At CarSoup.com, major efforts are underway to improve our information technology (IT) infrastructure to better serve dealers, bring your dealership better sales results and improve our service to consumers. These are occurring on several fronts: improved website and navigation, stepped up SEO monitoring, enhanced dealer opportunities to connect with mobile shoppers, modified dealer campaign programs to provide better value for dealerships, and advanced consumer engagement. Here’s an update.
Improved overall website and navigation
CarSoup.com has improved the overall navigation, look and feel of our website to enhance consumers’ shopping experience. We’ve made the site’s navigation easier and more intuitive to use. We’ve also developed technology to help shoppers find even more exclusive offers and deals. Plus, we’re injecting more personality into the site, showing images and graphics that make the site “warm, fun and friendly” and illustrating some of the “joys of driving,” says Ben Miller, CarSoup.com’s director of user experience. Visit our site to see the navigation and design changes.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) continues to play a pivotal role on the digital landscape, and, accordingly, monitoring SEO efforts and the growth in SEO traffic becomes increasingly important.
Brian Bowman, CarSoup.com’s chief technology officer, says CarSoup.com is using an SEO monitoring tool that tracks and measures where CarSoup.com shows up in Google, and helps CarSoup.com identify the volume of search terms and optimize the return on investment of those terms.
Bowman says, in recent months, SEO efforts are pacing to increase traffic by about 15,000 visits a week to CarSoup.com.
Enhancing dealer opportunities for mobile
On the mobile front, all of CarSoup.com’s popular products, services and tools for dealerships will be repeated in mobile format, says Miller.
This goes along with a major move to mobile screens by car shoppers, including those who not only do their research online, but also show up at dealerships with their vehicle choices pulled up on their smart phones. “We’ve seen a ton of traffic moving to mobile,” says Miller. “And our apps will keep these audiences incredibly engaged.”
Adding sizzle to dealer ‘events’ or campaigns
CarSoup.com has always been dedicated to helping the auto dealerships it serves. Along these lines, a number of products that are intended specifically for dealers also are improving and expanding, Bowman says.
For example, beyond regular advertising and vehicle listings, advertising on CarSoup.com also often takes the form of specific “events” or campaign marketing for dealers. Opportunities for these events or campaign advertising for dealers will now expand to 52 weeks per year. Events also will have greater prominence and visibility in larger space at the top of CarSoup.com’s homepage, and additional, reinforcing advertising further down the page. The enhancements also include allowing for custom content, video integration and greater flexibility in setting up inventory for dealers to advertise.
Bowman says these improvements are expected to launch in March.
Continuing to offer consumer engagement
CarSoup.com also continues to proactively engage serious car shoppers, Miller says, with a variety of products such as My Garage and Car Detective, communication tools that can alert consumers when a certain make and model has appeared for sale on the website, when something has sold or when a price drops.
The exterior look and design of a vehicle is the top reason shoppers avoid a particular car or truck, according to J.D. Power’s annual U.S. Avoider Study, which was released last month. The study, now in its 12th year, examines the reasons consumers purchase, reject or do not consider—or avoid—particular models when shopping for a new vehicle. To push inventory you need to move, use CarSoup.com ad banners, CarSoup.com specials (such as Must Go! Specials and Better Than Book) and the VDP retargeting program. These items all will help move those units for you!
Fuel economy is the second-most common reason why a model is rejected by shoppers at dealerships in favor of another model, even though gas prices have reached record low levels, the study reports.
“Consumers know that, although gas prices are low today, the cost of fuel will likely increase during the time they own the vehicle,” said Arianne Walker, senior director, automotive media and marketing at J.D. Power. “Clearly, consumers are considering the total cost of ownership when selecting their new vehicle.”
Still another major factor that influences purchase decisions is vehicle technology. New-vehicle buyers indicated in the study that they avoided a model because it lacked the latest technological features at a rate of 15 percent in 2015, up from 4 percent in 2014.
J.D. Power’s 2015 Avoider study is based on responses from nearly 30,000 owners who registered a new vehicle in 2014. The study was fielded between July and September 2014.
For more information from the study, click here.
Nearly 85 percent of all consumer purchases are made by women, according to several sources. Plus, 65 percent of all new car purchases are influenced by women. Additionally, when looking at the female demographic, consider this: Millennial, Gen X and Boomer women are not that different. This may seem counter-intuitive, but MediaPost.com recently reported that, across multiple studies, many similarities rather than differences exist among women of Millennial, Gen X and Boomer generations.
“Our findings might surprise you,” says MediaPost. “Despite some key distinctions in areas such as communication preferences and smartphone usage, women of all ages share similarities when it comes to their shopping habits and use of social media.” These similarities are important to keep in mind when you’re planning your advertising and marketing efforts that are focused on female customers and prospects.
Here are some of MediaPost’s findings:
1. Across generations, women are heavy users of social media
Facebook is the great common denominator in social media, with 91% of all women visiting at least once a week, and no meaningful differences between Boomers (88%), Gen X (91%) and Millennials (93%)
2. Despite age differences, women share similar purchasing habits
Across all ages, price (74%, +/- 2% for each generation) trumps convenience (26%, +/- 2% )
3. ECommerce is a shared behavior: 72% of Millennials make purchases on their phones (compared with 65% of Gen X and 38% of Boomers), but all generations are likely to make online purchases via desktop or laptop (74% Millennials, 76% Gen X and 81% Boomers),
4. Not surprisingly, Millennials are more comfortable with smartphones
70% of Millennial and 65% of Gen X women use their smartphone or tablet each week as part of their shopping process, with 20% of Millennial women saying they plan to make more purchases on their mobile phones in the next six months.
Brands have an opportunity to not only focus on the differences but also similarities when marketing to women of all generations. Doing so can help build more successful marketing and content programs, as well as to create efficiencies across media and communication efforts.