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Sherri Riggs

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Three Stages of the Auto Shopping Journey

In May, Luth Research published their findings about the car buying journey. They followed 400 car buyers over 30 days and they found there are three distinct parts of the automotive shopping journey in Omni-Channel Retailing (OCR).

  1. Awareness and Brand Perception

  2. Brand Consideration and Purchase Intent

  3. Transaction and Purchase Decision

OCR is a style of e-commerce that industry leaders recommend dealerships get on board with, and do so quickly. Michelle Denogene of Roadster describes omni-channel retailing as creating a smooth process for car buyers from beginning to end. In other words, it allows the customer to start buying a car online, and then go into the dealership without missing a beat.

Here are the three stages of the OCR Journey in more detail:

Awareness and Brand Perception

Stage one is all about the consumer gathering basic information on what brands and options are out there.

Stage One Stats

  • 73 percent of car buyers visit an OEM site.

  • 50 to 60 percent visit 3rd party enthusiast review and forum sites/apps.

  • 44 percent visit social media.

Brand Consideration and Purchase Intent

In stage two, consumers really start to narrow down what they want, and which brands are most intriguing to them.

Shoppers who research on their smartphones or mobile devices already have at least one, if not a few specific brands in mind. AND it’s important to note that more and more OEM website visits are when shoppers are on the go.

Stage two Stats

  • 40 to 60 percent visit 3rd party enthusiast review and forum sites/apps.

  • 55 percent mobile visitors use OEM sites

Transaction and Purchase Decision

Stage three is all about consumers finalizing their decision.

Here they search on mobile and PC and focus their research on brand, model, and which dealership to go to.

It’s important to note that brand decision is not finalized until the car is bought. Brand influence can and does creep in until right before the purchase.

Stage Three Stats

  • 40 to 50 percent search the brand and model type

  • 50 percent visit dealer sites

How the brand makes me feel is important! Thanks for sharing! 

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