or services when they can find additional recommendations about them online.”

Two Reasons Dealership Reviews Are Gaining Momentum

  • The mobile phenomenon is only adding fuel to the fire. With so many consumers relying on tablets and mobile phones as their shopping device of choice, reviews are more easily accessible than ever. According to the study, “Survey data suggest this year-over-year increase in online verification may be attributed to near-universal access to the Internet and the pervasiveness of the smartphone. Today, online product or service information is literally at consumers’ fingertips with nearly three-out-of-five (59%) reporting that they are more likely to research recommended products online because they can easily access applications on their mobile phones, and 81 percent crediting wide-spread access to the Internet.”

  • The second reason is that, due to a depressed economy, consumers are relying more heavily on reviews for large-scale purchases, like cars!  “The increase in online purchase verification may also be attributed to careful spending. Americans are nearly 25 percent more likely to verify recommendations for high-cost purchases, such as cars, today than they were in 2010 (89% today vs. 72%), while moderate- and low-cost purchases did not experience the same jump.”

There’s always a silver lining however; just as a bad review can be a deal-breaker, it can also be the zero moment of truth:  The same study shows that 87 percent of consumers agree that a favorable review has confirmed their decision to purchase.

As a Reputation Management Specialist for ADP/Cobalt I work with my clients to turn negative reviews in to positives for their business, staff and their bottom line. How you handle negative feedback says a lot about your business and your people. So with that in mind, remember that when it comes to responding to unhappy customers via online channels… the customer is always right. With-four-out-of-five consumers basing their purchasing decision on negative reviews, you can’t afford not to take the high road. In some cases, depending on how you handle the situation, you can ask a customer to retract their negative review if the dealership was able to resolve the issue in question. But being proactive will always win the day– it’s all about great customer service, more great customer service and then asking your happy customers to tell the world how you did.


Mary Kelly Gaebel is a Reputation Management Specialist at ADP Digital Marketing Cobalt. She works with dealers to increase dealership awareness and branding via social media outlets. She has a B.A. in Communications from the University of Washington.



Great post Mary. Thanks for sharing.

Mar 21, 2012

Yes! - Great stats Mary!

Shoppers are tired of hearing the same tired pitches from brands & their sales teams - bake the value in and your customers will sell for you in the form of positive reviews.

Mar 21, 2012

Of course I have to agree with it being a great post. One thing that found in their study was that new car buyers are looking at service related reviews, not the buying process reviews. They want to see how they will be treated after the sale which I thought was very interesting.

Mar 21, 2012

Comments 1 - 3 of 0

You must be logged in to comment

Login Create an account

Add your comments:


Mary-Kelly Gaebel's Recent Posts

Related Posts

  • In this Age of Extreme Political Correctness, Should Businesses Care?

    If you’re on any social media platform, there’s no doubt that you’ve seen or heard of a multitude of topics where someone somewhere was offended. Not counting obvious religious, political or other volatile topics - there are many that seem, well, baffling. Take for example, the University of Ottawa’s decision to cancel its yoga class over concerns that cultural issues could offend students. Another recent example involved Starbucks decision to remove Holiday words and symbols from its traditional red cup which quickly went viral with detractors claiming that Starbucks hated Christmas. Target got into a mess recently with a Christmas sweater they sell that has the words “Obsessive Christmas Disorder” on it. People called them insensitive to those with mental health conditions. There are far too many examples of this recent phenomenon of unintentionally causing offense infiltrating and dominating social media conversations.   It’s a given that you can’t make everyone...Read post

  • Recall Masters Launches New Website: A One-Stop Source of Automotive Recall News, Data, Training and Communications

    Recall Masters, Inc., a leading provider of automotive recall news, data, training and communications, today announced the launch of a brand new website for the automotive industry. The company recently expanded its solution to multiple automotive businesses, including automakers, factory authorized dealers, pre-owned car dealers, fleet operators, rental car agencies, auto auctions, marketing agencies and other potential vendor partners. The website has been redesigned and expanded for more efficient navigation and to better explain all of the company’s solutions and product offerings. The site has also been built to fill a void as far as information and resources concerning automotive recalls. It is designed as a one-stop source of automotive recall news, information, marketing, training and other resources. Automotive businesses can visit the site to leverage the industry’s most comprehensive source or recall owner information for most every major auto make, get updated on all the latest news, and even request a free open recall report, tailored for their market area. Other educational resources include a recall communication sample, recall estimate by distance, recall summary report, Recall Masters Academy best practices curriculum, and company’s may request a free trial of the software services including API access and Inventory VIN Check. Read post

  • Want to Know Why Consumers Don’t Trust Us?

    The reason that consumers don’t trust us is simple… the messages we send them aren’t believable.   Point in case: Doug Demiro, a former manager of Porsche Cars North America, and now author of a popular column on automotive website Jalopnik, answered a reader’s question in his column that illustrates this point very clearly.   The question essentially boiled down to this: “Do those letters and e-mails from dealers saying they really want your trade-in actually mean anything? Do dealers really want your trade-in? Are they going to pay top dollar for your vehicle because they have some customer who desperately wants it?”   His answer: NO   Go ahead and read the article. It’s pretty much how consumers perceive these offers. The comments are also rather entertaining. It’s all consumers sharing experiences in which they received a similar offer and actually wanted to take the dealership up on it -- until they found out the dealer couldn’t deliver, or that the...Read post

  • Personalize Onsite Content for Users

    While marketing messages may fluctuate, most websites stay fairly static in terms of their offerings.  Different things may go on sale and different promotions may be featured on a site's home page or specials page, but rarely are those messages tuned for specific visitors.  However, it can pay to create custom onsite content intended specifically for each potential customer. Personalising onsite content amounts to having a site's images and copy change dynamically based on a user's cookies and browser history.  If a user has been searching for "cheap" items, showing a special discount to them might be more helpful, while someone that's been to a site already might want to be shown the last thing they were looking at.  Right now, this can be achieved with software.  In marketing, personalized content can be indirectly achieved via SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and directly via SEM (Search Engine Marketing/Pay Per Click). If a site isn't set up effectively to allow installing ...Read post

  • Don't Discredit Millennial Car Shoppers

    At 76 million strong, millennial consumers cannot be ignored even if their buying power is softer compared to their parents, especially when it comes to auto purchases.  The 18-to-34-year-old segment born between 1980 and 1999 make up a large portion of digital automotive media consumption and account for 25 percent of car purchases in 2015 - translating to $135 billion dollars in sales this year. Social Influence and OEMs While the economy may be sluggish for big-ticket purchases, male Millennials are the most vibrant lead source for car dealers; having visited automotive sites and OEM social channels more than any other demographic.  BMW has one of the most active social engagements according to the latest social media statistics. With 19.6 million Facebook fans, the high-end automaker not only pushes out relevant content to its followers – BMW has high interaction and viewership due to a regular circulation of content and use of sponsored ...Read post

  • Customer Retention Starts With Employee Retention

    Periodically I get the opportunity to roll up my sleeves and dig into a dealer’s pain point. More often than not these pain points lately are, “how do I get all the customers in to my shop and completed in a timely manner” or “do you know any techs” and “what is the best way keep my customers coming back.”  Here is the extremely tough answer to Mr. Dealer’s questions. The short answer goes something like this “I have an answer but I don’t think you will like the timeline it will take to accomplish this once and for all.” After a frustrated perplexed look from the dealer I usually say, “The complete fix sits within your people, your training program and your ability to grow and mentor your staff.” Obviously this is not an overnight fix. Most of the time I feel they are looking for the silver bullet to Customer retention starts with having a solid process and business model, yes this is a given. The execution of customer retention sits fully on the shoulders o...Read post

  • Netsertive Selected by Kia to Help Dealers Connect with Local Customers

    Netsertive, a digital marketing intelligence company that brings brands and local businesses together to win local customers, today announced continued growth within the automotive vertical. Contributing to this growth, Netsertive was selected as one of six Kia Certified Website and Digital Advertising providers, a program that kicked off in September 2015 at the Kia National Dealer Meeting in Las Vegas, NV.Read post

  • Mazda Chooses Netsertive to Help Dealers Connect with Local Customers

    Netsertive, a digital marketing intelligence company that brings brands and local businesses together to win local customers, today announced continued growth within the automotive vertical. Contributing to this growth, Netsertive was selected by Mazda as the fourth approved partner for the Mazda Digital Advertising Program, originally launched in 2014.Read post